I never thought that this would be how I would watch Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO for the first time. However, it is certainly how I would like to break any of my classic Hollywood film cherries if I got the chance again.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend LA Opera’s PSYCHO – Live with Orchestra at the Ace Hotel’s Theatre and it was honestly a blast. Walking up to the hotel, I could see that the outside of the theatre seemed reminiscent of if a Cathedral and a theatre marquee had a baby. To an average theatre-goer, you wouldn’t be expecting to have to prepare yourself visually while walking into a theatre. However, the architectural detail inside the theatre as well as the spooky style dressing applied to give the feeling of Halloween really helped to build that feeling of creepiness.
While trying not to be completely taken in by the glorious sights inside the theatre, I did make sure to run to the women’s restroom right before being seated. And, as luck would have it, I would end up discovering more set dressing to remind at least the women going in and out of the bathroom what they were here to see. Once you walked down the stairs to get to the bathroom, you enter a rather substantially sized room that is dressed as a parlor evocative of the one from the film. There are framed photos above the fireplace with characters from the film and, in the corner, you could see a frightening representation of what could only be Norman’s mother. Needless to say, I was in and out of the bathroom as fast as possible so I could get away from all that spoop.
There was a little photo-op once you got back to the lobby for those who wanted a picture with Ms. Bates’s stabby silhouette. I made sure to get one before being taken to my seat in the theatre, which completely took my breath away. I could easily tell that this theatre had to have been made during the United Artists period in the late ’20s because of the design work. That combined again with spooky mood lighting before the orchestra took to the stage definitely helped set the tone. Once the orchestra did take to the stage and conductor Louis Lohraseb came to start the show, it wasn’t long before audiences were fully immersed within composer Bernard Herrmann’s original soundtrack as PSYCHO played on the screen before us. While I can’t say whether or not it was an exact replica of the score since I hadn’t seen the film, the LA Opera Orchestra definitely seemed like they knocked it out of the park. The transitions were seamless and, for someone watching the film for the first time ever, it definitely gave an immersive quality.
Overall, I’d say PSYCHO – Live with Orchestra is definitely a great Halloween treat for those who get the chance to see it. Bring yourself. Bring a date. Heck, bring your mom! Either way, you are guaranteed to enjoy it.
Tonight is the last night to catch the performance. Tickets to PSYCHO—Live with Orchestra are on sale now. Tickets begin at $24 and can be purchased online at LAOpera.org, by phone at 213.972.8001, or in person at the LA Opera box office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012). For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email LAOpera@LAOpera.org.