In the summer of 1993 renowned composer and jazz pianist Roy Budd’s score for Rupert Julian’s classic 1920s silent film The Phantom of the Opera was to set be performed in London. Then he had a brain hemorrhage. Nearly a quarter of a century later his widow, Sylvia, fulfilled his dream and Budd’s masterpiece score to the 1925 Phantom of the Opera was performed at the London Coliseum on 08 October 2017, featuring the 77-piece orchestra. The performance received a resoundingly positive response from critics and audience alike.
Today the producers are delighted to announce that another one-off performance of Roy Budd’s masterpiece will be performed at the Barbican on 18 March 2019 – the very same venue it was originally meant to be screened at 25 years ago. It will once again be performed by the magnificent Docklands Sinfonia orchestra and led by Conductor Spencer Down. Since its formation, the orchestra has enjoyed incredible success with performances at Buckingham Palace for the Queen and with world-renowned classical artists such as Alison Balsom, Leonard Elschenbroich and Elin Manahan-Thomas.
The Phantom of the Opera represents the apex of the career of a man who not only bought the last surviving 35mm negative of the film he adored since the age of 11, but who made his debut at the Coliseum aged 6 and went on to compose the score of the seminal 1971 gangster movie Get Carter, starring Michael Caine. The music budget was a mere £450, but Budd, along with a bassist and a percussionist, recorded a spine-tingling harpsichord motif which is now iconic. Among more than 50 other films scored by Budd were Paper Tiger, The Sea Wolves, Who Dares Wins and the 1971 version of Kidnapped
Adapted from Gaston Leroux’s gothic novel, Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera tells the twisted tale of a mysterious recluse (Lon Chaney) who tutors a soprano at Paris’s Palais Garnier opera house while hiding a nocturnal penchant for chandelier-related slaughter. The film has been digitised and very subtle colour added throughout, with one critic noting last year that the restored film is a work of art.
As for the music, to call last year’s rendition a triumph is an understatement. Budd’s score was played with perfect timing and huge energy, intensifying the audience’s connection to a film which remains as unsettling and emotive as ever. This is a truly unique and original spectacle that is not to be missed.
Producer Nick Hocart says; “I am excited to work with Spencer Down andDockland Sinfonia again, and to be presenting Roy’s work in the Barbican where it was due to premiere 25 years ago is history in the making.”