October 12, 2022
By Micha Poworoznik
After a hiatus, a beloved Halloween tradition returns to the Winspear!
It all started back in 2012, when organist Dennis James first performed on the Winspear stage to a sold-out crowd. He provided the live soundtrack for a screening of the 1925 Lon Chaney version of The Phantom of the Opera. Even though Dennis performed Halloween-themed accompaniment in years past, this concert was such a huge success that a new tradition was born.
“It takes months of preparation to get to the point that I can carefully scan the actor’s most subtle movements, including blinks of the eye, turns of the head, and reaching out and touching things,” said Dennis when asked about the challenges of playing along with a live film. “It is really the making certain of the synchronization of the music with the film and doing it in real time. I meticulously prepare exact cues in the music events on the screen precisely following the instructions printed within the original music score.”
Ten years later, Dennis still brings the same exciting energy to each performance – especially with The Phantom of the Opera making its return to the screen. “This year features the most recent restoration version of the film that now includes the rediscovered early Technicolor sequences,” he said. “Also, I will be performing the actual original 1925 music score by G. Hinrichs and M. Winkler recreating the show just as the audiences experienced it with pipe organ scoring together with the film back in 1925 when it was first released.”