February-March 2019 | Articles

The Phantom returns

The Phantom returns

Roy Budd was a renowned composer and a Rotarian who died of a brain haemorrhage just weeks before the premiere in London of one of his most ambitious musical projects.

In 1993, Roy had completed the score to Rupert Julian’s classic 1920s film ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. But the scheduled performance was cancelled when he suddenly died aged 47.

It wasn’t until nearly a quarter of a century later when Roy’s widow, Sylvia, fulfilled his dream and the moving masterpiece was performed at the London Coliseum in October 2017.

Now, for only the second ever performance, Roy Budd’s ‘Phantom’ score will be heard once again at the Barbican on March 18th, where it should have received its premiere 25 years ago.

Roy, who provided the musical score to a host of films including ‘Get Carter’, ‘Paper Tiger’, ‘The Sea Wolves’ and ‘Who Dares Wins’ was a member of Rotary London, and so all proceeds from the performance will go towards the End Polio Now campaign.

It will be performed by the Docklands Sinfonia, conducted by Spencer Down.

Producer Nick Hocart said: “I am excited to work with Spencer Down and Docklands Sinfonia again.

“To be presenting Roy’s work in the Barbican, where it was due to premiere 25 years ago, is history in the making.”

I feel really proud to support this cause.”

Sylvia Budd revealed that her husband had originally planned to perform ‘Phantom of the Opera’ 25 years ago at the Barbican in aid of UNICEF.

“Because it was supposed to be a charity event, there was no question that ‘our’ performance at the Barbican would be a charity event as well,” admitted Sylvia.

“I have followed Rotary’s fight against Polio for many years and have always been very touched by its work and the effect its work has had on the African community.

“I feel proud to be able to support this cause.”

She added: “When Roy passed away, I promised to finish his work for him. It took me many years to find the energy to actively start working on a concert of the ‘Phantom,’ since Roy’s death left me in great shock.

“I then started restoring the print of the film which was a long and arduous process.

“I had such a great respect for what Roy had written that I felt the enormous responsibility on my shoulders.

“After the restoration was finished and the technical problems solved, I started looking for a producer since I couldn’t finance a performance myself.

“Through sheer luck I met Nick Hocart who had just produced his first film. We became friends and when I told him of my dream to get the ‘Phantom’ performed, we decided to embark on this project together.”

Roy Budd conducting

Eve Conway, Vice Chairman of Rotary International’s End Polio Now: Countdown to History Campaign Committee, said: “We would like to thank Sylvia for this wonderful gesture to help Rotary in our Purple4Polio campaign to End Polio Now and forever.

“We have never been closer to making history by eradicating only the second human disease ever and achieving Rotary’s goal of a polio-free world.”

Roy Budd’s Phantom score will be heard at the Barbican on March 18th.

For tickets please visit www.barbican.org.uk.

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