1915. The Romanov rule of the Russian Empire is at the peak of it's
glory. Outside St Petersburg the army, led by Dmitri Romanov (the
nephew of the Tsar), suppress an uprising in a small town. Later
Dmitri is hosting a ball at the Winter Palace, during which he declares
his love for his cousin, Princess Irina. Irina's protestations are
interrupted by the arrival of a Holy Man begging for money. Dmitri
threatens to kill him if he does not leave. The man laughs, prophesying
that if he is killed by a Romanov the Royal family will be slaughtered
and Russia will bleed for a lifetime. He leaves and a shaken Dmitri
announces that he and Irina are to be married. Irina is horrified
as he sweeps her off to celebrate at the Aquariam Cabaret. There
the M.C. introduces the evening's entertainment -a singer of exquisite
poise and beauty. The singer entrances Dmitri. Only later, after
their first kiss, does the singer reveal "herself" to
be Prince Yusupov, the richest man in Russia and much despised by
the Romanovs for his hedonistic life-style. Dmitri is repelled and
intrigued. Some days later, the Holy Man arrives at Yusupov's palace.
He is Grigor Rasputin. Yusupov is overwhelmed by his charisma, especially
when Rasputin proves his extraordinary power by healing the Tsarina's
haemophiliac son, Alexis. Yusupov reflects on his own need for help.
Rapsutin observes that they are forever bound in the eternal cycle
of good and evil. When Yusupov is at his most vulnerable, Rasputin
leaves him -he has taken all he needs from the Prince. Yusupov now
understands what it means to be betrayed. The act ends with Yusupov
declaring his love to an astonished Irina as Rasputin manipulates
the Tsarina and begins to accent his power.
Dmitri is fighting in the trenches in WW1. After reading Irina's
letter, Dmitri longs to be killed. In St Petersburg Yusupov has
converted part of his palace into a hospital for the war-wounded.
Irina is helping him to tend the injured. As they work, they realise
how much they need each other. Dmitri is carried into the hospital,
badly wounded. Yusupov leaves to see the Tsarina to try to put a
stop to the slaughter. With Yusupov so changed, and Dmitri back
in Russia, Irina reflects on what she wants. Yusupov begs the Tsarina
to see what Rasputin is doing to Russia, but she is blinded by gratitude
for what he has done for her son. Yusupov then tells Dmitri that
to save Russia they must kill Rasputin. But Dmitri only wants to
retreat into the memory of what his world once was. While the M.C.
ironically muses on the closeness of Tsarina's relationship with
Rasputin, the people of St Petersburg are losing patience with the
system that has oppressed them for so long. Aware that time is running
out, Yusupov invites Rasputin to his palace using the one bait he
knows Rasputin cannot resist -Irina. Yusupov prepares himself for
what he believes to be his finest moral act -the Killing of Rasputin.
© Jumeira Productions