Organist Presents "Phantom of the Opera" Oct. 30

Oct. 21, 1998

by Richard Veit

As a general rule, silent movies were never really silent -- a theater organist or pianist would improvise a musical score to accompany the action on screen. That is what Tom Cotner will do for his audience at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, as the American Guild of Organists and Baylor University School of Music present the classic 1925 film by Universal Pictures, Phantom of the Opera. This special screening will take place in Roxy Grove Hall.

Cotner, who has performed regularly at Oklahoma City's annual Halloween event "Symphony of Horrors," is a specialist in the genre of theater organ performance. A former student of Dr. Nita Akin of Wichita Falls, he is the owner and operator of Cotner Pipe Organs of Martha, Okla. His Baylor presentation of Phantom of the Opera two years ago was a huge success, leading to this repeat performance.

The music that Cotner has selected for this screening of Phantom of the Opera draws heavily upon themes from Charles Gounod's opera Faust, which is the principal opera used in the staging of the movie. In addition, original themes are used, as well as typical silent movie accompaniments, as brought together and improvised upon by the organist.

This famous silent version of Phantom of the Opera stars Lon Chaney as a vengeful composer who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opéra, kidnapping the young Christine Daae (played by Mary Philbin) as his new protégé.

Phantom of the Opera tickets are $5 and are available at the Bill Daniel Student Center box office on the Baylor campus. They are also being sold by members of the American Guild of Organists.

For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 710-3991.

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