Monday, October 09, 2006

The Royal Opera House


Audience, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

Last night I was fortunate enough to be taken to The Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden to see a screening of Lon Chaney Sr's performance as Erik, "The Phantom of the Opera" in the eponymous film of 1925. I'd seen parts of the film during my film studies days as there were many elements that made it notable, the two-strip colour process, the costumes, the make-up and so on. It's a visually magical film; the complete artifice of the sets with no location shooting at all has an other-worldly quality which draws the viewer in and the theatricality of the silent star's performances becomes part of this heightened reality.

The reason the film was shown at the ROH, as well as it being the perfect location for the film of course, was that Carl Davis has written a new score for it which was performed by the ROH orchestra and conducted by Davis himself during the screening. The sound in the auditorium is fantastic (a refreshing change from the Royal Albert Hall, which stinks acoustically) and apparently though our seats were very cheap, they among the best for sound quality.

I'd never been to the ROH before and I've always wanted to. It's one of London's architectural treasures. It's also the opera house in "The Fifth Element", which is a film I love depite knowing that I shouldn't. That added a certain extra something to the experience for me. All in all a very magical night.

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