Our live music and film events are among the most popular shows we present and this semester we offer three very different silent films with three very different original scores performed live.

Kicking off a number of Halloween mood-setting events, as well as several films being shown as part of Silent Movie Month in Ithaca, the influential horror classic starring Lon Chaney, The Phantom of the Opera, will be shown in the magnificent Sage Chapel with live accompaniment by the Austin-based group The Invincible Czars, who enthralled Ithaca audiences the past two years with their intricately crafted and precisely performed silent film soundtracks for Nosferatu and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Then, on Halloween eve, Cornell Cinema will host the Cherry Artspace’s recent re-staging of House of Usher: a multi-media rock’n’roll opera, a timeless re-telling of the Edgar Allen Poe story, "The Fall of the House of Usher," presented as a multi-layered performance combining the classic 1928 film of the same name by Jean Epstein with modern opera, film-noir, and improvisation by local musicians Anna Coogan and Tzar, utilizing lighting and other atmospheric theatrical props for a spine tingling evening.

The third event of the semester will be a FREE screening of the recent digital restoration of The Ancient Law, a German silent about Jewish life in 19th Century Europe. A precursor to Warner Bros' The Jazz Singer, the film tells the story of an orthodox rabbi's son who yearns to become an actor, against the wishes of his father. It offers an important piece of German-Jewish cinematic history that contrasts the closed world of an Eastern European shtetl with the liberal mores of 1860s Vienna. It will be shown with live musical accompaniment by renowned silent pianist Donald Sosin and acclaimed Klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals, playing their newly-commissioned score for the film.

The first two films are cosponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts and the Dept of Music. House of Usher is additionally cosponsored with the Dept of PMA and Ithaca Fantastik. Special ticket prices apply for these shows and can be purchased in advance at CornellCinemaTickets.com.

The free screening of The Ancient Law is made possible with support from the Sunshine Foundation for Education and the Arts, the Jewish Studies Program, the Dept of German Studies, the Dept of Music, the Institute for German Cultural Studies and Cornell Hillel.

image from House of Usher: a multi-media rock’n’roll opera