Dangerous Liaisons the Musical
"Dangerous Liaisons is a story of intrigue, of the
perilous games played between people when desires are supressed and motives concealed. The characters of the story are extreamely
passionate, yet exist in a time when passions were not to be openly expressed. What happens to a person who is denied their
passions? In Dangerous Liaisons, the characters must resort to their hidden games, games that lead to a spider web of relationships
pulled taught by unspoken tensions."
- Johnathan Daniel Steppe
"Les Liaisons Dangerouses is a classic French novel
from which several film versions and stage plays have sprung, even opera and musical theatre. Its melodramatic nature is very
operatic, and cries out to be set to music. But the nature of the story, the characters and the complexities of the plot demand
the grittier performance, faster pace and flexibilities that are afforded in a musical, that you just can't pull off as well
in pure opera. ...Ours, though classically flavored, is a large-scale,
Broadway-type show that draws from the features of both worlds, falling somewhere between musical theatre and opera."
From composer Malcolm Caluori, with libretto by Johnathan Daniel
Steppe, the high art and irresistibility of opera meet the immediacy and mass accessibility of musical theatre in a balance
perfectly struck for this widely adapted tale of sexual conquest and intrigue.
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel Les
Liaisons Dangereuses is a work poised between two worlds. On the one hand, the stature of classic literature. On the
other, a wildly popular appeal, captivating a clamoring mass audience. Its immediate popularity, scandal and overwhelming
success has since led to a proliferation of innumerable derivations in all genres. Yet, despite the novel's seductive antihero
and his wicked, domineering counterpart, its extreme emotions, brilliant comedy and high melodramatic tragedy, no opera or
musical based on the lurid classic has been itself called a classic. Until now.
A serendipitous match to this
two-worlds dichotomy, Johnathan Daniel Steppe and Malcolm Caluori bring backgrounds distinctively attuned to the classical-popular
synthesis. Caluori's dramatic instinct and skilled orchestration informs a score that parallels grand opera. But as a melodist,
and in his setting of the text of Steppe's sharp and loyal, episodic libretto, he betrays the deep affection and ties to the
musical theatre shared by both collaborators. The resulting combination brings
a vibrancy to the characters and a unique theatrical thrill to their circumstances, establishing the work as the definitive
musical dramatization of the story.
Steppe's libretto to the controversial tale is a fascinating examination
beyond the archetype, presenting complex, surprising characters that intentionally defy us to pass any casual judgment upon
them. His thoughtful drama captures the deadpan humor, subtle innuendo and biting dialogue that make Dangerous Liaisons as
entertaining as it is provocative.
For in-depth details on Dangerous Liaisons, click the links below.
Libretto, Songbook, and Complete Original Concept Recording now available in our online store.
|Click to learn more
See a preview of the exciting upcoming book, Killing Valmont, by D. Hector
Francis. More than providing an interesting look at music and lyrics, Killing Valmont properly views Dangerous Liaisons
through the lens of drama, and ushers the reader through the process that gave rise to the innovative methods employed in
"...Mr. Francis' bold yet reader-friendly look
dynamic relationships between music,
libretto, and underlying drama...[considers] the stuff
that really makes musical
drama tick. I think
even I have learned a few things
about Dangerous Liaisons."