Dr.Chris Record Spotlight: Carmilla A Vampire Tale

Kind of an odd one in my collection  as I’m not a big fan of plays or musicals. I say this regardless of the fact I was just in Mrs. Hawking two weeks ago directed by Phoebe Roberts. Maybe my attitude  has changed toward them over the years as I have gotten older. I have seen Young Frankenstein, The Addams Family and Rock of Ages the musicals and loved them all. I even tried to make a fan play based on one of my favorite  TV shows of all time, Supernatural.


The story of Carmilla is fitting as its February  and Valentines is coming up and I don’t own the soundtracks to My Bloody Valentine or Valentine.

Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 26 years. It is the first lesbian Vampire stpry written. First published as a serial in The Dark Blue (1871–72), the story is narrated by a young woman preyed upon by a female vampire named Carmilla, later revealed to be Mircalla, Countess Karnstein (Carmilla is an anagram of Mircalla). The story is often anthologized and has been adapted many times in different ways. I am a big fan of her apearence in the Castlevania video games.

 A chamber opera version of Carmilla appeared in Carmilla: A Vampire Tale(1970), music by Ben Johnston, script by Wilford Leach. Seated on a sofa, Laura and Carmilla recount the story retrospectively.

Here is a great article by the NY times circa 1986 discussing the play which I have never seen. All my vinyl reviews up till now have been about movies I have seen. This is the first soundtrack in my collection  based on a play.


It’s a different kind of music than what I’m use too Ben Johnston mixes opera with Gothic melody to create a story that is deep into the original narative. The record it self has a pretty piece of art work on the front and a black and white pictures from the stage performance on the back with a bio about the play. Other than that there is not much else.

If you love vampires and want to check out the original female blood sucker then hunt down a copy of this album.



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