Stambaugh ‘Phantom’ to feature live organist

The 1925 silent film "The Phantom of the Opera" will be shown Sunday at Stambaugh Auditorium with live organ accompaniment. Lon Chaney stars as the Phantom. (Submitted photo)

Haunting Stambaugh Auditorium for Halloween will be the silent classic “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Peter Richard Conte, the organist originally scheduled to accompany the 1925 film, is unable to travel to Youngstown this week, but his replacement is no stranger to local audiences. Todd Wilson is head of the organ department at The Cleveland Institute of Music and director of music and worship at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland.

Wilson also is curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Cleveland’s Severance Hall and house organist for the Aeolian organ at Stan Hywet Hall in Akron.

He has been heard in concert in many major cities throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, including concerts at Symphony Hall (Birmingham, UK), Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center and Uihlein Hall in Milwaukee.

Wilson has released more than a dozen CDs, including “Live from Severance Hall,” “The Music of Charles Tournemire” and “Music for Cello and Organ,” recorded with his daughter, Rachel Wilson.

He has performed several times at Stambaugh, including accompanying “Phantom” in 2013.

Gaston Leroux’s novel “The Phantom of the Opera” has inspired several film adaptations, but the 1925 silent feature starring Lon Chaney as a scarred maestro who haunts the Paris Opera House may be the most beloved. The Phantom’s unmasking has been touted as an iconic screen moment. It was directed by Rupert Julian and co-stars Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry and Arthur Edmund Carewe.

It will be shown at 4 p.m. Sunday at Stambaugh, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown, as a hybrid live-and-streaming event. PNC is the presenting sponsor and provided $5,000 to underwrite the cost of the program.

Tickets are sold out for the limited-capacity live audience, but the presentation will be livestreamed on Stambaugh’s Digital Concert Hall app. More information is available at stambaughauditorium.com.


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