February 10, 2014, AVALON, CATALINA ISLAND – The original 1925 silent horror film, “The Phantom of the Opera,” starring Lon Chaney will be featured during this year’s Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Benefit. For the very first time in the event’s history, a soprano vocalist will accompany the film along with a 30-piece symphony orchestra and a professional organist. Grammy-Award-winning conductor Richard Kaufman will return to lead the performance in the Avalon Casino Theatre on Saturday, May 16th.
Internationally acclaimed soprano Lisa Vroman will perform the role of aspiring opera singer Christine Daaé, the Phantom’s love interest in the film. The original score was comprised of music by a number of different composers. In the film version, the songs performed by Christine are predominantly from Charles Gounod’s opera “Faust.” Starring for several years on Broadway, in San Francisco, and at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, Vroman also sang the role of Christine in more than 2,500 performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of “The Phantom of the Opera.” “Lisa Vroman in her transformation from a shy chorus girl to a blooming diva is captivating as Christine. …Her instrument is a beautiful one, full and sensuous,” wrote Steve Winn in a review for the “San Francisco Chronicle.” Vroman’s resume is impressive. She was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in “Les Miserables” on Broadway. She sang the role of Johanna in the San Francisco Symphony’s Emmy Award-winning television special “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert.” For Disney’s 75th celebration, she sang and danced opposite Dick Van Dyke in a medley from “Mary Poppins” at the Hollywood Bowl.
George Thomson of the “San Francisco Classical Voice” wrote of Vroman, “Her diction was splendid, her command of pitch and intonation excellent, the timbre bright and clear – a voice I am eager to hear again.” A frequent guest soloist with theaters, opera companies and orchestras, Vroman has performed across the country and around the world, including Hong Kong, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Paris. As a guest of the Kennedy family, she sang for the Profiles in Courage Award dinner in Boston at the JFK Library. She has also sung on separate occasions for Queen Elizabeth, former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.
The annual Silent Film Benefit is a key part of the Catalina Island Museum’s mission to bring history, art, music and film to the Avalon community and its visitors. The addition of the live symphony orchestra to last year’s event offered a rare opportunity for the community to experience a professional symphony orchestra performance in the comfort of the beautiful Avalon Casino Theatre. Adding a vocalist who has traveled the world performing with world-class orchestras and opera companies presents another unique opportunity that should not be missed.
The 28th Annual Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Benefit will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. in the Avalon Casino Theatre. Don’t wait to purchase tickets! This event will sell out. Tickets for “The Phantom of the Opera” performance are $20 for members of the museum and $24 for general admission. Purchasing tickets is easy. Please call 310-510-2414, visit the museum in person, or go to the Silent Film event page at catalinamuseum.org. The Catalina Island Museum is Avalon’s sole institution devoted to art, culture and history. The museum, its digital theater and store are located on the ground floor of Avalon’s historic Casino and are open seven days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: catalinamuseum.org.
Article By Gail Fornasiere, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Catalina Island Museum