When the Royal Swedish Opera announced their “Night of the Vampires” dress rehearsal event on Facebook on 15 September, it became clear that there is a major popular culture interest in vampires. In the invitation people were asked to “come dressed to match you most beautiful inner vampire” – in only a few hours every seat had been booked.
The world premiere of Dracula at the Swedish Royal Opera will take place on 28 October, but two days before, for the dress, 1,000 vampires will emerge from their dungeons and take over the opera house.
Director Linus Fellbom says,
This great interest is particularly satisfying and pleasing to me as romantic horror is very close to my heart, but it’s a little intimidating to admit vampyrists on the first night. I hope they will not be disappointed.
The vampires will be watching an opera based on Bram Stoker’s novel from 1897 in which Mina’s secure life changes for ever when she falls in love with a mysterious man. Music is by Victoria Borisova-Ollas and the artistic production team – director and lighting designer Linus Fellbom and set designer Dan Potra as well as composer Karen Kamensek – have created a production full of special effects, romantic horror, Victorian fashion, magnificent choirs, broken hearts, revenge and blood.
The head of Royal Swedish Opera, Birgitta Svendén, notes,
We experience the same mystique and allure that surrounded vampires and monsters in the 19th century through our own popular culture, so we decided to push the boundaries and create a performance that brings together the magic of the theatre, technology and great music.
It will be one of the most technically advanced performances ever produced at the Royal Swedish Opera, and our costume, stage set and makeup workshops have been working hard to achieve all the special effects.
During the dress rehearsal on 26 October, projected images will transform the opera house into Dracula’s castle to make the visiting vampires feel at home.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.