Sunday, October 30, 2011
6:30-7:30pm Ordway Extra - interview with Kevin Saunders Hayes, the Artistic Director from the show, Ordway Foyer
7:30pm Ordway Center – Vox Lumiere—The Phantom of the Opera, Ordway Center, Saint Paul
Following the performance – Grab a drink at the bar and head downstairs to the McKnight Foyer to socialize. We’ll spend a bit of time in small groups discussing and formulating thoughts and opinions about the performance.
Vox Lumiere is rock concert meets silent film. Thrilling new music and breathtaking live performance meld with the beauty of classic silent film to transport audiences with a power and intensity The Los Angeles Times calls “Absolutely riveting!” more performance info from ordway.org
Ordway Extra Information:
The Ordway Extra prior to the public performance of Vox Lumiere’s The Phantom of the Opera will feature a conversation with Vox Lumiere Artistic Director Kevin Saunders Hayes and Tom Letness of The Heights Theatre, facilitated by James Rocco, Ordway’s VP of Programming/Producing Artistic Director. They will discuss the vision for this production and the elements it takes to bring such a performance to life, including the silent film, the musical score, and the many on-stage production elements. They will also talk about the importance of film and the cultural significance of cinematic classics.
Information from Ordway.org:
The name Vox Lumiere is a combination of Latin and French. “Vox” is Latin for voices and “lumiere” is French for light. Therefore, Vox Lumiere means “voices of light.”
Vox Lumiere—The Phantom of the Opera—Performance Guide from ordway.org
Vox Lumiere’s The Phantom of the Opera is a 21st century evolution of classic theater. Silent film, rock music and modern theater are all combined to take you to a new level of entertainment as you explore one of the world’s most renowned opera houses.
Vox Lumiere, meaning “voice of light” in Latin and French, is the theater/concert company behind this productio. Vox Lumiere has produced five different shows incorporating multidimensional entertainment. Other shows include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Metropolis, Peter Pan, and an original production, Silents You Can Hear.
The idea for Vox Lumiere was created by Kevin Saunders Hayes. Hayes is a successful songwriter, composer, and producer having created scores for more than 40 feature films. Hayes studied music at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Abilene Christian University. He went on to earn a master’s degree at The Hartt School of Music.
While working in New York, Hayes was looking for some inexpensive inspiration while serving as the music writer for some small theaters when he came across a bin of silent movies. He purchased a few and went home to watch them. After starting the movie Metropolis, Hayes remembers the following experience: “the first three songs were pounding in my head as I watched it, and I started writing.” This led to his first creation: a pop rendition of Metropolis, which has been performed in New York and Paris. After moving to Los Angeles, Hayes began to work on what would eventually become the multidimensional Vox Lumiere productions. Hayes uses computer technology to coordinate perfect timing between action on the screen and on stage.
The Phantom of the Opera is a classic story originally written in novel form by Gaston Leroux. The Phantom of the Opera takes place in the Palais Garnier, the Grand Paris Opera House. It surrounds the character Erik, a deformed musical genius who is forced to spend a life hidden behind a mask lurking in the opera house’s underground cellars. He eventually falls in love with Christine, a young soprano singer at the opera house. He keeps his identity hidden while reaching out to her with his voice. Christine, believing it’s her dead musician father’s spirit, follows the voice’s instructions. Through a turn of events, Christine meets her childhood acquaintance, Raoul, and the two fall in love. Enraged, The Phantom decides to kidnap her and imprison her in his lair. Raoul is now the only one who can stop him.
A key aspect of Vox Lumiere’s Phantom of the Opera is the use of silent films. A silent film is a film that contains no synchronized recorded sound. This means there is no spoken dialogue. The dialogue in silent films has to be done through muted gestures, miming and intertitles (typed dialogue). Because, the technology needed to play recorded sound was not yet practical in the 1920’s. Therefore, a movie was originally a film combined with live music—a much different experience than one would have at a theater today. It was not until the late 1920’s that the technology needed for an audio soundtrack was developed which would eventually give us today’s movies. This technology is also essential in Vox Lumiere’s 21st century adaptation of the classic story, The Phantom of the Opera.
from ordway.org and Voxlumiere.com Los Angeles Times
Phantom of the Opera all began as a as a serial story in the publication, “Le Gaulois.” It was eventually turned into a gothic novel written by the French author, Gaston Leroux in 1910. The novel did not sell well and was out-of-print for most of the 20th Century.
The story of the Phantom of the Opera takes place in the Palais Garnier, the grand Paris Opera House, and surrounds the character Erik. Erik is a deformed musical genius who is forced to spend a life hidden behind a mask, and lurking in the opera house’s underground cellars. Acting as the Opera’s ghost or phantom, he is able to make his demands for the opera known through his terrifying mischievous acts, including dropping the opera house’s gigantic chandelier. He eventually falls in love with a young soprano singer at the opera house, Christine. He keeps his identity hidden while reaching out to her with his voice. Christine, believing it’s her dead musician father’s spirit since he said he would send the “Angel of Music” to her, follows the voice’s instructions. Erik’s love and obsession for Christine quickly turns violent as he ensures her rise as a star at the opera house through treacherous acts. He ultimately kidnaps her to keep her from her fiancé, Raoul.
In 1925, Gaston Leroux’s novel was adapted for the screen. Rupert Julian directed the silent film, The Phantom of the Opera. The movie during that time was considered to be a horror film, but is pretty mild compared to today’s standards.
The famous American actor known as the “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Lon Chaney, played the title role of the Phantom in the film. His self-applied make-up that gave his character his beastly countenance was kept a studio secret until its reveal during the film’s premiere. The audience was said to have screamed or fainted during the scene when Christine pulls the phantom’s mask away.
The Library of Congress has deemed the film to be “culturally significant,” and thus it was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry.
Vox Lumiere, the company
Vox Lumiere is a Los Angeles-based theatrical production company that combines live performance, original rock music, and original silent films.
Vox Lumiere all began when Kevin Saunders Hayes came across a $1 bin that contained videos of silent films. He bought a few to take home with him. While watching the films, he started imagining them put to a contemporary and exhilarating score. It was then that Hayes decided to combine his talents as a composer, songwriter, and producer to create a spectacular production that brings life and energy to the once dormant genre of silent film.
This culminated in the creation of the company Vox Lumiere in 2000. Vox Lumiere has toured and performed in theaters and opera houses throughout North America and Europe with their unique style of live theater that has included the silent films: Metropolis, Peter Pan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Phantom of the Opera.
Watch the entire silent film, The Phantom of the Opera:http://www.archive.org/details/ThePhantomOfTheOpera1929
Vox Lumiere documentary: http://vimeo.com/4551712
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