Stitched together from discarded body parts and brought to life by a mad scientist, Frankenstein’s monster has been a symbol of horror and science fiction since the publication of Mary Shelley’s classic novel in 1818. And this month, the monster is coming to Fargo.
On Oct. 17, the Concordia Orchestra will perform the score of “Frankenstein” live alongside the 1931 film adaptation at the historic Fargo Theatre. The film was not originally produced with a score, inspiring many composers to write their own music for it, adding a contemporary twist to a classic tale. The orchestra is performing contemporary composer Michael Shapiro’s score, and Shapiro himself will be conducting the orchestra that evening.
Concordia Orchestra director Dr. Kevin Sütterlin, though not conducting the “Frankenstein” performance, has enjoyed working with students and the guest conductor on the project. In the era of instant information and shortened attention spans, he said, true engagement between a musician and their audience can be a challenge to come by. In order to attract a new generation of orchestra-goers, Sütterlin responds with creativity and enthusiasm.
“For me, the most important element today seems to be non-traditional performance experiences. It’s all about reaching new audiences, about sharing new experiences, and about brushing the dust off of classical music’s image,” he said.
Junior Emily Anderson, a violist in the Concordia Orchestra, shares in Sütterlin’s enthusiasm surrounding the “Frankenstein” undertaking.
“Performing a piece like Frankenstein provides us an opportunity to work on a different style of music,” she said. “It’s also really exciting to work with the composer, because they can tell you how they want the piece to be played.”
Internationally known composer Michael Shapiro will also work with music students at Concordia throughout his time in the area. He will be holding lessons, teaching a lecture and composition masterclass, and, of course, working with the students on the acclaimed “Frankenstein” piece.
“For modern day moviegoers, Mr. Shapiro’s haunting music adds significantly to the emotional impact of the film,” Shapiro’s official website says.
While the performance features Concordia musicians, one does not need to attend Concordia or be a musician to enjoy the experience. Sophomore Ivy Mattson, though not involved in music at Concordia, still anticipates and recognizes the importance of the event.
“It’s important to be involved in the Fargo-Moorhead community and the Concordia community. Supporting those involved in this means that others might come to my events,” she said.
The Oct. 17 performance will be a rare and unique opportunity for those involved, as well as those in attendance.
“I am looking forward to the event as a whole. I’ve never seen ‘Frankenstein’ or been to the Fargo Theatre, so this is a very cool and unique experience,” Mattson said.
But the main reason that people should attend, according to Sütterlin, is the fact that this performance will push even the audience to the limits of typical concert comfort zones.
“It forces us to expand our horizons. It pushes our limits a bit. Anything that is outside-the-box can be uncomfortable, at first. We are forced to get out of our comfort zones to make a project like this work,” he said.
Tickets for the 7:30 pm performance are $10 for general admission or $7 with a student ID, and can be purchased in person at the Fargo Theatre. More information can be found at fargotheatre.org/frankenstein.
Annie is a senior double-majoring in Environmental Studies and Heritage and Museum Studies, as well as minoring in German. She loves adventures, coffee, and dogs. This is her third year with the Concordian.