Omaha Symphony performs Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush

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January 28th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush will be screened at the Holland Saturday night, accompanied by a live orchestra.

One of the most famous scenes of Charlie Chaplin's career, the comedian savors his leather boot for dinner

Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush is the story of a gold prospector who travels through the snowy Sierra Nevada, across the Chilkoot Pass, along with hundreds of other hopefuls. It’s set during the 1896 Klondike gold rush, and is filled with faithfully recreated scenes of the horrors those early pioneers faced – starvation, solitude and cold. But, as always, Chaplin adds his own comedic warmth. Memorable scenes include Chaplin cooking and eating his leather boot over the fire, relishing it like a gourmet meal, and bringing his forks and dinner rolls to life as a pair of dancing legs.

The Gold Rush was originally released as a silent movie. But in 1942, Chaplin composed an orchestral score, which will be performed Saturday night by the Omaha Symphony. Ernest Richardson is the Symphony’s resident conductor.

The Omaha Symphony will perform the score to Charlie Chaplin's Gold Rush, screened at the Holland

“In places, it’s a little like Tom and Jerry cartoon,” he said. “The soundtrack moves fast and slow and fast and slow, and the orchestra has be really on its toes to figure out tempo changes.”

Richardson said he and the orchestra have studied the 500-plus page score for the past three weeks, spending hours learning to follow the film.

“The musicians have to be just tremendously in control of their music,” he said, “and able to and just stop on a dime and take sharp turns, and do all the things they need to do to coordinate with the images.”

The Gold Rush will be screened with the Omaha Symphony Saturday, Jan. 29 at 8 pm at the Holland Performing Arts Center in downtown Omaha.

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