The poster of the 1925 movie Phantom of the Opera.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The poster of the 1925 movie Phantom of the Opera.

October 17, 2018

Cornell Cinema to Host Phantom of the Opera with Live Music

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The 1925 film version of the classic musical Phantom of the Opera will take over the big screen at Sage Chapel this Thursday night with live music performed by The Invincible Czars.

The black and white silent film stars Lon Chaney as Erik, The Phantom and was restored from 35mm film by Film Preservation Associates. It was produced by Universal in 1923 and also stars Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin, Gibson Gowland.

The musical performance, hosted in time for Halloween, is part of the Cinema at Sage Program, which began in 2012 through a collaboration between Cornell Cinema director Mary Fessenden and organist Prof. Annette Richards, music.

Richards first approached Cornell Cinema wondering if they would be interested in teaming up to present the film Faust for Halloween. The score would be composed by the Filmharmonia Duo and feature Sage Chapel’s organ. The screening on October 31, 2012, was a huge success, attracting an audience of over 400 people, who gave the musicians a standing ovation when it was done, according to Fessenden.

This will also be The Czars’ third time on campus after accompanying Cornell Cinema’s screenings of Nosferatu and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The Austin, Texas-based musical group composes original scores to silent films with influences ranging from hard rock to classical, according to its website. It is currently on a national Halloween tour which features a score to Phantom with venues located in the northeast and midwest.

The event is expected to attract a large number of graduate students, as well as undergraduate students, faculty and members of the greater Ithaca community. Last year, a large number of the audience had seen The Invincible Czars the year previously and enjoyed it so much they decided to come back, according to Cornell Cinema manager Douglas McLaren.

With a predicted turnout of 250 to 300 people according to McLaren, this year looks to be just as successful.

“Folks who have seen this before definitely want to see [the show] again,” McLaren said.