Gorgeous ‘Our Planet’ is coming to SLC as a live concert event

Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer says the experience is ‘kind of amazing.’

(Hanout Photography) "Our Planet Live in Concert" will be at the Eccles Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

When Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer Steven Price was in London’s famous Abbey Road recording studio listening as an orchestra performed his score for the Netflix nature documentary series “Our Planet,” a thought suddenly struck him.

Watching the orchestra as the film was projected behind them, “I just remember saying to one of the executives who was sitting there, ‘God, it would be good to do this live one day, wouldn’t it?’” he said. “Neither of us thought anything of it.”

Five years later, that idea has not only come to fruition but it’s coming to Salt Lake City. “Our Planet Live in Concert” will be performed Tuesday at the Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, Salt Lake City.

It’s a two-hour production that features film from the Emmy-winning documentary series on a big screen; a live, 18-piece orchestra; and narration from David Attenborough and William Shatner. And, according to Price, it’s more than just a collection of clips from the eight-part documentary that focused on how climate change is affecting all living creatures.

(Benjamin Ealovega) Composer Steven Price has won both an Academy Award and an Emmy.

“I didn’t want it to be just, you know, ‘Here’s a few highlights from the program. Good night,’” he said. “I wanted it to feel like it was its own thing. So we basically sort of ripped the thing apart and put it back together again, in a form that hopefully stands alone as a two-hour journey.”

The production includes both “favorite things from the show” and “lots of other things that we went back in and re-edited the picture and made whole new sequences with the music. So, hopefully, people feel that it’s a stand-alone journey, which really works as an evening for everyone.”

It’s a project Price — who won an Academy Award for “Gravity” in 2014 and an Emmy for “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet” in 2021 — has worked on for years. He was shown some early footage two years before he actually started working on the score, which got his “brain ticking.” For months, “little folders appeared on my phone — like, here’s some ideas for ‘Our Planet.’” And whenever he was “out and about,” he said, he “started to build this stuff.”

When the episodes were nearly complete, they were sent to him and he worked one-by-one on the score. “But where they were brilliant was the very last show I scored was the opening show, which is the one that shows all the different environments and kind that connects it all together,” Price said. By that point, “each environment had its own theme and its own kind of musical identity, and the opening show became the one where you could introduce all of that. So it was a nice process. Everything felt interconnected, but with its own personality.

(Hanout Photography) "Our Planet Live in Concert" will be at the Eccles Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

“If you’re in the Arctic, it’s very wide expanses. There’s a lot of kind of slow moving kind of music. Whereas if you’re in the jungle, everything’s small and skittish and running around. But they’re all connected together with the themes of the show. It was a fun big jigsaw puzzle to put together.”

He’s particularly pleased that the plans for the live performances came to fruition — eventually. Originally, the concerts were scheduled to begin in March 2020, right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We really timed it as badly as possible,” Price said with a laugh. “There’s been plenty of times over the last two or three years when I was very convinced that this was never going to happen. So I think that’s made it even more joyful in lots of ways, that we got there.”

You don’t need to have seen the documentary series on Netflix to appreciate “Our Planet Live.”

(Hanout Photography) "Our Planet Live in Concert" will be at the Eccles Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

“If you’ve seen the show before, you’re definitely going to get to see some of the sequences that stood out on that show. But you certainly don’t need any prior knowledge to go in there,” Price said. “The show really takes you on the same journey as the original series, but in a different kind of way.”

And it’s a chance for people who might not otherwise attend live orchestra performances to do so.

“And it’s a very different thing than hearing it through your phone or through your TV screen,” Price said. “The same with the visuals, really. We all sit at home and watch this on Netflix on, I’m sure, very nice televisions, but the experience of seeing it on a big screen and sharing the experience with people … is kind of amazing.

“There are moments in the show where we hope that you laugh, and there are moments when you might cry. But, really, it’s a celebration of what we’ve got and, hopefully, an encouragement to help preserve it.”

Our Planet Live in Concert

When • Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, Salt Lake City.

Tickets • $30-$65 online at artsaltlake.org, at the box office, or by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787) or 888-451-ARTS (2787).