Melissa Vogt as Erzsebet Bathori. Photo by Kimberley Mead

Melissa Vogt as Erzsebet Bathori. Photo by Kimberley Mead

SEASON 30 | September 2017


A Gothic Opera by Chad Salvata
Directed by Bonnie Cullum
Presented by Ethos and The VORTEX

      Erzsebet bestrides this opera as Richard III does his Shakespearean tragedy, a tyrant mercilessly savaging all in her path to satisfy her own wicked whims, and Vogt gets that. Her porcelain skin glowing, she transforms her lovely features into a mask of viciousness, of monomania, and ultimately of madness. The final image of her, eyes wild, rivulets of blood streaming down her face and her naked body, leaves us where all good October tales do: awash in horror
      — Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle, 2005

      This Gothic opera is a tale of horror, mysticism, blood, and magic, created by Ethos composer and Artistic Director, Chad Salvata. Vampyress is based on the true story of Erzsebet Bathori, “The Bloody Countess”. Born in 16th-century Hungary, Bathori murdered hundreds of young women and bathed in their blood in order to sustain her youth and beauty, until finally being discovered and condemned. While often vilified for these horrific acts, she has also evolved some cult-like status over the centuries. Salvata’s embellishment of the final days of her notorious downfall produces a powerful and compelling work of mystical storytelling.

      View the production photos by Kimberley Mead.


      Melissa Vogt and Betsy McCann Bromley reprise their award-winning roles as Erzebet and her lover, Stephan. The all-woman cast also features Chelsea Manasseri, Hayley Armstrong, Eryn Gettys, Amanda Clifton, and Micah Gause.

      production team

      Directed by Bonnie Cullum. Scenic Design by Ann Marie Gordon. Lighting Design by Jason Amato. Costume Design by Stephanie Dunbar and Chad Salvata. Sound Design by Roy Taylor. Prop and Blood Design by Helen Parish. Production Photos by Kimberley Mead.

      Vintage Vampyress Scene:

      Funded in part by Ethos, VORTEX Repertory Company, by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.