Posts Tagged ‘Musical’

Speaking of les vampires français, it was one of those lovely coincidences that the night I submitted and the day I received the acceptance for Guillemette’s story “La Fatale” (see entry just below) overlapped nights I happened to be watching a recently bought DVD “inspiré du roman de Bram Stoker, le spectacle musical Dracula:  Entre L’Amour et La Mort.”  Yes, the musical version of Dracula — in French.  Actually produced in Quebec where it ran from January 13 to December 16 2006 (with the version here filmed in November that year according to the credits, although the DVD didn’t come out until 2008), it has since been performed as well in France and elsewhere.  Translated as “Dracula:  Between Love and Death,” it was created by Bruno Pelletier (who also plays the part of Dracula) with music by Simon Leclerc and lyrics by  Roger Tabra.

On the down side, it’s only available in French (and québécois to boot, as well as a few lines in Ukrainian) with no English subtitles, and as for me the title is about as far as my language skills are going take me.  So I was actually watching it a second time last night and the night before, that is Act I Tuesday and Act II Wednesday, with English versions of the songs in hand gleaned from a very helpful translation effort in blog style on allthelyrics.com.  However I will say that, even without the translations the way I saw it the first time, the music is great, the dancing and acting, the costumes and settings all great too.  For me at least — but then I like things like les trois vampiresses (a.k.a., in the movies, the “Brides of Dracula”) done up BDSM style with Medusa-like headdresses!

Also the plot should be sufficiently familiar that it can be followed well enough without really knowing the words.  There are some variations, though, to be aware of (the large puppet-creature that starts it off, by the way, is not a character per se but rather a sort of announcer-commentator).  It follows the conceit of, e.g., Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Dracula in seeing the vampire as a Vlad Tepes extension whose wife has been lost and who discovers, 500 years later, Mina Murray as a kind of soul-descendant, thus setting up a major conflict as being between Dracula and Mina’s husband-to-be Jonathan Harker; Lucy in this version is Van Helsing’s daughter (Van Helsing, seen as very religious, has tried to keep her from the evils of the world, but she rebels with results that are not good); Renfield as a drug addict plays a more modern sort of madman; other parts are thus eliminated but the three vampire women have their roles expanded to almost an equivalent of the three Fates, at some moments standing in in a way as a kind of Greek chorus.  So one part is literal, a telling of a variant of the original novel in music, but another level is allegorical taking in the larger themes of good and evil, weakness and strength, love and pain and death, and ultimately redemption.  And it is ultimately Mina who must choose, whereas the original “Elhemina,” as the warlord Dracula’s promised bride, is the one who was cursed from the beginning and so had “turned” him.

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