Nosferatu: Angela Fantine Wan’s ‘Ein Leben Mehr’ in Musical Theatre

    “Nosferatu” is a musical adapted by Fantine Musical Studio, based on Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel “Dracula”. Dracula, the most famous vampire globally, is inspired by Vlad III, a historical figure known as Dracula, meaning “Son of the Dragon”. In the novel, he is also a Transylvanian nobleman who claims descent from Attila the Hun, residing as a count in a castle in the Carpathian Mountains.

    Unlike the traditional vampires in folklore, Dracula is handsome and possesses a gentlemanly charm, often surrounded by three beautiful vampire brides. As a vampire, he has many different supernatural abilities: he can levitate and fly, use hypnosis, telepathy, and illusions; control the actions of animals such as rats, owls, bats, moths, foxes, and wolves; manipulate the weather to create storms and mists; and he can change his form at will into a bat, werewolf, and mist.

    The musical “Nosferatu” tells the story of Abraham Van Helsing leading a team of vampire hunters, including Quincy, Jack, and Arthur, in a relentless search for Dracula throughout London, striving to extinguish the vampire menace. The tale is filled with the entanglement of good and evil, love and hate. “Nosferatu” is a musical that reveals the theme of love through the passions and conflicts between Dracula and Mina, Salina, and the vampire brides, showcasing that love is about sacrifice and fulfilment, following and companionship, and a promise that spans four hundred years.

    Angela Fantine Wan stars as the lead actress in the musical, playing both the roles of Mina and Salina. These two characters are depicted in the work as women of strikingly similar appearance, with the same hair, eyes, and red lips. Four hundred years ago, Dracula’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, chose to die for love upon hearing the false rumours of Dracula’s death in battle, and she was reincarnated as Mina. Over four hundred years, Salina, Dracula’s maid and a clairvoyant witch, was commanded by Dracula to use a crystal ball to locate his reincarnated wife. Dracula’s undying love was for Mina, while Salina loved Dracula so deeply that she, along with her sister Rosanna, became immortal vampires; Rosanna was Van Helsing’s lover. Upon discovering that his lover had become a vampire, Van Helsing was devastated and personally beheaded Rosanna, which led to a vendetta between him and Salina.

    Although Mina and Salina have identical appearances in the script, their personalities are vastly different. Mina is a traditional British lady, composed and dignified; Salina, as an exotic clairvoyant witch, exudes a strong foreign charm, possessing a stunningly beautiful aura, prideful and sorrowful. The singing styles of the two characters also differ greatly, with Mina employing a musical theatre technique, while Salina’s approach is closer to traditional operatic singing. The task of playing both roles poses significant challenges for the actor, both in terms of crafting the stage personas and mastering the vocal techniques required for each character. Despite such challenges, Angela chose to audition for both roles in order to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, the original characteristic of strikingly similar appearances of the two characters.

    Angela is a seasoned actress with over ten years of performance experience, and her vocal skills span both popular and operatic singing styles. Her works include “The Diva Dance”, “Miss Saigon”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Les Misérables”, “Jekyll & Hyde”, and others. Based on the public performances, Angela’s portrayal has been satisfying, as she fully embodies the two distinct states on stage, effectively conveying the different destinies of love and being loved. Mina chooses to die for love following Dracula’s death, while Salina, upon realising that Dracula has ultimately chosen Mina over her, becomes despondent and decisively ends her own life. Mina’s love affair with Dracula spans four hundred years; Salina, on the other hand, lives and dies for love, with her entire existence revolving around Dracula. When rejected, she resolutely shatters the crystal ball and chooses death. In death, their love for Dracula becomes eternal, converging on the same endpoint despite their different paths.

    Angela is adept at bright coloratura, and her agile and ornate high notes are unforgettable to the audience. This vibrant vocal line further accentuates Salina’s stunning beauty, expressing her joy at Dracula’s arrival and her despair at being abandoned with great depth, allowing the audience to empathise deeply with Salina’s tragic fate.

    Angela excels at seeking empathy from the minutiae of life, igniting inspiration, a quality essential for an actor. It is through the experience of these details that she captures the state of performance, striving for a natural expression. She firmly believes that any natural performance stems from physiological impulses, and actions should align with logically normal motives. Therefore, her acting style is plain, natural, and captivating. She is always emotive on stage, with multiple phases of understanding and grasp of her characters. Angela integrates her own experiences into her roles, making each character she portrays fresh, vibrant, and unique. It is for this reason that her interactions with fellow actors are always natural and chemically reactive, making the entire performance more vivid and real. Whether through song or body language, Angela can effectively convey the emotions of her character. Her every smile and every tear seem to directly touch the audience’s heartstrings, a capability that stands as one of her most precious qualities as a dramatic artist.

    From a young age, Angela displayed a tremendous talent for music and drama. She started learning dance at the age of 5, often being singled out by teachers for individual training. At the age of 8, she became a sensation in her school with her dance performances as the Rabbit Spirit in “Journey to the West” with “The Girl from Tianzhu” and the Dai dance “The Golden Peacock”, making the Rabbit Spirit a nickname for Angela at that time. By the age of 14, she had taught herself to read music scores, showing a great interest in vocal performance. Despite facing the pressure of study, she believed that a life without music was incomplete. Holding a music score in her hands was her greatest happiness. Thus, she began systematic study of vocal music, including voice training, sight-reading, and refining her work, which became part of her daily life.

    During her university years, Angela developed a profound interest in musical culture, especially in Western music, drama, opera, and musical theatre. As a result, she travelled to many different cities, absorbing the historical and cultural backgrounds behind each one to enrich her every performance piece. In 2007, she was admitted to Central China Normal University’s Master’s programme in Music Performance as the top candidate nationwide in vocal music, both in her subject and overall. During her studies, she actively participated in various opera and musical theatre productions. In 2011, Angela graduated and began an 8-year-long stage performance career, appearing on various concert stages. By 2018, before founding Fantine Studio, Angela had already performed selections from 60 operas.

    In 2018, Fantine Musical Studio was established, consisting of two brands: (1) Fantine Musical Theatre Studio, which focuses on the production and public performance of plays, as well as the training of actors, and (2) Fantine Children’s Musical Theatre Workshop, an institution for learning musical theatre performance and actor reserve, offering systematic courses in vocal music, dance, script, foreign languages, and drama performance for youth and children. During its operation, Fantine Musical Studio has cultivated countless musical theatre actors who have made remarkable achievements in the field of musical theatre.

    Angela’s entrepreneurial journey was challenging, and she could not have done it without the support of friends in the industry. She seemed to be favoured by fortune, always encountering the right people at the right time to encourage and assist her in her career. In the early stages of Fantine Studio’s establishment, it benefited greatly from the support of her first leading partner. With limited experience in troupe management, they faced a variety of issues. This leading man helped her professionally to complete works and managed various affairs within the team. They were the most loyal comrades. Under their leadership, the studio completed productions of “Miss Saigon”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Les Misérables”, and “Jekyll & Hyde.” Later, due to divergent paths in their development, they decided to part ways and pursue their own dreams. Initially, the entire team faced significant risks, and changes in management led to internal turmoil. Angela was aware that she could not fall; she had to bounce back from any setback and not let it shake the team’s foundation. “Nosferatu” represented a sort of rebirth because, like Dracula, Angela needed new life, new vitality. So, in the autumn of 2022, Angela found her next leading partner, whose professional skills were solid. In Angela’s words: “His voice pulled me out of the mire.” “Nosferatu” not only tells the story of Dracula but also Angela’s own story. This leading man showed Angela respect and care, and his personality also possessed a dedication to the craft. He would tell Angela, “Mina, from now on, you can only love me. Your heart can only belong to me. I am the real Dracula.”

    Angela’s career has been filled with misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and even malicious harm. However, adversity often makes a person stronger. Angela frequently tells her students that if they wish to embark on entrepreneurship, they cannot avoid any of the pitfalls she has encountered. Yet, she emphasises that these difficulties are not insurmountable. “If your heart is big enough, your problems will seem smaller,” she often says. She believes that everyone’s character is expanded through adversity, and once all grievances are let go, one will realise that the present moment is the most beautiful of all. Throughout her journey, Angela’s mindset has become increasingly open and forgiving as her career has progressed.

    Throughout Angela’s decades of acting career, we have seen a high level of dedication from actors. Mainly reflected in two aspects:

    Tireless pursuit of vocal technology. Angela’s vocal technical prowess is unquestionable. She possesses dark music, precise pitch and breath control. A vocal range that spans three octaves allows her to handle a wide range of roles. Especially her treble, vibrato can be soft, or it can be unquestionable. The theme song “Phantom of the Opera” in this work “Phantom of the Opera” is one of her masterpieces. Her excellent chest voice and head voice mixing It makes the song line more stable, and the final High E is perfect. Her vocal technique can also control shocking music styles, from soprano in academic vocal music in classical music to rock and jazz in pop music, each style has shaped With her different understanding of songs and unique charm, she constantly breaks through herself in vocal technology, explores new areas, and triggers endless surprises and touches.

    Dedicated practice in performance: Angela Fantine Wan’s portrayal of Mina and Salina in the musical ‘Nosferatu’ is nothing short of mesmerising. Her ability to switch between the two contrasting characters with such precision and emotional depth is a testament to her exceptional talent. Her performance stands out as one of the highlights of the production, capturing the audience’s attention with her vocal range and dramatic presence. The duality she brings to her roles, from the composed and dignified Mina to the exotic and enigmatic Salina, showcases her versatility and command over both vocal and dramatic elements. This performance solidifies her status as a formidable presence in the world of musical theatre. Angela’s stage presence is undeniable, and her performance in ‘Nosferatu’ is a shining example of her talent and versatility. This production is elevated by her outstanding contributions, making it a memorable and impactful experience for the audience.

    At the beginning of 2024, Angela arrived in the United Kingdom to continue exploring new possibilities. She subsequently won nine awards from international competitions in five European countries. Among these were the Diamond Award in the Musical Theatre category and the Platinum Award in the Academic Vocal category at the Beethoven Che International Music Competition in the UK, as well as the First Prize in the Professional Vocal category at the UK International Music Competition, and she became a member of the honorary jury for the FMVDC Russian Genius. Angela continues to diligently cultivate her path in performance, contributing her strength to cultural endeavours with her inclusive feminine spirit, steadfastness, and belief in the pursuit of art.

    Review

    The musical “Nosferatu”, adapted by Fantine Musical Studio, is a brilliant reimagining of Bram Stoker’s classic “Dracula”. The production breathes new life into the story, maintaining a perfect balance between homage to the original and innovative reinterpretation.

    Angela Fantine Wan’s portrayal of both Mina and Salina is truly mesmerising and stands as the highlight of the production. Her ability to switch between the two contrasting characters with such precision and emotional depth is a testament to her exceptional talent. Mina’s composed and dignified nature contrasts sharply with Salina’s exotic and enigmatic presence, showcasing Wan’s versatility and command over both vocal and dramatic elements. Her performance captures the audience’s attention, bringing these characters to life in a way that is both captivating and profound.

    “Nosferatu” is a bold and successful adaptation that showcases the exceptional talent of Angela Fantine Wan and the creative vision of Fantine Musical Studio. The narrative of “Nosferatu” effectively weaves themes of good and evil, love and hate, creating a compelling storyline that keeps the audience engaged from beginning to end. The scenes between Dracula and Mina are rich with emotional tension and thematic depth, exploring the complexities of love and sacrifice. The subplot involving Abraham Van Helsing and his team of vampire hunters adds an exciting dynamic to the story, enhancing the overall experience. The musical offers a compelling and emotionally charged experience that reflects the enduring allure of Dracula’s story.

    The production’s set design and costumes are visually stunning, effectively creating the gothic atmosphere essential to the story. The use of lighting and sound enhances the eerie ambiance, making the dramatic scenes truly gripping. These elements work together seamlessly to immerse the audience in the world of Dracula, adding depth and richness to the performance. It is a memorable and impactful production that leaves a lasting impression on its audience, solidifying Angela’s status as a formidable presence in the world of musical theatre.

    Angela’s extensive experience and dedication to her craft are evident in her performance. Her vocal range and technical prowess are remarkable, with her agile and ornate high notes adding a layer of beauty and tragedy to Salina’s character. Her ability to convey deep emotions through both song and body language is a rare and precious quality, making her performance both touching and unforgettable.

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