HERCULES VERSUS VAMPIRES is a multimedia operatic work which combines live singers and orchestra with film projection, using as its starting point the 1961 Sword-And-Sandal epic HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD, directed by Mario Bava, starring Reg Park as Hercules and Christopher Lee as the evil King Lycos. The opera tells the story of Hercules descending into Hades to save the life of Princess Dianara of Achalia and then fighting the forces of evil to vanquish them from the earth.
The opera began life as a commissioned work from Opera Theater Oregon in 2009, and it premiered there in May of 2010 for five highly successful performances. In 2015 a much-revised version of the work was premiered in Los Angeles by LA Opera in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center with an expanded cast and a complete reorchestration to take full advantage of the larger orchestra. HERCULES now employs nine singers, an orchestra of 26 players with a conductor, and it runs approximately 74 minutes in length.
Since the 2015 Los Angeles premier of the new version, HERCULES VERSUS VAMPIRES has been produced by North Carolina Opera in 2016, Arizona Opera in 2017, and Nashville Opera in January of 2018. Several more productions are in the planning stages, including several international premiers.
Here is a two-minute excerpt from the archival video recording from the North Carolina Opera production that illustrates exactly how the opera works in performance. In this excerpt Hercules is played by Scott Macleod and Dianara is played by Andrea Edith Moore. The North Carolina Opera Orchestra is conducted by Shawn Galvin.
HERCULES VERSUS VAMPIRES has even acquired a modicum of presence beyond the opera/concert stage via some unexpected additions. There is now a Wikipedia page for the work (here) that provides an overview of the work and its history. In 2018 Dr Brooke McCorkle PhD, a musicologist on the faculty of the University of Vermont wrote a paper titled Hercules, Vampires, and the Opera of Attractions. The paper has been presented at two professional symposia and is currently being reviewed for publication by a major Musicological journal.