The World Premiere of Roy Budd’s Phantom of the Opera

The World Premiere of Roy Budd’s Phantom of the Opera

Joyce Glasser previews The World Premiere of Roy Budd’s Phantom of the Opera (5pm, 8 October 2017 at the London Coliseum)

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, The Phantom of the Opera, has been playing for years in London’s West End, but for one day only, this Sunday, 8 October, 2017, a very special, Phantom of the Opera will be at the London Coliseum and no film or musical lover will want to miss it.

Phantom of the OperaRupert Julian’s 1925 silent horror film, The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney Sr. will be shown for the first time accompanied by the great British composer Roy Budd’s ‘lost’ symphony score. You will not only be hearing the world premiere of Budd’s music – performed by the 77-piece Dockland’s Sinfonia – but you will be seeing the only original 35mm film reel of the 1925 film.

The combination of Roy Budd, Lon Chaney and Rupert Julian on one bill is reason enough to head for the Coliseum, but the chance to be present at the making of film and music history is another. Budd, a child prodigy, gave his first concert at the London Coliseum in 1953 when he was only six-years-old. And now, 64 years later, his music will once again grace that historic venue.

Budd went on to compose the music for 40 feature films, including Get Carter and The Wild Geese. Four years before his untimely death in 1993, he acquired, and lovingly restored, the only surviving reel of Rupert Julian’s 1925 The Phantom of the Opera. He then spent three years composing the score. Tragically, Budd died of a brain haemorrhage weeks before the premiere at the age of 46. The performance was cancelled and the piece has never been performed publicly.

Phantom of the OperaBy a sad coincidence, the star of the film, Lon Chaney Sr. also died prematurely: of a throat haemorrhage at the age of 47. Like Budd, he was a remarkable talent and left his mark on the film industry during this relatively short life. Chaney excelled at playing grotesque, but heart-rending characters: a result of his empathy for these outcasts and his talent with make-up. Make-up departments were almost non-existent in 1920s film production and Chaney gained a competitive advantage showing up for auditions in character with remarkably deformed heads and faces.

Rupert Julian was New Zealand’s first actor/producer/director. He left for Hollywood with his Australian actress/director wife, Elsie Jane Wilson, in 1911, just as Charlie Chaplin was attracting attention on his first tour of the USA.

The concert on the 8th is a tribute to one other key figure: Budd’s widow, Sylvia. When the concert was cancelled in 1993, she was not only asked to foot the bill, but struggled for 24 years to give the score the public airing it was denied.

Venue: London Coliseum (if booking online search under Concerts)
Date: 5pm 8th October 2017
Tickets: £22 – £122
Box office: 020 7845 9300

You can watch the film trailer here: