On Saturday (June 27), Open Gate Theatre presents CalArts alumna Rika Ohara’s (Art MFA 85) Dream of the Other, an opera adaptation of Lord Byron’s 1813 poem The Giaour at Live Arts Los Angeles.
The Giaour tells the story of Leila, who is killed by drowning by her master Hassan for adultery. Her lover the giaour (Turkish for “infidel”), kills Hassan and enters a monastery in remorse. In death, the giaour becomes a vampire, doomed to kill all his loved ones and drink their blood for his nourishment. Byron’s work was one of the first in English literature to use the word “vampire,” and has inspired countless pieces of artwork, including the 1827 painting Combat of the Giaour and the Pasha by French painter Eugène Delacroix. American filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola was inspired by the painting to cast the title character of his 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a Byronic hero.
For Dream of the Other, Ohara uses Byron’s own life—he was notorious for his material excess and bisexual affairs—and a recent paper by University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Rebecca Nesvet which suggests that the heroine Leila is the giaour in drag. The work-in-progress follows this theory and features Joseph Gárate as Lord Byron and L.A. Opera/Master Chorale’s Charles Lane as the Nubian, an original character.
The opera also features music by alumnus Daniel Corral (Music MFA 07), Will Salmon, Brad Dutz and Breeze Smith, and movement by Hayward Bracey and Michelle Lai.
Dream of the Other
June 27, 8 pm
Live Arts Los Angeles
4210 Panamint St., Los Angeles
Tickets: $15 general, $10 students and seniors