Giornate del Cinema Muto

Alicia Svigals – The Yellow Ticket #GCM36

Play Podcast
9 min. and 53 sec.

The scoring of Victor Janson’s 1918 film, starring Pola Negri.

Play Podcast
9 min. and 53 sec.

PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Alicia Svigals, composer of the film The Yellow Ticket. 

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Alicia Svigals is a klezmer musician and composer, and founding member and former musical director of the Grammy award winning group, The Klezmatics. She was at the 36th Pordenone Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto) to present her score for the Victor Jansen 1918 film The Golden Ticket (also referred to as The Devil’s Pawn), starring Pola Negri (one of a number of movies featuring the great silent film actress at this year’s Pordenone Silent Film Festival). She performed it alongside Marilyn Lerner, whom she calls her “musical partner” on this project. We met Svigals to chat about making her silent film music debut. She explains how “when I viewed the screener to see if I wanted to take on the project, I fell in love,” and that “my very existence on earth is, in a way, because of the practice of playing to silent movie,” as her grandfather, a pianist, as a young man, met her grandmother while playing piano at a movie theatre. Regarding her approach to scoring The Yellow Ticket, Svigals tells us: “I didn’t have preconceptions about what silent movie music should be.” The final work was includes elements of klezmer and Bela Bartok’s idea of taking modern music and twisting in into modern shapes. In this interview, we also discuss the difference between composing and performing silent movie music, whether she feels the audience while performing and how that influences the playing, and more.

For the official website of the festival, click here.


  • Reporter
    Matt Micucci
  • Guest
    Alicia Svigals
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
    The Yellow Ticket
  • Festival section
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