Tag Archives: Dracula

The Month of the American Composer

Composer of Operas

Jake Heggie

When most people think of October, visions of fall and Halloween come to mind. Here at LA Opera, this October has been “The Month of the American Composer.” Three of our events involved some of the most important American composers of our age – Missy Mazzoli, Philip Glass, and Jake Heggie – working at the height of their powers. To celebrate how vital opera is to our nation culturally, we’ve curated a few articles below where you can learn more about each composer and listen to some of their masterful music.

Jake Heggie, The Man Behind Moby-Dick

Composer Jake Heggie Brings Moby-Dick to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – via Los Angeles Magazine

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, the classic tale of one man’s pursuit of an elusive white whale, has over the years been turned into films and television miniseries. Now, it has been turned into an opera. Jake Heggie, whose Dead Man Walking was performed earlier this year at the Broad Stage, is the composer of the show, which opens Saturday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Jake Heggie On Why Opera Is Here To Stay – via Los Angeles Times

Don’t tell Jake Heggie that opera is a dying art form. The composer of the opera Dead Man Walking “thinks it’s alive and kicking — he even uses an unprintable term to describe a recent batch of articles declaring that “Opera is dead.” And while his passionate words in defense of the operatic form are convincing, the trajectory of his own career is perhaps his best argument.

Music Monday: Moby-Dick Overture – via LA Opera Blog

This weekend, Moby-Dick opens at LA Opera. Melville’s tale of obsession, the nature of good and evil, and the search for the elusive, titular, white whale is set to an evocative score by famed American composer, Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking). When Heggie describes tackling the mammoth tale, he speaks of finally finding the music of Moby’s universe in four simple chords. These chords capture the spirit and yearning inherent in Melville’s story and resurface throughout the rest of the score, in a haunting fashion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd-Z4-3Ip_Q

 For tickets to Moby-Dick, click here.  … Continue reading

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Silver Screen Dracula

<em>Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in</em> Dracula (1931); Photo: Todd Browning

Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in Dracula (1931); Photo: Todd Browning

“There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part.”

– Bram Stoker’s Dracula

There are mysteriously thrilling stories from literature that have inspired excellent additions to the horror film genre. Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula is one such story. It’s the grandfather of the eternally pop-culture-relevant vampire fandom – American Horror Story: Hotel, Underworld, Only Lovers Left Alive, Interview with the Vampire (my personal favorite) and The Lost Boys, to name a few. While Stoker’s Dracula has been adapted into a television miniseries and has inspired several television characters and episodes (including the short lived series, Dracula), the story really shines on the silver screen.

Probably the greatest of them all is Universal’s 1931 silent film, Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. The film’s original release coincided with the shift from silent pictures to “talkies.” With limited sound technology in existence, the film had no musical soundtrack and few sound effects. For its 1998 restoration of the film, Universal commissioned legendary composer Philip Glass to write a hypnotic new instrumental score, blowing the cobwebs off the horror classic and adding depth to the emotional layers of the drama.

Philip Glass and Kronos Quartet performing Glass's score for <em>Dracula</em> (1931)

Philip Glass and Kronos Quartet performing Glass’s score for Dracula (1931)

Tomorrow night, LA Opera presents Dracula with a live performance of Glass’s score, providing an eerie counterpart to the suspense of the creepy classic projected on the big screen. Philip Glass will share the stage along with the celebrated Kronos Quartet for the performances (running through October 31) at the gorgeously restored Theatre at Ace Hotel.

In honor of LA Opera’s presentation of Dracula, here is a list of film adaptations we found that you should check out to get in the vampire spirit:

Nosferatu (1922) – The Count may have a different name in German director F.W. Murnau’s silent film adaption (he’s called Count Orlok), but he gets up to many of the same antics as Stoker’s Dracula. Nosferatu is a hauntingly cinematic piece known as one of the great influences on the later film noir genre.

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922)

… Continue reading

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