· 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.")