The ballet opens in Castle Dracula with one of the alluring Brides of Dracula escorting an already unsettled Renfield to his fate. Thousands of miles away there is a tearful goodbye between Jonathan Harker and his soon-to-be wife, Mina Murray. Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English solicitor, is journeying by train from England to Count Dracula’s crumbling, remote castle situated in the Carpathian Mountains on the border of Transylvania. The purpose of his mission is to provide legal support to Dracula for a real estate transaction. Once there he quickly discovers that he has become a prisoner in the castle.
Lucy Westenra, Mina‘s best friend, is the subject of much gossip at a winter garden party. She is a vivacious character who receives several proposals from hopeful suitors. The party does not last long as an unusual storm rolls in bringing with it Dracula himself. He finds Lucy to be full of life and is instantly drawn to her. He places his claim and here is where all fates converge.
The story does not end here, but intrigue and surprises are better left unsaid. Dracula is full of beauty and magic even in its darkest moments. Let us put a spell on you. Witness the drama and horror that is sure to unfold in Dracula, a ballet to die for.
Musically Dracula is thematically one of Feeney’s most highly structured works. The prologue that opens the ballet, beginning with a pulse, a half-heartbeat, that was originally designed to be soft, soon introduces the sinister leitmotif, and it is this leitmotif that permeates virtually everything in the score, even when the music does not have a disturbing quality. It is as if Dracula is always around, unseen and evil, a presence from which it is impossible to hide. This tight thematic integration creates a very specific harmonic and melodic language that gives the score its unique feel and an overriding sense of uniformity. The tonal organization is also taut – of all Feeney’s ballets, it is in Dracula that the key structure is most strictly ordered, designed to support and reinforce the dramatic narrative. (More information about the composer.)
By: Philip Feeney
Performed by: Pauline Thulborn, Opera North Chorus, Northern Ballet Theatre Orchestra, John Pryce-Jones,
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
Musings from the Choreographer
I set out to choreograph Dracula in 2009 and I remember approaching our founding Artistic Director, Kitty Seale with the idea all wrapped up in a little notebook complete with a mood board as well as Feeney's riveting score. The most major setback originally was the number of men required which would mean copious amounts of guest artists and to be frank not economically viable in terms of allowing our own dancers to take to the stage. My pitch was simple. I would deviate from traditional tellings of the story and resort to focusing primarily on the two female leads Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray. They are the heart and foundation of my ballet and the emotional heartstrings of which we encounter evil in its most animalistic form. I had the opportunity to study Dracula in a Gothic Horror college literature course and one of the things that stuck with me as I was creating the ballet was that it's a story of evil triumphing over good -- but most importantly it is a story about women and the power they possess when faced against impossible odds.
- Sara Elyse Sanford
LISTEN TO THEM,
the children of the night.
WHAT MUSIC THEY MAKE!
BRAM STOKER, DRACULA
HOMETOWN HEROES PERFORMANCE
The Alabama Dance Theatre is offering a free performance on Thursday, October 27th at 7:00 pm free for Military, First Responder, Healthcare Providers, and Educators. Bring your whole family and a valid ID. No reservation required. Doors open at 6:00 pm.