For your ears only: James Bond in full symphonic glory

Singers Prinnie Stevens and Brendan Maclean – who both prefer their martinis shaken, not stirred – will be on a mission to thrill when they join the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for a night of James Bond music and drama.

Jan 31, 2019, updated Jan 31, 2019
Dressed to kill: performers Brendan Maclean and Prinnie Stevens.

Dressed to kill: performers Brendan Maclean and Prinnie Stevens.

Part of the ASO’s Showcase series, James Bond Live on Stage promises a night of classic Bond songs, including the likes of “Goldfinger”, “Diamonds are Forever”, “Nobody Does It Better”, “Live and Let Die” and “For Your Eyes Only”.

“Having the orchestra behind these wonderful songs adds an extra layer of drama that pulls us into the world of 007,” says conductor Nicholas Buc.

“The strings hint at the seductive locales, the brass light up the sassy romances and the percussion provides action-packed propulsion; all evocative hallmarks of a great Bond song that will be brought to life by the ASO.”

English composer John Barry arranged the original James Bond Theme and scored 11 of the early Bond films, while singers including Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Garbage and Adele have performed the songs.

The Adelaide concerts on February 15 and 16 will feature a line-up of guest vocalists including Prinnie Stevens (from TV’s The Voice and the musical The Bodyguard) and Brendan Maclean (whose credits include the cabaret show Velvet and ABC iView’s F∗cking Adelaide).

Here, the duo reveal their favourite Bond movies, actors, villains and songs.

Favourite James Bond movie:

BM: Weirdly enough, my introduction to Bond was through video games. I must have racked up a hundred hours of Golden Eye on my Nintendo 64 before I’d even seen the film – so when my father did finally rent the VHS, it immediately cemented itself as the one I’ll always think of when I hear, “Bond. James Bond”.

PS: Live and Let Die – I remember how the intro was exciting and scary all at the same time. As a child, it was a sensory overload!

Favourite James Bond actor:

BM: I know it’s very unpatriotic to not pick George Lazenby, but for making Bond films cool again and bringing a truly rebellious streak to the world’s most infamous double agent it’s gotta be Daniel Craig for me. The six-pack doesn’t hurt either.

PS: Sean Connery. I love his accent and there was something about the earlier Bond movies – they were more risqué and you could see they were really pushing the boundaries of film and art at the time.

Favourite Bond villain:

BM: Jaws, who can forget those beautiful teeth?

PS: Baron Samedi from Live and Let Die is my favourite villain. I can still remember being scared as a kid watching the opening credits. He’s voice was so spooky and he played his character tremendously.

Your favourite James Bond one-liner:

BM: My favourite Bond one-liner goes to a glorious clap-back from Dame Judi Dench as “M” in Tomorrow Never Dies. When Admiral Roebuck suggests she doesn’t have “the balls” for the job at hand she remarks: Perhaps. But the advantage is I don’t have to think with them all the time.”

 PS: Sean Connery kills a spy with a spear gun [in Thunderball] and says: “I think he got the point.” It’s one of the most successful movies in achieving action and comedy at the same time.

Favourite Bond song:

BM: Dame Shirley Bassey remains the true diva of the Bond cannon so I’m splitting hairs between “Diamonds are Forever” and “Goldfinger”. Three words: Drama. Drama. Drama.

PS: “Diamonds are Forever”, for sure. Shirley Bassey, the instrumentation, the drama, the mystery! The growl in her voice! It’s everything you want from an action film and more.

The James Bond song you’d most like to sing and why?

 BM: Garbage were the band that sang to my angst as a brooding teen who had just discovered eye-liner. Shirley Manson’s moody “The World is Not Enough” will always hold a very special place in my heart. And a shout-out to Madonna’s “Die Another Day” purely for the line, “Sigmund Freud, analyse this!”

 PS: “Goldfinger.” So I can feel the enormity of the orchestra – the song’s dynamics are so moving, it would be an absolute thrill to sing with an orchestra behind me.

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will present James Bond Live on Stage at the Festival Theatre on February 15 and 16. Audience members are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite Bond hero or villain.

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