Curtain Call: 'Vampyress' opera returns to Vortex


By by aprill brandon/
Oct. 4, 2010 at 5:04 a.m.
Updated Oct. 6, 2010 at 5:06 a.m.

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. At least, that's the case with the life and legend of the infamous Hungarian countess Erzsebet Bathori, who is reputed to have killed more than 600 young women in the 17th century.

And just what was the reasoning behind her blood lust? The notion that bathing in these young beauties' blood would help her maintain her looks.

Talk about one sticky fountain of youth.

It's a story just begging to be told in the most dramatic fashion possible, which is what Chad Salvata decided to do when he wrote an opera based on Bathori.

Just in time for Halloween, Salvata's "Vampyress" will be making a month-long run at the Vortex Repertory in Austin starting Oct. 15.

"'Vampyress seems much more about mood and Bathori's bloody desire, with Salvata's signature techno-beat providing a menacing bassline from which erupts atmospheric fountains of Eastern European and Middle Eastern melody," Robert Faires wrote for the Austin Chronicle in 2005 when the opera first debuted.

That debut earned the opera several B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Original Score (Chad Salvata), Outstanding Lead Actress (Melissa Vogt-Patterson), and Outstanding Supporting Actress (Betsy McCann), according to the Vortex website.

Now, make no mistake, this is not a show for children and features nudity, violence and, of course, blood. Lots of it. The show is recommended (surprise, surprise) for mature audiences only.

Tickets are $25-$30 for priority seating, $15-$20 for general admission and $10 for "starving artists." Advance purchase recommended due to limited seating.

For tickets or more information, call 512-478-5282 or go online to



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