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Hercules vs Vampires in concert

Location: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90012

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Description: Here is an oddball hybrid of cult cinema and high art: a screening of director Mario Bava’s 1961 Italian fantasy film Hercules in the Haunted World with a new operatic score sung live in place of the original soundtrack. The opera was composed by Patrick Morganelli; Christopher Allen conducts a 26-piece orchestra, with Kihun Yoon singing the voice of Hercules.

Though beloved by Bava fans, Hercules in the Haunted World is a mixed bag at best: the director excelled at creating the other-worldly vistas of the underworld, but his staging of the action scenes falls flat; characterization is almost an after-thought. The video clip on www.laopera.org (which is not embeddable) suggests the opera is taking a melodramatic approach to the material, bordering on camp.

One irony of the opera’s title is that HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (which stars Reg Park in the title role) really has nothing to do with vampires, though supernatural elements abound. Christopher Lee, who had recently scored big as the Count in HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), plays the villain King Lico. A piece of narration in the English-dubbing introduces Lico as a vampire, but we see no evidence of this on screen.

Performances take place next year on April 23 at 8pm; April 25 at 7pm and 10pm; and April 26 at 2pm. No performance on April 24. Mark your 2015 calendars so you don’t forget!

Tickets range from $24 to $46.