Projects

Dracula - Entre l'amour et la mort

2005

Dracula - Entre l'amour et la mort

For several years Bruno Pelletier was hatching the idea of making his own musical. In 2003, when Bruno was going about Quebec with his tour "Un monde a l’envers", Paul Dupont-Hebert, the producer of Zone 3, contacted the singer in order to know if he was still interested in musicals. Having refused to participate in many of them Bruno wanted to make reality of his own project – musical "Dracula". Dupont- Hebert introduced Bruno to Richard Ouzounian, who was quite experienced in work on such musicals on Broadway, and together they started creating a script, based on the Bram Stocker’s "Dracula", the worldwide bestseller.

Scene of musical "Dracula – Between Love And Death" ("Dracula - Entre l’amour et la mort") takes place between the 15th and the 21st centuries. Prince-warrior, doomed to the eternal suffering because of his lost beloved, rushes through the centuries in order to find his Elhemina and for the sake of this commits horrible villainies. In 2050 the earl of the night meets a pin-up activist- altermondialist in whom he recognizes his wife, the woman who conferred him immortality 500 years ago… Being redoubtable and martial before, now he was the prisoner of eternity he had chosen loving a woman. He has sworn to gain his lost love through the centuries. The earl will never back down his pursuit at the same time discovering somewhat different conception of a human and evil.

Roger Tabra, a famous Quebec poet, the author of many hits and texts for Eric Lapointe and Dan Bigras, took up writing the libretto. The music was written by Simon Leclerc (earlier he worked with Pelletier on recording the arrangements for the album of Christmas songs) for the concrete singers taking into account their vocal qualities, spirits and features of the role.

Musical play "Dracula – Between Love And Death" is an original interpretation of the Stocker’s novel. It’s the story of prince-warrior, who, for the sake of love to a woman suspected to bear “devil trace”, will accept the eternal damnation only in order to be with her. After the murder of his beloved he, being lost in the abyss of despair, is strolling lonely in the eternity, zealous of blood, and is looking for the one, in the name of whom he sacrificed to everything and without whom he will never be able to gain peace.

Being a creative person who used to be an author, an art director and stage manager for himself, Bruno Pelletier has always dreamt to penetrate behind the scenes, to try himself in the role of an art director and director. But playing the part of the main hero was one of the producers’ indispensable conditions. So Pelletier loaded himself with the greater part of work. The singer admits that in fact it’s one of the greatest projects in his life and it’s a challenge to himself. To help in bringing his ideas to life they invited a noted Ukrainian director Grygoriy Hladii who has been living in Montreal for a long time (staging "Hysteria", "Idiot", movies "Ugly Swans", "Running Home" and others).

In spring 2004 the first castings took place and the long process of looking-for the performers began. At last to perform five main characters there were invited: young Quebec singers Andree Watters (Elhemina, Mina) and Gabrielle Destroismaisons (Lucy), chansonier Daniel Boucher (Renfield ) and quite experienced and famous singers Sylvain Cossette (Jonathan) and Pierre Flynn (Van Helsing). Moreover Bridgitte Marchand, Elyzabeth Diaga and Rita Tabbakh played the roles of tempting vampires, Dracula’s companions. "Dracula" is one of the infrequent plays done entirely by Quebeckers.

So, in September 2005 the rehearsals started and on January 31 2006 Montreal saw the Prince of Shadows in all his magnificence. The play contains more than 30 compositions: from passionate tango "Mysterieux personage" ("Mysterious personage") to lyrical "Mina" ("Mina") and philosophic thought about the destiny of the world "Nous sommes ce que nous sommes" ("We are what we are"). One of the distinctive features of the play are dimensioned two-leveled still, which fill the scene but at the same time they allow to walk easily; a platform that transforms into plenty of facilities, different images that appear on the screens placed everywhere (in the background, on the drop-curtain, in the frames, on the still).

During the performance to the music, which was recorded beforehand, they added two musicians – a guitarist and a piano man, who play live on the scene. Some songs were performed in Ukrainian, for example "Sloe in Blossom" as well as phrases "love and death", "my love" and different spells. All these gave quite an exotic shade to the performance.

Also we should pay attention to the original costumes and especially to Dracula’s dress. Costume designer Jean Fili decided to go off the black colour and made a choice in favour of genuine leather. This gave the hero some wild sensuality. The costumes of Elhemina and vampires were made in the same technique.

After the first night the performance received quite favourable critics’ reviews. Despite of that the still were called "overladen" and the intrigue they considered to be not clear enough, all admitted the perfect acting of the singers. For some of them that was the first experience of stage work, but all of them showed excellent vocal training, good choice of songs and arrangements. Bruno Pelletier admitted that some moments needed perfection, but only in the process of every day performing the play could become perfect.

As for the main hero the critics had undivided opinion: "Playing the main role Bruno Pelletier has surpassed himself. He has never been so possessed by the personage, has never been so persuasive in his performance. He perfectly controls his body and gestures and he completely disappears in order to give place to his hero – tempting, sexual and unsettling at the same time. Pelletier shows to public something more than just a beautiful voice: he is royally handsome."

The goal of the creators was not just to show the modern story, but the history of the modern world. And that’s great positive moment of Quebec Dracula: the message referred to the world we destroy with our own hands, to wars that constantly continue, to the religion dragged in the mire, to self-destruction which has become the style of life, to future, which is under the threat… and to the necessity to fight for what you believe in, not losing your heart and personality.

For the period less than a year the performance went on a tour over the whole French speaking Canada and in January, 2008 the troupe of "Dracula" went to Lyon (France) to present there 10 performances at the theatre "Maison de la Danse". The musical has joined admirers from more, than 20 countries of the Europe and whole world and it has received positive responses of critics. The Canadian version of the performance recorded in autumn of 2006, was released on DVD in 2008.

"Dracula – Between Love And Death" is a high-quality performance, which has united many talented people. It deserves respect for the attempt to rise over the popular myth and to have a look at the mankind with the eyes of an immortal.

Characters

Dracula, Count Vlad Tzepes: vampire-philosopher, cruel and ready for everything to gain his purpose.

Elhemina: the queen of vampires, Dracula’s wife who conferred him immortality.

Mina: altermondialist, the activist from the future.

Jonathan: journalist, Mina’s fiance.

Van Helsing: doctor, scientist, who believes in God, he goes to Eastern Europe with the humanitarian mission.

Lucy: Van Helsing’s daughter, a young girl who’s spent most of her life under her father’s vigilant surveillance. She is credulous and doesn’t know the life.

Renfield: photographer – cameraman, lunatic, drug addict, easily falls under Dracula’s influence.

Vampires: sexual and tempting, but incredibly dangerous creatures, who follow Dracula everywhere.