Ballet with bite: Dracula reawakens to haunt the Queensland stage

Queensland Ballet is gearing up for the spooky season with the premiere of Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor neo-classical rendition of Dracula, merging the passionate and the grotesque against a backdrop of urban gothic landscapes.

Oct 22, 2021, updated Oct 22, 2021
Queensland Ballet's production of Dracula sold out two seasons in Western Australia before it debuts in Queensland (Image: Supplied)

Queensland Ballet's production of Dracula sold out two seasons in Western Australia before it debuts in Queensland (Image: Supplied)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was written in 1897, elevating an age of gothic storytelling and becoming one of the most adapted works in fiction.

The ballet follows Count Dracula, whose grief for his dead wife turns him into a vampire, as he meets solicitor Jonathan Harker to secure an estate in England.

Obsessed by Jonathan’s fiance Mina Harker and her likeness to his wife, Dracula imprisons Jonathan Harker and travels to London to pursue her.

QB Artistic Director Li Cunxin says this season will have audiences captivated, with sublime choreography, music, costumes and sets creating an unmissable night.

“This production of Dracula is quite unlike anything we’ve ever done before and we know audiences will be spellbound,” said Li.

“Driven by unbridled passion, Dracula unleashes a reign of terror, draining life from those around him to get what he desires.

“This gothic tale beloved by generations has been set to a dramatic musical score by Wojciech Kilar, the composer who also created the score to Francis Ford Coppola’s cult cinematic adaptation of the same name.”

Dracula is a co-production between Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet (WAB), which first premiered to sell-out audiences in 2018, quickly becoming WAB’s best-selling season of the year with two sell-out seasons following.

Artistic Director and Choreographer Krzysztof Pastor created the ballet inspired by the love story that endured with the supernatural tale.

“Honestly, I can’t say I was a great fan of vampires. I hadn’t read Bram Stoker’s novel, I didn’t see [Francis Ford] Coppola’s movie, and I was reluctant to do a commercial subject, however, that proved to be a mistake because I enjoyed creating Dracula very much,” he said in conversation with Queensland Ballet.

“I wanted to make a piece about love, basically,” he said.

“It’s about a passion which is so incredible that it hurts, it guides this Dracula to be a cruel murderer, you know?

“But on the other hand, a few hundred years later, he’s still in love with this Elizabeth and he’s so much in love that he doesn’t want her to become like him. So it’s the strength of love that is important, it’s so passionate.

“I wanted serious, beautiful duets, because it’s about love, it’s about passion, it’s about being lost in a psychotic drama.”

Queensland Ballet’s rendition of Dracula will begin at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre on 24 November and run until 4 December. 

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