Every Halloween, the Kansas City Symphony’s Screenland at the Symphony series provides a treat for Kansas City: a classic silent horror film with live organ accompaniment. Dorothy Papadakos returns Thursday, Oct. 27, to play Helzberg Hall’s Casavant organ for one of the greatest horror films ever made: “The Phantom of the Opera” starring Lon Chaney.
With a Paris Opera House built on a Hollywood soundstage and a cast of thousands of extras, “Phantom” is one of the most elaborate productions of the silent film era. But it is Chaney’s meticulous makeup and acting that has ensured the movie’s iconic stature.
“Lon Chaney played a rather ghoulish character, but he played it so convincingly that it didn’t look like a made-up character,” said Butch Rigby, founder of the Screenland Theatres. “He looked like he was genuinely the Phantom. The storyline itself is a great piece of storytelling. It’s an incredible, timeless story. We just think it’s perfect for Halloween.”
The 1925 film also features 17 minutes of Technicolor footage, including the stunning masked ball scene. “Phantom” still packs a punch, even more so when Papadakos, a skilled theater organist, is providing a live soundtrack on the powerful organ.
“If you are going to be introduced to silent film, there’s no better way to do it than ‘Phantom,’ ” Rigby said.
Denis Matsuev recital
In 1998, Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, at the age of 23, won the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition. He has gone on to become one of the greatest pianists of his generation.
The Harriman-Jewell Series will present Matsuev in recital Friday, Oct. 28, at the Folly Theater. Matsuev’s muscular virtuosity will be on full display in a recital that includes Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 31, the Mephisto Waltz No. 1 by Franz Liszt and the Symphonic Etudes by Robert Schumann. Also on the program is Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7.
Prokofiev was shaken to his core by the arrest of his friend and colleague, stage director Vsevolod Meyerhold, in June 1939, the murder a month later of Meyerhold’s wife, Zinaida Raikh, and Meyerhold's own execution in 1940. Shortly after their deaths, Prokofiev was commissioned to write a cantata to celebrate the birthday of the man ultimately responsible for their killings, Josef Stalin. Later in 1940, Prokofiev began writing what became known as his “War” Sonatas Nos. 6, 7 and 8
It’s a big milestone year for the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and Owen/Cox Dance Group.
Owen/Cox will celebrate its 10th anniversary and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra its 30th with “Milestones: Music and Movement in Celebration of Two Anniversary Seasons” on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College.
Baroque and classical era music have always been central to the chamber orchestra’s repertoire, and the milestones concert reflects that. Bruce Sorrell, the group’s founder and artistic director, will conduct music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Jennifer Owen will provide the choreography to those works as well as music by Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten.