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The horror classic Dracula premieres at the Finnish National Opera

Choreographer Krzysztof Pastor puts love at the front and centre of his ballet.

The world’s most famous horror story, Dracula, about the Transylvanian count, will be brought to life through dance in March 2024, as Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor’s work premieres at the Finnish National Ballet. Pastor’s choreography, which debuted with the West Australian Ballet in 2018, has also been performed in the Polish and Latvian National Ballets. The ballet draws inspiration from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula and the Oscar-winning film directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1992.

The choreographer wasn’t initially inspired by the theme of the ballet, which made him think of grotesque fangs dripping blood. ”But as I was reading the original novel, it totally swept me away. It left so much room for the imagination,” Pastor says. He made his final decision after watching Francis Ford Coppola’s film, with music composed by the Polish film composer Wojciech Kilar. The music from the film, which forms the core of the ballet score, is complemented by Kilar’s additional film and symphonic compositions.

To Pastor, Dracula is essentially a love story: “It’s a story about sacrifice, longing, and perhaps also jealousy – very human feelings. I see its central theme as love, not blood.” The set and costume designers of the ballet, Charles Cusick Smith and Phil R. Daniels, found visual inspiration in the period of Stoker’s novel and the black mourning attire worn by Britain’s widowed Queen Victoria.

The ballet divides the character of Dracula into two separate roles: Michal Krčmář, Florian Modan, Clark Eselgroth and Jun Xia will be seen as the young Dracula, while Sergei Popov, Giuseppe Martino, Johan Pakkanen and Juntaro Coste will dance the role of the old count. Jonathan Harker’s role will be interpreted by Jun Xia, David Rathbun, Martin Nudo and Luciano Ghidoli, with Violetta Keller, Miao Miao Liu, Zhiyao Chen and Hye Ji Kang as his fiancée Mina. The Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera will be conducted by Patrick Fournillier.

Krzysztof Pastor – Wojciech Kilar: Dracula
Premiere: 1 March 2024 at 7 p.m.
Additional performances: 2 to 23 March 2024