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Press Release: LA Opera presents "Hercules vs. Vampires"

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Swords, sandals...and opera!

LA Opera presents Hercules vs. Vampires

Mario Bava's cult classic film gets new soundtrack sung
by LA Opera's young artists in one-of-a-kind live musical event

(Los Angeles) April 2, 2015 (updated April 9) — This spring, LA Opera presents one of the most offbeat works the company has ever offered: the Los Angeles premiere of Patrick Morganelli's Hercules vs. Vampires. A mashup of contemporary music and midcentury pop culture, Hercules vs. Vampires  combines a new operatic score performed live in synch with a screening of the great Italian filmmaker Mario Bava's 1961 sword-and-sandal epic Ercole al centro della terra,  best known to American audiences as Hercules in the Haunted World. To watch the trailer for Hercules vs. Vampires, click here.

The audience experience will be augmented with an insider's Q&A prior to each performance, featuring special guests. Popcorn, movie candy and drinks will be available for purchase for audience members to enjoy during the performance. In addition, a costume party, sponsored by Frontiers LA, will take place at the theater between the two Saturday performances. Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite sword-and-sandal heros and heroines.

Hercules vs. Vampires will run for a total of four performances from April 23 through 26, 2015, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles CA 90012).

About LA Opera Off Grand
Hercules vs. Vampires is presented under LA Opera's Off Grand banner, which complements the company's mainstage programming through a wide variety of artistic exploration. “One of LA Opera’s goals is to expand the idea of what this opera company is, and who it is for," said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera's President and CEO. "Our Off Grand programming helps us diversify the operatic repertory and provide access points for new audiences to experience opera on our stage. While previous Off Grand performances have taken place in venues other than the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, this will be the first Off Grand production to take place in our home. Many audience members for Hercules vs. Vampires are likely to be new to opera and to experiencing a live performance in this iconic theater."

About Hercules vs. Vampires
Hercules vs. Vampires is a musical reimagining of a film that is already highly operatic in scope, with oversized characters, a quasi-historical setting and an action-packed story. When the actors projected on the screen open their mouths to speak, the audience will hear their lines sung by a cast of 10 opera singers, accompanied by the LA Opera Orchestra. Fresh and full of fun, Morganelli's atmospheric new score provides the perfect accompaniment to Bava's cinematic world.

About the Film
Hercules vs. Vampires was one of several international titles used for Ercole al centro della terra (also known in English-speaking countries as Hercules in the Haunted World or Hercules in the Center of the Earth). Particular noted for its eyecatching visuals, the film was created by Mario Bava, who acted as director, cinematographer and screenwriter. The film follows mythological strongman Hercules on a heroic journey to rescue his beloved from the fiendish forces that have possessed her. Starring bodybuilder Reg Park and horror legend Christopher Lee (both dubbed into Italian for the film's original release), Bava's film is fantastic in every sense of the word.

About the Artists
Patrick Morganelli is an L.A.-based composer with an established career in film and television. He is also active in the world of concert music, with recent commissions that include a violin concerto and a large work for solo piano. His song cycle Songs of Late Summer, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, will premiere in the fall of 2015.

Hercules vs. Vampires will be conducted by Christopher Allen in his LA Opera debut. Mr. Allen is an alumnus of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program who recently made his Opera Santa Barbara debut conducting Rigoletto. This summer he will make his Cincinnati Opera debut conducting the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star.

The cast of ten singers will feature nine members of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, led by baritone Kihun Yoon as the voice of Hercules. The role of Theseus will be sung by tenor Frederick Ballentine and the villainous Lycos (played onscreen by Christopher Lee) will be sung by bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee.

Performance Dates and Times
Four performances of Hercules vs. Vampires will take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012:

•    Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 8pm
•    Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 7pm
•    Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 10pm
•    Sunday, April 26, 2015, at 2pm

Tickets are on sale now. Tickets range in price from $24 to $46 and can be purchased in person at the LA Opera Box Office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, by phone at 213.972.8001 or online at LAOpera.org. For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email LAOpera@LAOpera.org.

Learn More
Please visit LAOpera.org/Hercules for additional resources about Hercules vs. Vampires, including a video trailer, audio excerpts, an interview with composer Patrick Morganelli, cast bios and more. 

Press Gallery
To download movie stills and artist photographs, click here.

Presented in association with American Cinematheque.

LA Opera Media Contacts:
Gary Murphy, Director of Communications and Public Relations
gmurphy@laopera.org | 213.972.7554

Shannita Williams, Associate Director of Communications, Social Media
shannita@laopera.org | 213.972.7347


Rolex is the Official Timepiece of LA Opera.
Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

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