Nosferatu: An Opera Libretto

Nosferatu: an Opera Libretto was written for music by neo-romantic composer Alva Henderson. Based on F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 vampire film, the opera retells the Dracula story from the perspective of a gifted woman in a tragedy she cannot prevent.

A showcase of highlights from Nosferatu was performed to a standing ovation in June 2001 in West Chester, Pennsylvannia. Click here to visit the Rimrock Opera Company’s Nosferatu page, with photos from the Montana production.

“Gioia’s mythic material is not only alive with all the meanings of the Dracula legend: it is in addition an emblem of opera itself. To put it another way, the libretto is vibrant with the poet’s active self-conciousness. Like the writer who decides to read his work aloud — to ‘perform’ it — Nosferatu gives ‘voice’ to what was initially utterly silent. One could easily write a separate essay on the implications of Gioia’s use of the libretto as a form of ‘performance poetry.'”

— Jack Foley, The Alsop Review
(read the full review here)

Read Lequita Vance-Watkins’s interview with Dana Gioia about writing Nosferatu, or an excerpt from Gioia’s essay Sotto Voce: The Libretto as Literary Form.