The Phil Puts Its World Premiere on Ice; Laura Davis Speaks to Doug Allan, a Film-Maker Behind the RLPO's New Show, Polar

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Davis

hoodies as they make their way across their frozen playground.

And in the watery depths under the ice sheets, beluga and humpback whales sing their haunting song.

But what's this? Polar bears and penguins in the same place? Impossible.

As children, we all learned they live at opposite ends of the eternally-spinning planet - the black jacketed swimmers kept safe from the bears' enormous jaws.

But this is the world of Polar - a marriage of stunning HD footage from some of the world's best natural history film makers and live classical music, including pieces by Bach, Stravinsky, Rautavaara, Harle, Purcell, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Sibelius.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the world premiere of this mesmerising show at its Hope Street concert hall on January 8.

It will take audiences on a journey through the Arctic and Antarctic regions, featuring unseen film from the lands of the midnight sun on a giant screen above the orchestra.

"The biggest challenge in many respects is not so much the animals but the weather and the snow and ice conditions," says Doug Allan, freelance wildlife and documentary filmmaker, who worked on the cinematic portrait.

"Polar bears on snowfields under overcast sky are white animals on a pure white background, impossible to film really. So you have to be patient.

"They are probably the hardest animal subject - but the fact that they're dangerous to be around does actually give them a lovely edge. Big, sexy, charismatic - and they might just eat you, that more or less sums them up for me."

With no predators to threaten them on land in the Antarctic, penguins and seals are easier to approach.

Allan, who worked on the BBC's Blue Planet series, has been filming at the South Pole since 1981 and in the Arctic since 1988. Trips tend to last between two weeks and two months. …