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The Finnish National Ballet is set to bring a timeless horror classic to life with a unique interpretation in March 2024, as "Dracula," choreographed by Polish maestro Krzysztof Pastor, makes its grand premiere. Pastor, whose rendition first captivated audiences at the West Australian Ballet in 2018 before gracing the stages of Poland and Latvia's national ballets, draws inspiration from Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel and the Oscar-winning 1992 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Initially skeptical due to the grotesque imagery traditionally associated with the Dracula narrative, Pastor found himself immersed in Stoker's world, appreciating the room it left for imagination. His perspective shifted after viewing Coppola's film, particularly moved by Wojciech Kilar's haunting score, which forms the basis of the ballet's music, supplemented by Kilar's other cinematic and symphonic compositions.

For Pastor, "Dracula" transcends its horror roots to explore themes of love, sacrifice, longing, and perhaps jealousy, focusing on the human emotions driving the tale rather than the bloodshed. The production's design, crafted by Charles Cusick Smith and Phil R. Daniels, draws visual inspiration from the era of Stoker's publication and the mourning attire of the widowed Queen Victoria of Britain.

The ballet features dual roles for Dracula, portraying the character in his youth and older age, with Michal Krčmář, Florian Modan, Clark Eselgroth, Jun Xia, Sergei Popov, Giuseppe Martino, Johan Pakkanen, and Juntaro Coste taking on these challenging parts. The roles of Jonathan Harker and his fiancée Mina are performed by an impressive cast including Jun Xia, David Rathbun, Martin Nudo, Luciano Ghidoli, Violetta Keller, Miao Miao Liu, Zhiyao Chen, and Hye Ji Kang, with the Finnish National Opera's orchestra conducted by Patrick Fournillier.

This reinterpretation of "Dracula" promises to be a captivating blend of horror and romance, showcasing the depth of human emotions through the medium of ballet. As the Finnish National Ballet prepares to unveil this ambitious production, audiences can anticipate a performance that challenges conventional perceptions of the legendary vampire tale, emphasizing love's power over darkness.

HT

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