Rock Opera-Hamlet

Rock Opera Hamlet!

Original Work                  : William Shakespeare

Adaptation/Direction : Fuji Daisuke

with reference to Kawai Shouichirou’s New translation – Hamlet (Kadokawa Shoten Publishing)

Composer/Music Arrangement : Aoki Tomoko, Teshima Kyoko

Cast  :

Hamlet (Prince of Denmark)     ………………    Ryuu Masaki

Claudius (Present King, Hamlet’s Uncle)   ………………    Koshino Ryuu

Ophelia (Hamlet’s love, Daughter of Polonius)    ……………….   Ranno Hana

Gertrude (Queen of Denmark, Hamlet’s mother)  ……………….   Itsumine Aki

The Ghost  (Hamlet’s late father, King of Denmark) …………..  Ken Ruisu

Polonius ( Claudius’s chief counselor, Ophelia and Laertes’ father)  ……………   Ayazuki Seri

Rosencratz (Hamlet’s friend)  …………..  Toka Yurino

Guildenstern (Hamlet’s friend)  ……………..  Hozuki An

Laertes ( Son of Polonius, Ophelia’s brother) …………….   Tamaki Ryou

Horatio (Hamlet’s close friend, confidante) ……………   Uzuki Hayate

Celia (Horatio’s sister) …………..  Hanahi Mira


“Expect the unexpected” is the proper word to describe this rock-opera. Be it Takarazuka or Shakespeare, indeed this musical is very entertaining. I love Shakespeare’s works although my poor (victorian) english ability makes it difficult to understand the whole play. But Stage being stage itself, there were so many things that could express the play. This rock-musical was staged in Japanese, with more-modern translation from the original Hamlet. What I highly appreciated from Takarazuka-adaptation is the music (which I think is Takarazuka’s original composition) and the modern setting, without parting too much from Shakespeare’s beautifully phrased lines. Usually Takarazuka chose to make their own script with title “inspired by”, but this time it was almost all verbatim based on Kawai Shouichiro’s new translation of Hamlet (with a bit of cuts here and there).

I am not going to tell everything, because that will make you seem less interested on seeing the whole play. There are just some hints I will review.

First, you want to praise really high for Ryuu Masaki. She is absolutely the star. Clearly someone who is the main actor has to seal the spotlight, but she is better than that. Her rock-y voice is strong, a little bit of vibration and stable. 70% of the script were sung in this musical, and she sang most of it. Despite the fact that it is last day (I got recording from Senshuraku) her voice didn’t show sign of wearing- off. Other than voice, she could convey her Hamlet remarkably well. Despair, Anger, Confusion, Complexity, Joy, Love and feeling of betrayal. I felt that I was there beside Hamlet, not knowing what to do, feeling depressed that there was nothing I can do to make things better other than stay silent.

Second, I can’t describe detail for the rest of the cast BUT they were fantastic. My eyes set on Uzuki Hayate (Horatio). I wasn’t sure whether Horatio supposed to be that eye-catching, but Yeah this horatio is so lovable that I waited every next scene with excitement. I wanted to hear and see more of him. Horatio was Hamlet’s confidante. She portrayed it as a man whom you can put trust on and can be brake for Hamlet’s unstoppable impulsive mind. I am looking forward to see Uzuki Hayate performance in other play.

Third, I found that collaboration of serious (rather classic) dialogue, simple props, gothic nuance and rock music were divine. I gave 4 thumbs up to stage director, wardrobe, music director, producer and everyone behind the stage. They did absolutely gorgeous work.

To be or Not to be, that’s the choice.

Hamlet has chosen to be.


Tanz Der Vampire : Music Review

When musical grew up on me back on 2001, all I ever know was American Musical, Takarazuka Revue, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. I wasn’t really into European Musical, because I didn’t know (TOO BAD). However Listening to Tanz Der Vampire CD, I was immediately captured by the 1st track : Overture, and 7th track : Gott Ist Tot (Sung by Steve Barton).  The way this musical sung in German language were incomparable. Gott Ist Tot music is recycled material from Steinman’s previous work Original Sin, the lyrics was changed and it was played with orchestra, which I found it to be better version. Other song in the CD, such as Totale Finsternis, are also recycled-material of Total Eclipse of the heart(Sung by Bonnie Tyler years before Tanz Der vampire started) , but it’s no inferior than new song. Not just the melody that is killing, the voice of each actors are lovable..  I don’t understand any german but somehow I understand what they are saying through the music. The Music itself tells the story.

Jim Steinman really can make epic rock piece blended perfectly with classical theatrical music. I heard different version of Total Eclipse and Tanz Der Vampire Version was the best. It really fit into the images of dark-obsessive side of Transylvanian vampire. Nonetheless, this was probably the peak of Jim Steinman’s work on Theatre. Not to mention the gothic-poetic style of Michael Kunze’s lyrics, I had known him since Elisabeth das musikal. Slightly different type of musical, but through the words I can easily tell “ah, this is Kunze’s”. He has no difficulty in making such deep-throbbing-sometimes-gothical lyrics. In Tanz Der Vampire, the lyrics beautifully sounded Steinman’s mind. It was like they perfectly synchronized one another.

Musical songs couldn’t be completed without the amazing voice of the actors. Late Steve Barton (May he rest in peace) was the best Graff Von Krolock ever. His deep-baritone gave rich expression in his songs (Gott Ist Tot, Einladung zum ball, Die Unstillbare Gier, Totale Finsternis, Tanzsaal.. I think every song that has him in it). He immediately became one of my favorite actor. Other actors also did fantastic job on their roles. Wahrheit sung by Gernot Kranner (as Professor Abronsius) is very entertaining. Not to mention the ensemble in Ewigkeit (it means  Eternity), Knoblauch(Garlic! Hillarious song that glorifies garlic), Carpe Noctem(Seize the night), Tanzsaal (a number during the vampire ball), and Der Tanz Der Vampire (Finale). and everybody can live happily ever after … as vampire.

Once again, let us enter the world of darkness …



Gott ist tot, nach ihm wird nicht mehr gesucht (God is dead, and he is no longer sought)

Wir sind zum ewigen Leben verflucht. ( We are all cursed in an endless life caught)

Es zieht uns näher zur Sonne, doch wir fürchten das Licht (We are drawn unto the sun, but we fear the light)

Wir glauben nur Lügen, verachten Verzicht (We believe only lies, and despise the lukewarm)

Was wir nicht hassen, das lieben wir nicht (If we can’t hate it, it can not be loved)

Gott Ist Tot Akt1


Tanz Der Vampire Act 2 : Synopsis

Sarah finds herself in the castle. She wanders the halls restlessly and meets the Count (Totale Finsternis). The ruler of the vampires seizes the girl’s throat and longs to bite her, but he resists, waiting for the ball which will be held the following night.”

Alfred has a horrible nightmare (Carpe Noctem). He awakes and resolves to save Sarah. Before he can go to look for her, he has to accompany the professor to the castle’s vaults. There they discover the catafalques of the Count and his sons. On the descent into the crypt, the professor gets caught on the banister and cannot free himself. Alfred, who is already downstairs, is told to open the coffins and drive stakes through the vampires’ hearts. However, he proves to be completely unsuitable for this task.

Without having achieved anything, Alfred climbs the stairs again and frees the professor. Whilst searching for a better way into the crypt, they come across the castle library. Abronsius sees the collection of books and forgets about the vampire hunt.

There, Alfred hears Sarah singing. He follows the sound of her voice and finds Sarah in a splendid bathroom in the castle. She sits in the bath enthusing about the Count’s generosity and doesn’t listen to Alfred’s calls for her to flee with him. Eventually she expels Alfred from the bathroom because she wants to get dressed.

Alfred is desperate. His love for Sarah, however, does not falter. On the contrary, he swears to do everything for her and to give everything to her (Für Sarah).

He returns to Abronsius in the library to ask his advice. The professor is still busy with the books and as he has not thought of anything better, he advises his assistant to bury his nose in a book as well. Alfred reaches into the shelf at random and begins to read “Advice For Lovers” (Wenn Liebe in Dir ist).

Contained in there is encouraging advice for him. And when he thinks he hears Sarah’s voice again, he returns to the bathroom. Instead of Sarah, Herbert is waiting for him. Alfred tries in vain to get out of the way of the Count’s son’s advances.

While Herbert shows him how they will waltz at the ball, Alfred’s glance falls on a mirror. There he sees only himself, although Herbert is standing next to him. When the gay vampire eventually gets hold of his victim and falls on him, Professor Abronsius surprises him by diving on Herbert and hitting him with an umbrella.

Alfred and Abronsius climb the castle towers. Suddenly the vampire Count steps out. He no longer pretends to admire the Professor. Once again he orders Alfred to separate himself from Abronsius and follow him (He, Ho, Professor). He then vanishes into the night.

Looking down on the cemetery from the castle’s battlements, the professor and his assistant witness the graves opening. The undead of the past centuries push the gravestones aside and loosen their stiff limbs in order to march in a long procession to the midnight ball at the castle (Ewigkeit).

When the cemetery is empty, von Krolock appears. Lost in thought, he goes from grave to grave. He remembers the numerous sweethearts he has killed as a vampire and becomes conscious of the misery of his existence. Every time he seizes happiness, he just destroys it. The more he tries to satisfy his greed, the greater it becomes (Die unstillbare Gier).

Meanwhile, the midnight ball has begun in the castle’s ballroom. Alfred and Abronsius have dressed as vampires and mixed with the guests. Eventually von Krolock appears and opens the party with the announcement that this year there will be a rich meal (Tanzsaal).

Then he presents Sarah. He dances with her and bites her throat (Reprise: Gott ist tot / Reprise: Totale Finsternis). During the next minuet Abronsius establishes that Sarah has withstood the blood loss and is still alive. The attempt to carry her off fails when the vampires recognise the two men as mortals because their images are reflected in the mirror. Von Krolock orders the vampires to give them to him. Alfred and Abronsius make a cross out of two candelabras. Horrified, the vampires retreat.

Later, Alfred, Sarah and Abronsius hike through the winter landscape of Transylvania. When they have escaped to safety, they rest. While the professor busies himself with notes about the dangerous expedition for his scientific work, Alfred and Sarah sink into an embrace. But what seems like a happy ending is the beginning of the vampires’ world domination (Tanz der Vampire)…

Tanz Der Vampire Act 1 : Synopsis

Alfred, a young scientist, is the assistant to a cranky professor on an expedition to Transylvania. The professor, a lively old man called Abronsius, has made it his life’s work to prove the existence of vampires and to set mankind free. On the search for the castle of the vampire Count von Krolock, they got lost in deep snow in the wilderness. Half-frozen, they finally reach a lonely country village and stumble upon an inn.

There, the farmers and lumberjacks sing the praises of garlic (Knoblauch), which makes Professor Abronsius suspect that they have finally reached their destination but the village inhabitants deny that such a castle exists. In the room next door to the guestroom, to which the Jewish landlord Chagal shows the guests, is a bath in which Chagal’s beautiful daughter Sarah is bathing. For Alfred, it is love at first sight and Sarah also likes the young man.

As Sarah’s father, Chagal fears for his daughter’s innocence. To be on the safe side, he boards up her bedroom door (Eine schöne Tochter ist ein Segen). While Sarah and Alfred dream separately of each other (Nie geseh’n), Chagal creeps through the dark inn to his maid, Magda, with whom he is having an affair. Rebecca, Chagal’s resolute wife, notices that her husband has crept out of their bed. She arms herself with a salami and tries to take her revenge, but by mistake she knocks down the professor.

Finally, when everyone is asleep, a threatening shadow falls over the inn. Count von Krolock makes it clear that he has his eye on Sarah (Gott ist tot).

The next day, Professor Abronsius tries to find out what the landlord and landlady know about vampires. His investigation meets with silence. When a hunchback appears in order to get some candles, everyone becomes nervous and this makes Abronsius certain that the cripple acts as a servant for the vampire. He is determined to find out the truth. (Wahrheit).

A fierce flirtation develops between Alfred and Sarah. Sarah is against letting anyone else use the bathroom in which she passionately likes to bathe. Alfred observes her through the keyhole and witnesses Count von Krolock coming through a skylight and inviting Sarah to the annual midnight ball in his castle (Einladung zum Ball). Alfred raises the alarm so Abronsius and Chagal come quickly, but the vampire has vanished.

Later, Alfred sings an ardent song under Sarah’s window (Draußen ist Freiheit). But Sarah had left her room a while ago in order to collect a present from the Count, which the hunchback has left in the snowy garden. When she discovers Alfred, he thinks she has come down because of him. She sends Alfred inside under a pretext and opens the present. Inside is a pair of red boots. Sarah puts them on and dreams about being the admired centre of the ball (Die Roten Stiefel).

Before Alfred returns, Sarah runs away. She wants to go to the castle. Alfred’s cries wake Chagal in the house. He hurries after his daughter and leaves the desperate Rebecca behind.

The next day the lumberjacks bring the stiff, frozen corpse of Chagal into the inn. Professor Abronsius professionally establishes that the landlord may become a vampire. He suggests putting a stake through the dead heart so that Chagal does not become a member of the undead. Rebecca prevents this and chases the vampire researcher away.

In the night, Magda comes to the room in order to see Chagal and sees how thoroughly death has changed him (Tot su sein ist komisch). As she turns away, the body comes to life. Chagal seizes his maid and bites her throat. Then he lays the lifeless Magda under the cloth that had covered him. He has just enough time to hide under the table before Abronsius and Alfred return. They are about to drill through the heart under the cloth. At the last moment they notice what has happened. They find and overpower Chagal. He asks for a favour and suggests that he will lead the strangers to the castle, if they spare him.

They set off immediately. On the way, Chagal runs off, but Alfred and Professor Abronsius find the castle. They are just about to look at the splendid portal when Count von Krolock appears. He welcomes the strangers and invites them to be his guests and, to Alfred’s dismay, Abronsius accepts. The Count’s son, the gay Herbert, also appears to greet them. He is very happy to have found a playmate in Alfred.

Von Krolock sees to it that he can speak to Alfred in private and tries to lure him away from Abronsius. He calls the professor an old fool who has no idea about the wishes and needs of a young man like Alfred. Instead, von Krolock offers himself as a paternal friend (Finale erster Akt). He hints that he can lead Alfred to Sarah.

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