It was David Williamson who created the connection between The Wizard Of Oz and our city when he dubbed Sydney The Emerald City in his 1987 play of the same name.

Now a New York theatre producer, Emmy Award-winning John Goberman, is about to take the idea one step further when the classic movie is screened at the Sydney Opera House, with the Sydney Symphony playing the entire musical score.

When the film is played with a symphony orchestra, the original musical soundtrack is removed, and the symphony plays along with the singing of the stars, like Judy Garland and Ray Bolger.

There is so much music in this movie, Goberman says. Much of it is through-composed in between the big songs, much like an opera, and a good part of the effect comes from the underscoring.

Goberman says working so intricately on The Wizard Of Oz gave him not only new respect for the film but also for the impact it continues to have on generations of movie audiences.

I knew it was iconic and popular, but I was a bit taken aback at just how blossoming the audience response to it was, he says. I did not realise this film had such a power to it. While the audience doesn’t sing along, they clap and get very involved.

Working on it, you quickly realise what a wonderful piece of work it is. It is so beautifully made and incredibly well-written. It is a work of art and, as you take it all apart, you see how brilliant the pieces really are.

The Wizard of Oz with the Sydney Symphony plays 21-24 June. Bookings on 9250 7777 or at the Sydney Opera House website.

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