Tag Archives: Halloween
Vampire films have been around forever. One of the earliest was Nosferatu (1922). A visually striking and influential film (a product of director F.W. Murnau’s collaboration with outré graphic designer/illustrator Albin Grau), we’ve never really forgotten this influential piece. The titular character is a rodent-like vampire designed with severe lines and angles. His dome-like bald head contrasts with the almost architectural extensions of his ears and fingers. Actor Max Schreck needed minimal movement to characterize this monstrous take on novelist Bram Stoker’s suave and debonair Dracula. The hauntingly effective character design would go on to influence generations of filmmakers and will likely never stop doing so.
Before seeing our presentation of the classic 1922 Nosferatu at the Ace Hotel, check out five of the more memorable tributes to the Nosferatu character design selected by one of our resident horror experts, Keith Rainville.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
There’s an astounding quality to Werner Herzog’s low-budget/high-art remake of Murnau’s film that’s difficult to pinpoint, but it genuinely gets under one’s skin. He chose the path of the faithful update rather than to redefine a film he considered the most important German film ever made, and certainly wasn’t going to alter the character himself. The casting of Herzog regular Klaus Kinski was written in the stars. Kinski’s performance, aided by both color film and particularly sound, sculpts a mewling, hissing and even more repugnant version of Nosferatu. (And for opera fans, he did it amidst a score augmented by Wagner’s prelude to Das Rheingold.)
Witches. Cauldrons. Prophesies. Runes. Our production of Macbeth is the stuff nightmares are made of – in the very best and haunting way. When it comes to props, director Darko Tresjnak wanted objects capable of truly terrifying and also intriguing an audience.
Here’s our list of 5 Macbeth props that will keep you up at night.
Bloody Head in a Burlap Sack
The nightmare-inducing props start at the very beginning of Macbeth, when messengers from King Duncan present Macbeth and Banquo with the head of the executed Thane of Cawdor in a bloody burlap sack. (Macbeth gets the dead man’s title, following the prophecy of the witches.)
(spoiler alert!), Macbeth and Lady Macbeth murder King Duncan in the first act so that Macbeth can seize the throne. During the second scene, Duncan’s body is brought out on a golden bier, very slowly, to emphasize the gore. While a white sheet is placed over the corpse, it is clear that Duncan’s throat has been slashed, and the Special FX blood ensures that his body appears freshly killed.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth present these skulls to the audience at the end of the opera – creepily representing their doomed fate. Flashes of light illuminate these two props and they are the last thing seen as the curtain falls – a haunting image not easily forgotten.
“There on the fountain’s edge, the shadow appeared to me. I could see her lips moving as if speaking and with her lifeless hand she seemed to call me. For a moment she stood there motionless, then she vanished all at once, and the water, earlier so limpid, had grown red, as if with blood.” – Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
With these words, Lucia shows the world her thin grip of reality, showcasing her slip into madness later on in Donizetti’s tragic Lucia di Lammermoor. Opera is filled with such haunting moments and characters, some that are so powerful, they are difficult to forget like the above Lucia scene, or others that are truly terrifying, such as the characters in Howard Shore’s The Fly (2008).
To celebrate Halloween during our 30th Anniversary Season, we have selected 30 haunting LA Opera images. Below are images from three productions that horror junkies should know about. Other images in this series have been uploaded to our #LAO30Images: Halloween Edition Pinterest Gallery.
“The time had come for me to attach myself to a new form.” – Composer Howard Shore on his score for The Fly
LA Opera presented the U.S. premiere of The Fly in 2008. Based on David Cronenberg’s 1986 cult horror classic, The Fly follows the story of an eccentric scientist, who while working on a teleportation device, accidentally fuses his DNA with that of a fly’s. As a result, he slowly turns into a fly, terrifying those he loves.
This is the time of year when things get spooky – horrific even! It’s also that time when people scour various pop up Halloween stores in search of the perfect costume. Here at LA Opera, we don’t have your typical witches (Hocus Pocus, anyone?), vampires (Dracula), and ghosts (do you see dead people Sixth Sense style?). While these are all good options, consider taking your costume to an operatic level with these 9 opera Halloween costumes.
The Countess in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades is a force to be reckoned with, dead or alive. With her obsession about keeping the secret of what makes her constantly win at cards, the Countess is more fun and regal than other aristocrats (looking at you, Cleopatra!).
Dressing up as Don Giovanni, the title character in Mozart’s Don Giovanni is guaranteed to charm.
When you think opera, you don’t usually think swashbuckling, brawls or adventure. But then there’s Moby-Dick and it’s filled with all that and more.
If you’re keeping track, you know that Moby-Dick opens on October 31. Of course, we couldn’t ask you to come to the opera on Halloween without inviting you to come in costume.
So this is your formal invitation to join us on opening night – all Hallows’ Eve.
If you dress like a sailor or pirate or a whale we’ll upgrade you to a better seat if they’re available.
The better the costume, the better the seat.
What can you expect in the opera version of Moby-Dick? Jake Heggie, the acclaimed composer, has distilled the huge story so that the audiences of all ages get to know the famous Captain Ahab, his crew and his obsession with the mythical whale. With deck-top action, ocean intrigue, uncanny staging and the presence of the beastly Moby-Dick, this show leaves you wide-eyed and rethinking your definition of opera.
So dig in your closet, hit the Halloween store and pull together your opening night Moby-Dick outfit.