If you plan on joining us at the Inwood Theater this evening for our free screening of the 1939 Warner Brothers film The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, pay close attention to the scene where two ladies in waiting entertain Queen Elizabeth I with a musical number. The woman at the harpsichord is Nanette Fabray! She also has another nice scene with Bette Davis immediately thereafter.
Thanks to all who came out to the wonderfully cozy Inwood Theater Living Room this evening for the screening of the classic horror film Dracula – and I do mean all – the comfy couches, chairs, and bean bags were full. You guys are awesome! This was the second film in our free Inwood Living Room Series – just one of several events going on this week focusing on our second opera of the season – Die Fledermaus.
Universal Pictures 1931 release of Dracula was based on Bram Stoker’s famous novel from 1897. Stoker didn’t invent vampires, but his novel certainly did much to popularize them. (Much the same way that Johann Strauss Jr. popularized the waltz and elevated it from a simple country dance to entertainment fit for the royal court.) What was new in Stoker’s novel though, was the convention that vampires can shape-shift into wolves, mist, and of course, bats. This little bat bit is but one of the many, many similarities between Dracula and Die Fledermaus.
What are the other similarities you ask?
Well – first of all, Dracula begins in Transylvania – and of course Die Fledermaus is set in Transyl…Vienna. Hmm? OK – well – someone always dies in opera – right? Well there is plenty of death and destruction in Dracula. And as we all know, everyone dies in Act III of Die Fleder…wait – it’s a comedy – nobody dies and they all live happily ever after……….OH!!! Rosalinda disguises herself as a Hungarian Countess in Act II. Surely Count Dracula has snacked on a Hungarian Countess or two…(just not in this film). All right then, if nothing else, Bela Lugosi was Hungarian. You have to give me that one.
So I guess it really is just the bat bit…
The added treat this evening was seeing the film with a new soundtrack by Philip Glass. Recording technology in 1931 was still in its infancy, (remember it was only in 1927 that they were able to include recorded speech) so in 1998, Glass was commissioned to compose a soundtrack for the film. I think it is a wonderful and evocative addition. I am also quite glad that recording technology – and acting techniques – have progressed far beyond 1931 standards.
For those wanting a little more “old school music” – did you catch the little bit of Wagner playing when Dracula went to the theater? See you soon and take care.
James Hampton – Artistic Administration Coordinator
No, we didn’t play Falco’s 1985 chart topping hit – but we thought about it. The Dallas Opera kicked off our Inwood Living Room Series with Milos Foreman’s multi-award winning film Amadeus. Many thanks to the patrons and new friends that came out to join us for the first in our free screenings.
The movie was based on Peter Shaffer’s Tony award-winning play of the same name. Amadeus won 8 Academy Awards, 4 BAFTA awards, 4 Golden Globes and countless other awards. Seeing it again after all these years was really a treat. We screened the director’s cut which includes about 20 minutes of additional footage.
The film – while wildly entertaining – is not completely historically accurate. But, why let the facts get in the way of a good drama? (It is written that Mozart had an annoying laugh – and Tom Hulce did provide that in spades!)
Both Tom Hulce as Mozart and F. Murray Abraham as Salieri were nominated for Best Actor Oscars with the award going to Abraham. Sex and the City fans got to see Cynthia Nixon in an early film role. (She played the maid , Lorl, whom Salieri anonymously provided to the Mozarts in order to obtain information about his compositions.)
If you haven’t been to the new “Living Room” at the Inwood Theater, you really should check it out. They have taken out the traditional seats in one of the theaters and provided plush, comfy sofas, chairs, ottomans, and bean bag chairs. You can recline in comfort, enjoy an adult beverage, and see some really wonderful films.
Artistic Administration Coordinator