AD: Historical silent film comes to life on WAC stage with live score this week

Still from Prince Achmed / Courtesy

This Thursday, Walton Arts Center presents a unique performance that combines silent film and live music for just $10 per ticket. Part of the 10×10 Arts Series, Invoke will present their original score to Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 silent film The Adventures of Prince Achmed live on-stage alongside a screening of the film. The score, which was originally commissioned by the Austin Chamber Music Center, draws from the timeless stylistic elements of the film – reminiscent of Indonesian shadow puppetry – to highlight both the group’s modern performance style and the story’s more ancient themes. You can expect the unexpected from this live performance. Improvisations appear throughout, but the score serves as a road map that leads back to the inspiring moments from which it was born.


Invoke / Courtesy

Described as “not classical…but not not classical” (David Srebnik, SiriusXM Classical Producer), Invoke continues to successfully dodge even the most valiant attempts at genre classification. The multi-instrumental, award-winning group encompasses a variety of American musical traditions, including bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz and minimalism. Invoke weaves all of these styles together to create truly individual music written by and for themselves.

Widely considered to be the very first-ever animated feature film, Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 silent film The Adventures of Prince Achmed is an adaptation of tales from One Thousand and One Nights. In it, she uses striking silhouette cutouts and gorgeous color tinting to bring to life the story of an Arabian prince who is whisked away on a flying horse to an enchanted land where he tangles with an evil sorcerer, rescues a princess and joins forces with none other than Aladdin. The Adventures of Prince Achmed comes to us today through a negative saved in England, as does a piece of Reiniger herself. In single frames, one 45 minutes into the film and the other 53 minutes in, you can catch a glimpse of the shadow of Reiniger’s sure hands.

Tickets are on sale now to Invoke’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed at Walton Arts Center Thursday, Feb. 17. Buy tickets by clicking here.

Still from Prince Achmed / Courtesy