Over the weekend the symphony inaugurated its Nickelodeon series of three silent movies and an international series of travelogues.
Close to 2,100 people packed the 2,250-seat Symphony Hall for the Douglas Fairbanks 1922 production of "Robin Hood," a symphony spokesman said. Under visiting conductor Carl Daehler, the orchestra played the original musical score by Victor Schertzinger as Fairbanks, Wallace Beery, Enid Bennett and Sam De Grasse mugged their way through this adventure.
The audience members, who were allowed to bring popcorn and beverages into the former film palace, clearly had a ball, cheering for Robin (Fairbanks) and his Merry Men and hissing and booing the evil plottings of Prince John (De Grasse) and his henchmen.
Allowing food and drinks into the renovated theater was an experiment, symphony spokesman Les Smith said, "We were pleased. I think the patrons really respected the building."
Sunday's inauguration of the international series was less successful in terms of attendance. Smith estimated that between 600 and 800 did not tune into the NFL playoffs and instead braved the wind and rains to hear the orchestra play a matinee concert of Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italiano," Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" and the overture to Verdi's "La Forza del Destino" and the preludes to his "La Traviata" and "Aida."
After the concert, the audience saw the film, "Florence and Italy's Hill Towns," and heard a commentary by its producer, Robin Williams. About 80 music lovers bought the luncheon buffet served before the concert.