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Stage adaptations of “Castafiore Emerald” and “Prisoners of the Sun”?

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#1 · Posted: 27 Jun 2004 00:00 · Edited by: jock123
Did anyone here get a chance to see the stage adaptations of “Castafiore Emerald” or “Prisoners of the Sun” done on the continent a few years back?

I have a copy of the soundtrack to “Prisoners”, and it is quite tuneful, and pictures and video-clips of the show on the official site looked quite lavish. There seemed to be some hope at the time of mounting an English version, but it appears to have come to naught.

The Castafiore show I know nothing about. Any information appreciated!
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#2 · Posted: 27 Jun 2004 13:37
I was seriously impressed by the CD of the "Prisoners of the Sun" musical - as an amateur musician myself, full credit to Dirk Brossé for his superb work. I really hope it gets to the UK and beyond, though having heard that Moulinsart are going to court because of the non-event of its Paris opening, I suppose it won't be for a very long time, if at all.

#3 · Posted: 27 Jun 2004 20:12
I know around the time I lived in Europe (2000-01) there was a Tintin musical going on in Belgium in both French and Flemish. Is this the same thing?
#4 · Posted: 27 Jun 2004 23:56 · Edited by: jock123
The “Prisoners of the Sun” one is the Flemish/ French one; it ran in Anvers and Charleroi in 2001. The “Castafiore” one I know less about, but I think it might have been Geneva.

I agree Ed that the “Prisoners” score is impressive (actually there are separate albums for each of the languages, and at least one promo single CD). You can still see the official site at www.musicalkuifje.com

The thing about there being legal problems is news to me; is that the run that the site says was going to be in late 2003?
#5 · Posted: 28 Jun 2004 04:09
The “Castafiore” one I know less about, but I think it might have been Geneva.

That's where I was living at the time! :O It would kill me if I missed something like that, although I suspect that I'd have heard about it if it was going on while I was there...
#6 · Posted: 28 Jun 2004 14:13
Did a bit of digging, and found a bit of info on Tintin.com mentioning a production in Louvain earlier this year! There is a page about the show here.

I still think there might have been an earlier version; the Tintin.com piece is confusing, as it seems to suggest that the one thing missing in Tintin’s 75 years is a stage-show - and there have been at least three that I can think of...
#7 · Posted: 7 Oct 2004 16:30 · Edited by: Pelaphus
The TINTIN musical was originally written in Dutch, by Dirk Brosse (composer), Seth Gaaikema (lyricist and co-librettist) and Frank Von Laecke (co-librettist and director). [Of the trio, Brosse is the Belgian.] It premiered in the Netherlands as KUIFJE: DE ZONNETEMPEL for a limited run (hit shows outside of Broadway and London rarely "sit down" for multiple seasons). It was successful enough that the production was taped for, and broadcast on, Netherlands television by Canal +. Unless you taped it off air, had a friend who could dub his off-air tape for you, or somehow had access to a primary source, that was your one chance to see it, for the video has never had a commercial release. (Too bad, too, because it's excellently shot and edited, in widescreen).

The score was recorded by the original cast, I suspect PRIOR to the opening, to be used as an advance marketing tool; the evidence for this is that there are differences between the recording and stage versions of certain numbers and curious omissions to the score as presented on CD. (Speaking as a professional musical dramatist, it's almost inevitable that the creative team would have continued work on the show subsequent to an advance recording. Even if you've workshopped and have a pretty good idea what the show is, the alchemy changes once you're in a full theatre and previewing in front of paying patrons, and you do make adjustments accordingly.)

The score was more or less simultaneously recorded by the Belgian cast, but many of them, if not most, overdubbed their vocals to (sometimes identical) pre-recorded orchestral tracks in a studio nearer to home. (The Dutch album booklet documents one recording studio; the Belgian one two.) Interestingly, while the Dutch album is released as an "Originele Cast" recording, there is no such citation on the Belgian album, which makes me suspect that at the time of recording, they weren't sure they'd have enough of a hit in the Netherlands to open in Belgium, and perhaps were unsure they'd hold onto all their Belgian principals. (However they managed to do both.)

The production transferred to Belgium (Antwerpen), in a French language adaptation, TINTIN: LE TEMPLE DU SOLEIL, penned by Didier van Cauwalaert. A few bi-lingual cast members (Tarragon, Castafiore -- and Snowy!) made the transfer as well. (Though Castafiore had an alternate and, interestingly, or perhaps out of fairness, it was the alternate who was featured in an archival, non-commercial, full-screen video. It's possible this video was intended to be used for a commercial DVD -- read on.)

The French version was then supposed to open in Paris, and there was a great deal of anticipation in the theatrical community and within Moulinsart who were among the producers, with Tabas&Co. A new theatre was being renovated, in fact, to accommodate the special effects which were terribly ambitious (especially -- or at least most impressively -- the waterfall). But in the middle of the renovation, and after a good deal of advance ticket sales, primary investors pulled out (or proved not to have the capital they claimed to have; not sure which) and the Paris opening was canceled. Huge scandal, lotta finger pointing, heads rolled, all more or less as you'd expect.

The marketing for the Paris production was to have included a two disc set: DVD of the production / CD of the album ... and as of this typing, if you go to Amazon.fr you'll see it still listed as an item not yet relesed. But the cancellation of the production proved the cancellation of the DVD.

There was, however, a Paris CD recorded and released, with the Belgian cast. Since it would otherwise have been identical to the previous French recording, half the Paris tracks feature souped up arrangements, suitable for pop airplay. The Paris album features less of the score than the two previous cast albums and I suspect it exists at all merely as a mercenary marketing tool -- an excuse for any theatre completists who already have the prior album(s) to buy one more. (Or for anyone who buys the Paris one to realize it's not the show version, and seek out its predecessor. Works retroactively too!)

For a while, and especially in the wake of the Spielberg movie deal, interest in continuing with the musical left a bad taste at Moulinsart and was dropped ... but recently there have been talks of reviving the Dutch version in Rotterdam.

Jock, I checked out the article you link to (which seems to have been taken down since), and while I don't have anything near fluent French, I gleaned what I could and then supplemented that with my browser's quick-and-dirty translator ... and to the best of my reckoning, you were not reading about a production of the musical, but rather the anticipated opening of a Tintin museum (musee), for which Louvain is indeed the site. (In French, musical is, guess what, "musical.")
#8 · Posted: 9 Oct 2004 22:48
the best of my reckoning, you were not reading about a production of the musical, but rather the anticipated opening of a Tintin museum (musee), for which Louvain is indeed the site. (In French, musical is, guess what, "musical.")

Sorry, Pelaphus, but I can tell the difference between a museum and a musical, even in French. If you had done a little further digging, you would have found (I did just now by pumping “Castafiore” and “Louvain” into a search-engine) many references to the “Castafiore” production, such as this one.
#9 · Posted: 10 Oct 2004 00:36 · Edited by: Pelaphus
Ahhh. Well, sorry for underestimating your perception, Jock, but anent Louvain, as the man says in THE WIZARD OF OZ, that's a horse of a different color.

The CASTAFIORE stage production was a straight play adaptation, not a musical -- what it seems to have had in common with the musical is that it is also a spectacle. And indeed what you found seems to be evidence of a revival (or perhaps more accurately a remounting of a production in the repertory of ADAC, the Belgian theatre company that produced the show), for I read about this production several seasons ago.

I took your advice, did some digging and lifted this from the ADAC website:

"The adventures of Tintin on stage! The Théâtre Am Stram Gram, a venerable institution for children and adults alike, has successfully pulled off the improbable feat of staging the famed Castafiore Emerald. This faithful and intelligent adaptation of Hergé’s album brings together 20 talented actors, including the highly expressive Kathia Marquis in the role of the Diva. Intriguingly, although Tintin, Captain Haddock and Calculus are flesh and blood, Milou looks rather puppet-like. In addition to the remarkable interpretation, no detail has been left to chance: the stage design is beautiful (a single location has been opted for - the staircase of Marlinspike Hall), the costumes and make-up are magical, a massive array of stage equipment is used, involving nearly 400 forms of special effects with sound and lighting. The result is a piece of high theatre which should delight Tintin fans aged 7 to 77. "

Insofar as the musical, my sources of information are primary, rather than journalistic reports (and as indicated I'm loaded up with electronic and print documentation) and the history and disposition of the musical known as KUIFJE: DE ZONNETEMPEL and TINTIN: LE TEMPLE DU SOLEIL is precisely as described in my previous post. (But I will add, what may possibly cause some degree of confusion between the two shows among Tintinologists observing the Belgian theatre scene from way afar, is that the musical INTERPOLATED a plot point from CASTAFIORE ENERALD [the diva inviting herself to Marlinspike] in order to make Castafiore a more prominent role than it is in the original CRYSTAL/PRISONERS tale; thus making her the one female lead in the show and giving the score somewhat more vocal variety.)
#10 · Posted: 10 Oct 2004 10:44 · Edited by: jock123
I would point out that you are the person who said I said it was a musical; my posts clearly state I knew nothing about it - I never said it was a musical… That was the sort of thing I was trying to find out.

My feeling would have been that it was a musical - I think the poster showed Castafiore in full flight of song with Wagner at the piano - and now I know that it wasn’t, thank you, but there is really no need to get on such a high horse about things around here - take a deep breath and relax!

The group is quite fun and casual, and will be glad of your input (which is obviously well researched), and even corrections of other people’s mis-apprehensions, but is there need to batter them home with such force? Perhaps adopting a slightly less pedantic writing style when responding might help?

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