London, 25 September 2019
Gothic Opera, a brand new London opera company, is set to launch its first season this Hallowe’en with an atmospheric, vibrant and irreverent production of Der Vampyr by Heinrich Märschner. Taking the dark, eerie intensity of gothic fiction as its starting point, Gothic Opera is dedicated to rarely-performed and atmospheric operatic works, and is committed to opening opera up to new audiences, hoping to inspire people to come and experience opera in unusual, characterful and spooky spaces.
The company was founded by Béatrice de Larragoïti, Charlotte Osborn and Alice Usher, three sopranos who met at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, who have assembled an exciting team of soloists and instrumentalists to perform alongside themselves. They are also working with stage director Julia Mintzer, who has an international career as a mezzo-soprano, who has written a new English version of the opera’s dialogue, and musical director Kelly Lovelady, founder of chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru, who has prepared a new orchestration of the opera.
This new version of the opera, freshly put together by the team for the twenty-first century, not only features a vampire who’s “half Dracula and half Don Giovanni”, but also brings the thoughts and feelings of his victims to the fore. Held in haunting and evocative locations and with a cast of passionate and dedicated musicians, Gothic Opera’s first production is set to challenge audiences to experience something totally new this Hallowe’en.
The opera Der Vampyr was composed in 1828 by Heinrich Marschner, and its plot has its origins in the short story The Vampyre, written in 1819 by John William Polidori. The story was in fact initially sketched by Lord Byron during the summer of 1816—the ‘year without a summer’—during which both writers, alongside Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft, stayed on the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. This was the same fateful summer in which Frankenstein was written. Der Vampyr’s connection with that bleakest of years and most creative of summers puts it straight at the heart of the gothic genre—but audiences should be prepared for an unusual and unconventional production that will perhaps subvert initial expectations.
Old Church, Stoke Newington
31 October, 7:30pm
01 November, 7:30pm
Asylum Chapel, Peckham
03 November, 5.00pm
Sung in German with English surtitles and spoken English dialogue
Tickets £20 / £14 plus booking fee: gothicopera.co.uk
There will also be two concert performances of highlights from Der Vampyr at Brompton Cemetery Chapel as part of London Month of the Dead
26 October, 7.30pm
27 October, 7.30pm
Cast and Creatives
Julia Mintzer director
Kelly Lovelady conductor
Charles Ogilvie designer
Will Alder lighting designer
Ian Beadle Lord Ruthven
Alice Usher Malwina
Jack Roberts Sir Edgar Aubrey
Sam Smith Sir Edgar Aubrey
Gráinne Gillis The Vampire Master / Suse (27 Oct)
Charlotte Osborn Emmy
Jon Stainsby Sir Humphrey Davenaut
Richard Moore Sir John Berkeley / Sir Humphrey Davenaut (26 Oct)
Béatrice de Larragoïti Janthe
Matthew Clark George Dibdin
Rosemary Clifford Suse
Ben Bloomfield Lord Ruthven (26 Oct)
Milena Knauß Malwina (26 Oct)
Susanna McRae Emmy (26 Oct)
Laura Curry Janthe (26 Oct)
About Gothic Opera
Founded in 2019, Gothic Opera curates mysterious performances of rarely-seen operas that take their inspiration from the uncanny and eerie atmosphere of Gothic fiction.
Gothic Opera co-founders © Nick Rutter
L-R: Alice Usher, Béatrice de Larragoïti, Charlotte Osborn
Company Director and Co-Founder