Musical Experience: Phantom of the Opera

I really envy those of my fellow bloggers who got the media invite to watch Phantom of the Opera… because this is my favourite musical and I had since been crazy over this story ever since I have heard it when I was still a child.

Phantom of the Opera
Phantom of the Opera

Growing up reading library books on this story, listening to mp3s of the soundtrack, even watching the movie, I didn’t manage to catch the 2 shows when it played in Singapore, once at the Kallang Theatre and once at the Esplanade because I was too young and my parents do not understand and appreciate musicals.

I still remembered the late nights when Arts Central was on, there were broadway shows broadcasted on some thursdays. I had watched Cats and Les Miserable on that channel, and I was grateful that Arts Central channel existed, but I never got to watch Phantom of the Opera.
However, the story is deeply etch in my heart and I long to see the show for real.

So, when Phantom of the Opera decided to play in Singapore, I was so truly excited.
It was my own fault I didn’t booked it early, so I had to researched through ALL the available shows (like a month and a half worth) and eventually found a date which I could get the next best seats.

Phantom of the Opera tickets with the stage in the background
Seated waiting for the show to start

Frankly, although my first real broadway was Wicked, but only learning the story though a friend, the anticipation of the show wasn’t as much compared to Phantom of the Opera.

So, what did I think of the show?
To my expectation, the show truly held up to what I imagined it to be and even more.

Visually, the set was amazing, especially the way the dungeons were presented.
The iconic boat scene in the dungeons; from the boat to the movement of the candlelights, it was just perfect.

Phantom of the Opera: in the dungeons boat ride scene
Phantom of the Opera: in the dungeons boat ride scene

I love the way they maximized the stage set to the top where the Phantom makes an appearance above the ornate set frame, to the part where the gargoyle was suspended down to show the Phantom watching Raoul and Christine from a window above.

the impressive Phantom of the Opera stage set
The impressive Phantom of the Opera stage set

While there are some that got my nod, I think the chandelier was a little slow when it was lifted or came crashing down to the stage. The slow action made the chandelier seems too orchestrated (well season POTO goers will know about the chandelier). I thought it would be more impactful if the speed of the chandelier was faster.

 

Auditory, there were many flaws.

However, I must say this first, finding out that the orchestra is made up of local talents was much heartwarming because that really shows how much musical talents we have in Singapore!

On the technical side, I felt that I could only hear Carlotta when the group singing Prima Donna. The rest are like mumbling, there should be a certain focus, so you can hear each conversation. However, besides Carlotta, the rest were totally drowned out. Meg Giry’s conversation was totally silent, I could only see her mouth move. I am not sure if there are problems with the sound, but I felt that portion of chaotic conversation was totally drowned out.

There are also a few times throughout the show I hear the static noise on Christine’s mic. I’m not sure if it was generated by her dress, once when she was singing in the dungeons with the Phantom and once on the rooftop with Raoul. I even thought for once I thought I caught her trying to hold her mic, but I am not sure on that.

For singing, I felt Carlotta (Andrea Creighton) did the best. I felt Phantom (Brad Little) was trying very hard to hit the high note for music of the night on the word ‘soar’, and Christine (Claire Lyon) was the high note on ‘Think of Me’.
I understood that Christine was in the ballet and had to sing immediately after that, but I just felt the high note was much significant than the ballet chorus. I also knew someone had accidentally went off a note, (just couldn’t remember who).

While Brad Little was good, I much prefer the Phantom’s vocal to be very deep and rich. I felt that a deep bass/baritone vocal can give that longing and angst.

So far, I love Kris Phillips (费翔) interpretation of ‘Music of the night’.  I still get that jitters whenever he hits all the high notes (‘soar’ and ‘be’) and that low note of ‘of the night’. Seriously, I think it would really interesting if he starred as the Phantom himself.

I also found the performance Kris Phillips has for ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

Overall, I enjoyed the show very much.
I may be picky because I am an auditory person, because a little crackle can irk me easily; but I felt a good story is still good nevertheless all those flaws.

It is a true spectacular for the audience in terms of all the visuals, the costumes; and I personally love the scene of ‘Masquerade’ with all the burst of colours and sparkles.

My cousin who was a newbie to theatre plays was thoroughly impressed and I thought, yes, their performance did it, and made hers and my night a truly unforgettable one.

———————–

On a side note, I have also recently found out that Andrew Llyod Webber had written a sequel to Phantom of the Opera called ‘Love never dies’.

I haven’t watched that movie yet (which the play has been made into) but I did read the synopsis on Wikipedia. I felt that Love never dies has been written to be too soap drama.

Personally, adding in Gustave as the Phantom’s son, in addition to Christine dying in the end was too much. Although that would correspond to the POTO movie where a rose on placed on Christine Daae’s tombstone, I think, that was not the point at all.

If I were to write it…. I would write it this way:
Christine and Raoul were having difficult time trying to balance fame on the stage and hiding for the Phantom. However, Phantom knew their every move and knew Christine’s plight. 

Instead of coming out in the open, he secretly invited Christine to Phantasma to sing a new Opera he had composed.  While he prepared the music, he sings in the depths of the opera house; and Meg fell in love with the Phantom’s voice.
(instead of doing a striptease to impress the Phantom. AND I don’t know why Madam Giry seems to take favour in Christine than her own daughter in POTO)

When Christine saw Madam Giry, she knew immediately it was the Phantom who was behind it and while she was afraid, she was extremely grateful. 

Meg wonders into the depths of the theatre and had an interlude with the Phantom. Meg was jealous that the Phantom’s heart still longs for Christine and still loves her, but she could only hope the Phantom loves her and not Christine. Raoul was jealous that it was the Phantom behind all these, thinking the Phantom had decided yet again to capture Christine, he plots to kill the phantom.

In the attempt to kill the Phantom, Christine took the gunshot and saves the Phantom’s life.
Christine then dies in the Phantom’s arms and telling him that he always had a place in her heart. (coming back full circle to same intended ending).

This way, I think it would portray the Phantom learning to love, and someone actually loving the Phantom since Raoul has Christine, yet still an utter romantic as he just gave his all for her.
It also would not that confusing or a stark irony that Christine has chose Raoul yet still loves the Phantom???
I also think that another version of ‘All I ask of you’ where the Phantom wishes Christine all the happiness can be added in to show that the Phantom has always loved her and that his ‘love never dies’..
Inserting the character of Gustave, which just just spoils all the romantic bits.

Oh well, at least, we still have our own imagination to dream, right?


We never said our love was evergreen
Or as unchanging as the sea
But if you can still remember
Stop and think of me

One thought on “Musical Experience: Phantom of the Opera

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