We are delighted to announce that our Halloween 2019 sold-out production of Der Vampyr has been nominated for an Off West End Award in the Best Opera Production category!
Scotland, 18th Century.
During a witches' sabbath, the Vampire Master warns Lord Ruthven that if he cannot sacrifice three virgin brides within the next 24 hours, he will die. If he succeeds, he will be granted an additional year of life. Who, out of the pure and innocent Janthe, Emmy or Malwina, will survive the curse of the vampire? And what if their salvation takes an unexpected form...?
Der Vampyr, composed in 1828 by Heinrich Marschner, was based on the play Der Vampir oder die Totenbraut by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter, which itself was inspired by the short story The Vampyre, written in 1819 by John William Polidori. This tale was initially sketched by Lord Byron during the bleak summer of 1816, during which both writers, alongside Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft, stayed on the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
This epic vampire story, which is notable for including the first ever mention of a vampire in European literature, rides on the crest of the tremendous wave of Gothic and horrific tales that was at its peak in Great Britain, France and Germany at the beginning of the 19th century.
Legend says that Der Vampyr was born when, going through a period of depression, Marschner, during a gloomy walk in a churchyard, imagined composing a “witches' chorus”.
A pupil of Beethoven, Marschner is considered to be the missing link between Weber and Wagner, especially in his use of musical effects to convey supernatural elements. In the Witches' Sabbath of Der Vampyr, there are similarities with the Wolf Glen’s scene in Weber's Der Freischütz. Furthermore, Emmy's Legend of the Vampire prefigures Senta's aria in which she tells the story of the Flying Dutchman in Wagner's opera of the same name, even using the same words, “der bleiche Mann” (the pale man).
Der Vampyr is a supremely spine-chilling piece, making for an ideal opening for Gothic Opera’s first season. A vampiric tale, with spooky special effects and ghostly music, performed in London venues specifically selected for their mysterious atmosphere, this rarely-performed opera will haunt your Halloween nights.
Alice Usher / Milena Knauss (26th Oct)
Sir Edgar Aubrey
Sam Smith / Jack Roberts
(26th, 31st Oct, 1st Nov) / (27th Oct, 3rd Nov)
The Vampire Master
Charlotte Osborn / Susanna McRae (26th Oct)
Sir Humphrey Davenaut
Jon Stainsby / Richard Moore (26th Oct)
Sir John Berkeley
Béatrice de Larragoïti / Laura Curry (26th Oct)
Rosemary Clifford / Gráinne Gillis (27th Oct)