‘The Phantom at the Opera’ was performed on the 18th of March 2019 at the Barbican in London. The Docklands Sinfonia was conducted by Spencer Down live to picture. It was the second performance of Roy Budd’s much celebrated work in London. The concert was produced by Mishka Productions and Chizu Media.
Proceeds from the performance were donated to Rotary’s Purple4Polio campaign to End Polio Now and forever, dedicated to eradicating polio around the world. On Sunday, the 10th of March, The Phantom of the Opera at the Barbican was advertised in the Culture section of the Sunday Times.
The reviews for the performance at the Barbican were outstanding. Film News raved: “‘If I am the phantom it is because man’s hatred has made me so’ [the phantom] cries, despairing as the woman he loves cowers away from his ugliness. When he sits at the organ and plays in perfect synchronicity to Budd’s score, the now familiar motif returning, it’s painfully beautiful. It’s not hard to see why a musician like Roy Budd should have fallen in love with this story. It is music that brings the Phantom and Christine together and it is music that speaks of the Phantom’s sorrow. In fact almost the entire score speaks of the phantom’s yearning for love and beauty, neither of which he will ever have. It was a privilege to witness the coming together of an immaculate score that touches the heart of this iconic film.”
Classical Source wrote: “The score is atmospheric, anguished and romantic. It is Budd’s most ambitious work and his best. The seventy-two-piece Docklands Sinfonia was well- prepared and played with commitment, particularly the stentorian brass section. Spencer Down conducted with passion and coordinated sound and image immaculately. The music and the playing had the quality of a fevered dream which suited the film perfectly. With apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber, this Phantom is definitive.”
Lussorian praised music and performance in their review: “The opening was a suitably dramatic organ section which set the scene suitably as we plunged into the dark underground world of mythical Phantom in his shadowy world beneath the Paris Opera House. After the dramatic sound of the organ, the narrative took flight on the wings of Budd’s sweeping and swelling string arrangements. Though audiences have become used to the masterly prosthetics of Hollywood there was no doubting the fright factor of the ghastly face of the Phantom unmasked. The screen impact of silent screen star Lon Chaney remained undimmed and the drama of shock for leading lady Christine was enhanced by the powerful score – a score which gave power and drama to this powerful and dramatic film known the world over.”
The performance was preceded by a wide variety of reports on Roy Budd and his work.
“Rupert Julian’s adaptation of the classic book may not have been an immediate hit in 1925, but has gained fans since. One of these was composer and jazz pianist Roy Budd, who dreamed of writing music for the film since he was a child. Now, the piece finally receives its Barbican performance, as the 72-piece Docklands Sinfonia will play the live accompaniment to the film on March 18.”
“As for the music, to call last year’s rendition a triumph is an understatement. Budd’s score was played with perfect timing and huge energy, intensifying the audience’s connection to a film which remains as unsettling and emotive as ever. This is a truly unique and original spectacle that is not to be missed.”
“Whether you’re a jazz or film fan, it’s a go-to event. But you’ll need to get Lloyd Webber’s tunes out of your head. And you’ll need to be brave: Lon Chaney is terrifying.”
ClassicFM published an interview with Roy Budd’s wife, Sylvia
“Budd’s final work was a symphonic score for The Phantom of the Opera. Sylvia said: ‘When he was a young boy, Roy had a passion for [that film] – he absolutely adored it. He used to collect a lot of the magazine clippings, so you can imagine his joy when he was finally able to buy the real video tape with the music. Even back then, he knew he was going to write a score for The Phantom of the Opera, but there was a lot of technical work to do with the tape. The film is 93 minutes long and it had to be 25 frames per second.'”
Roy Budd’s The Phantom of the Opera was performed in Kiel, Germany, on the 17th of February 2019. Daniel Carlberg conducted the Philharmonisches Orchester Kiel in the Kieler Schloss, a renowned venue for concerts and various other prestigious cultural events. The performance, which was sold out, received rave reviews, among which is one from Filmmusik2000. An excerpt of the glowing review reads as follows: “The music flows, captures all your attention, and lets you forget the passing of time. But that is not all: there are particularly poignant moments apart from the obvious illustration of the various scenes. The scene in which Christine discovers the hiding place of the Phantom serves as an example here: the play of the organ seems to be diegetic. In truth, it is the Phantom himself who plays the organ and performs the leitmotif. Affectionate details such as these which, along with the detailed orchestration, give depth to the composition. It never becomes kitschy or sentimental.”
Roy Budd’s music for the silent film The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its world premiere at the London Coliseum on the 8th of October and has received outstanding praise from audiences and critics alike. Here is just a small selection of the rave reviews.
“To call this screening a triumph is an understatement. It was the perfect combination of venue, live music and an iconic film that’s still surprisingly freaky nearly a century after it was made.” ShadowsOnTheWeb.Blogspot
“Lon Chaney’s performance as the Phantom, with the unmasking of his monstrous features, still stands the test of time, especially when accompanied by Budd’s visceral music. Docklands Sinfonia delivered a memorable and taut rendition of this piece. Combining a glorious concert of a nuanced score with the screening of a sensational movie classic could work well in other venues.” TrafficLightTheaterGoer.Blogspot
“The spirit of the late composer Roy Budd was present in the London Coliseum on Sunday night as the premiere originally set for September 1993 finally took place to a full house and a standing ovation. The 77-piece Dockland’s Sinfonia under conductor Spencer Down let every note and instrument speak without dominating the film. Music and image were in perfect harmony – as Budd intended.” MatureTimes.co.uk
“Budd’s score finally got its world premiere at a screening of the silent horror movie at the London Coliseum on the 8 October. Spencer Down and the Docklands Sinfonia Orchestra gave an eye-opening performance, with meticulous and spellbinding timing that will make you wonder why all cinemas don’t have the same set up. The London Coliseum was a beautifully fitting venue for Budd’s long awaited premiere.” CultureFly.co.uk
“The evening was a great success, as I was leaving I spoke to many of the audience, all of which were thrilled and so pleased that they had been privileged enough to be there to witness this magnificent and brilliant work.” John Mansell
“It was Budd’s score which was the star. Played with perfect timing and huge energy by the Docklands Sinfonia, it swept us through the story on an emotional rollercoaster which deepened our response to this simple and rather unsettling story immeasurably. Such is the thrill of Budd’s score that two little children next to me, no more than ten years old, were engaged and entranced by this old silent movie throughout, just as everyone in the house. No wonder we all rose at the end almost in unison for a prolonged standing ovation.” John Farndon
(Photographs by Rik Young)
Paula Hammond, writer for the magazine Best of British, lauded the performance of The Phantom of the Opera by Roy Budd on her Twitter account as one of the cultural highlights of 2017.
The music will be performed by the 77 piece Docklands Sinfonia, conducted by Spencer Down.
Please visit this link to book tickets for the performance, which is scheduled to start at 5pm: London Coliseum
The unreleased score by Roy Budd, now available on Amazon
Mishka Productions has worked for over 20 years to get this last beautiful score from Roy Budd finally released, and are proud to present his creation to fans of both Roy’s work and of the classic silent film The Phantom of the Opera.
Since Roy’s death, many composers have written their own scores for The Phantom of the Opera. Roy’s was the first symphonic score to ever be written for this film, but due to circumstances unfortunately not the first to be released. Let them all pass the test of time.
For recent press and reviews visit the Roy Budd press page.
Review by John Williams, Music for the Movies
“The Phantom of the Opera was more than just another assignment for Roy, he had read stories about the Lon Chaney film whilst collecting famous monster magazines as a young boy, and had created an emotional bonding with the film. From then on his ambition was to write a score for the film. In 1989 he came across a film collector who had an original print, this he bought and lovingly restored to it’s full glory, using an experimental two colour process and original tints of the films original release.
From the opening organ theme, the listener can tell that Roy’s ambition to write the masterpiece for this film has been realised. His ‘Phantom’ theme is heard over the short opening credits, and it undergoes many changes throughout, agitated during the chase sequences and overtly romantic as the Phantom craves for the love of his life, his obsession, Christine. Listen also for the superb ballet music written for the establishing shots within the Paris Opera; luminous and enchanting it is a delight for the ear. The music is always cleanly presented, and never over-orchestrated, these beautiful melodies convey strong emotions. So Roy’s atmospheric and imposing score can always be heard in an unfettered way.
This was Roy Budd’s last score, he died five weeks before the world premiere of the works at the Barbican in London. Listen and remember that this is indeed his greatest achievement, written with compassion and nobility. This release is a fine tribute to a master composer at the height of his creativity.”
The DVD also includes unique extra’s, with an exclusive interview from esteemed film director Mike Hodges, director and writer of the cult-classic Get Carter, for which Roy Budd composed the iconic score. In the interview Mike Hodges discusses the making of Get Carter, and how he took the film from book to screen. Also included is rare footage of Roy Budd playing with the Roy Budd Trio at the 1983 Bob Hope Gala in London.
Also now available for purchase is the limited collectors edition of the soundtrack as a CD release. The CD booklet also includes exclusive photos of Roy conducting and editing the music for The Phantom of the Opera.
“The original Phantom film has been waiting 70 years for the masterpiece score it has always really deserved. Roy Budd has provided such a masterpiece”, quote from Music For The Movies, 1993.
“Roy’s score for The Phantom is exceptional. It enhances the pantomime of the original classic of Lon Chaney no end. I’m sure Chaney himself would be very pleased”, quote from Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects Creator, Writer and Producer, 1994 (Roy Budd composed the score for ‘Sinbad and The Eye of the Tiger’, a Ray Harryhausen film).
How to Purchase
You can purchase the limited collectors edition of the DVD release from Mishka Productions via Amazon here: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Phantom-Opera-Budd-DVD
The CD release of the score, as a limited collectors edition, can be purchased from Mishka Productions via Amazon here: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Phantom-Opera-Budd-CD
Both the DVD and CD are available for UK and International delivery.