My Last Time at The Phantom of the Opera
I think four times is enough. Don’t you?
Andrew Lloyd Webber, that composer and impresario of musical theatre, must have been some sort of genius.
His mesmerizing and unforgettable score of Phantom of the Opera never gets old.
I’ve gone to see this play two more times in order to relive the emotions I felt while sitting through those two initial productions in my city.
That was in 2004.
That was in Toronto, Canada.
So when I had the chance to see the Phantom of the Opera at the London Haymarket Theatre last summer, I went. This was the place where it all began. The musical opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 9 October 1986 with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the lead roles.
What is the musical about?
The Phantom of the Opera is a “beauty and the beast” type of love story. A love sick man stricken with an ugly facial affliction hides beneath an opera house in 18th century Paris.
He lulls a lovely, naive, but willing and able female into believing in her talent. That she can be the best vocalist the opera house has ever seen, and without all the bitchiness shown by the currently residing diva.
Of course, the Phantom’s obsession with his protégée turns into a whole kidnapping and forcible confinement scene.
Mixed in with a little bit of stalking, bullying, and random violence against others.
However, that is not the point.
The point is the music and the theatrics.
How I feel about the musical:
With the many incarnations of the Phantom of the Opera over the last 30 years, I believe the best chemistry and the best vocalist ever, were Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman.
The two main leads in the current London musical just didn’t do it for me.
I expect a manly, almost baritone voice from the Phantom and a sweet falsetto that can break glass from his protégée. That simply wasn’t present in the Haymarket production.
I recently thought I could get my thirst quenched by going to see the new production of the Phantom in Toronto. So off I went with my girlfriend. She had seen the London production with me, so she too could have something to compare.
I will readily admit the staged Toronto production was very good.
However, the chandelier that was supposed to come plunging down at a death-defying speed, only croaked along, and stopped midway between stage and ceiling.
A blunder of epic proportions for Phantom fans.
Alas, the Phantom himself was very good. Close to what I had in mind as a manly man, and a manly voice. However, his beloved Christine was not fit enough for him! Her voice could not break glass, and she could barely hold the highest note of the entire musical!
So that’s it. Phantom of the Opera no more.
I’ll have to be content with listening to the Phantom of the Opera on MP3’s from now on. I was like an addict in search of a fix when it came to this musical.
Except the fix came at $160.00 a pop for the good seats.