Our Gothic inspiration:
© Isaure De Benque
GOTHIC OPERA, founded in 2019, draws its inspiration from the fantastical, uncanny and eerie atmosphere of Gothic fiction.
During the 19th century, all over Europe, singular, mysterious and spine-chilling operatic works were composed, influenced by the flourishing of Gothic literature that was initiated in 1764 by Horace Walpole with The Castle of Otranto.
Walpole's story introduced Gothic traits such as threatening mysteries and ancestral curses, enigmatic medieval hidden passages and delicate fainting heroines.
These themes were further developed by writers like William Beckford (Vathek, 1782), Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794), and Matthew Gregory Lewis’ lurid tale of monastic debauchery showcasing depraved monks and spectral nuns, The Monk (1796).
Gothic fiction reached its peak during the summer of 1816, when Polidori wrote The Vampyre, the first text popularising the theme of the vampire in literature. In the same year, Mary Shelley wrote what would become the first ever science-fiction novel, Frankenstein. Also of great significance to the genre were the works of Edgar Allan Poe and of course the late Victorian vampire novel, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
All the themes that made for the success of the Gothic genre (romantic medieval scenery, abandoned castles, chapels in ruin, melancholic moonlit cemeteries, ancestral curses, ghosts, depraved nuns, bloodthirsty vampires, pure and delicate young heroines, pacts signed with the devil…) were explored to varying degrees in operas throughout the 19th Century.
We bring these dark, eerie works to life, performing one of them every year during the Halloween period, in spooky and atmospheric venues across London.
Beatrice de Larragoiti