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Oct 31 2021

Cesare, Child of Night: A Horror Opera Based on “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”


Opera UCLA is delighted to present the world premiere of horror opera Cesare, Child of Night from Composer and Film/TV Orchestrator Jonathan Beard (Respect, King Richard, Zack Snyder's Justice League, and The Mandalorian), and Librettist Michael Cramer (Lecturer, City College of New York), directed by Emmy-nominated Director and Editor Stewart Schill (American Crime Story), with performances by several UCLA professors, including Michael Dean (Professor, Voice Performance), Antonio Lysy (Area Head, Strings), Movses Pogossian (Professor of Violin), and Mike Shapiro (Lecturer, Music Industry).

Cesare, Child of Night is a one-act electroacoustic opera based on the 1920 German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - acclaimed by film critic Roger Ebert as "the first true horror film" and by film reviewer Danny Peary as "cinema's first cult film and a precursor for arthouse films."

Cesare is infused with a number of broad musical interests pulled into one whole, including early 20th century modernist and cabaret elements, contemporary sound design, cinematic DNA, asymmetric electronic grooves, adventurous orchestration, all percolating within the long and rich operatic tradition. The opera contains subtle "signifiers" from music of that era combined with contemporary operatic techniques and sound design, bringing electronic instruments into the mix with the acoustic ensemble.

After 5 years of work on the music, the opera will have its world premiere on Halloween night, Oct. 31 via a virtual online live stream. Stewart Schill draws on footage from the original Cabinet of Dr. Caligari silent film, re-edited to accompany the revised narrative, while creatively intercut with a series of fifteen original paintings by artist Sufia Sadaf that depict each of the opera's tableaus.

This event includes the world premiere of Cesare, Child of Night, as well as a panel moderated by Peter Kazaras, Director of Opera UCLA.

Panelists include:

  • Jonathan Beard (composer)
  • Stewart Schill (director)
  • Michael Dean (vocal performer)
  • Joanna Lynn-Jacobs (vocal performer)
  • Sufia Sadaf (visual artist)

This event is made possible by the David and Irmgard Dobrow Fund. Classical music was a passion of the Dobrows, who established a generous endowment at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music to make programs like this possible. We are proud to celebrate this program as part of the 2021 - 22 Dobrow Series.




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