Old Flick, New Licks

University of Idaho student crafts a new original score for Phantom of the Opera

click to enlarge UI student Dylan Champagne brings new life to an old movie.
UI student Dylan Champagne brings new life to an old movie.

For years, the most memorable aspect of the 1925 silent horror film Phantom of the Opera was the genuinely creepy makeup designed and worn by the movie's star, Lon Chaney, Sr. That remained true of the tale even after music and sound effects were added to a reissue in 1930.

That all changed, of course, when Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version that made it to Broadway in 1988 became a runaway hit, cementing the image of the Phantom in modern audiences' minds as part of an operatic melodrama. Thankfully, University of Idaho music student Dylan Champagne found inspiration in the 1925 film and created an all-new score for Phantom of the Opera, and an eight-piece chamber orchestra will perform his work at a screening at the Garland Theater.

"The experience of viewing a silent film with a live score is profound, harkening to the days before talkies," Champagne noted in an announcement for the show, noting that live music at a movie "adds an element of chance and authenticity that starkly contrasts [with] the standardization and mass production that permeates our contemporary cultural landscape."

Champagne will graduate this spring with a degree in music composition, and the Garland screening comes thanks to a grant secured after he debuted his new Phantom score in April 2016 at Moscow's Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre.

Expect a sound experience that evokes Phantom's inherent campiness, not to mention creepiness. ♦

Phantom of the Opera • Thu, April 13 at 7 pm • $20/$15 for students • Garland Theater • 924 W. Garland • dylanchampagne.com/phantom or garlandtheater.com

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...