Tag Archives: the phantom of the opera

A Review of The Phantom of the Opera The Musical*

3 Jan

London has been haunted by the same ghost for 24 years. The ghost brings about love, hatred, mystery, memory and murder, together with an extravaganza for eyes and ears. It is a ghost of opera.

Inner decorations of Her Majesty's Theatre

The London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece The Phantom of the Opera

just celebrated its 10,000th performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 23 October.

It puts a spell on spectators and drives them addicted, making itself easily stand out from other musical feasts in the West End.

Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, the musical tells a story of a “phantom” (John Owen-Jones), who lives secretly at the Paris Opera House and teaches the chorus girl Christine Daaé (Sofia Escobar) to sing.  The “phantom” falls in love with his student and becomes jealous after discovering Christine’s secret engagement with Raoul (Will Barrat). The two love enemies go into a collision.

The story itself contains almost every factor that a good love story should have, but its charm can be found beyond just story.

Gillian Lynne’s staging design and choreography can easily re-define the senses of luxury and exquisite. Her talent is fully displayed in the second-to-none piece “Masquerade”, where a huge staircase winds from the floor to the air, creating a 3-D stage for massive characters to show off. A mysterious milieu is delicately woven with a glimmering surface.

The music by Andrew Lloyd Webber is another brand of this glamorous musical. It very successfully combines emotions with the story. Single pieces from the musical have also become hits. Even days after the performance, you can still be obsessed with the melody of famous songs such as “Think of Me”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Music of the Night” and “All I Ask of You”.

It can be easily put together with other works of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Although it is not as deep as Cats psychologically, not as related to the reality as Evita, it is still worth recommending to people who are passionate about love stories and good music.

The London production of The Phantom of the Opera is now on show at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4QL. Tickets from £20. For more information, please visit the official website: http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/london/.

*This is a work I did for the Portfolio, an assignment for the MA Journaism (International) course at the University of Westminster

My 2nd and The Phantom’s 9,999th

23 Oct

You will need many reasons to see a musical, but you need even more to see it twice. You may like the story, bursting into tears when the Phantom screams “Christine”; you may fancy the music, letting the master composer Andrew Lloyd Webber bring you the sound of Muses. Or it can be really simple, you just love it.

1.

Two years ago when I was an exchange student at the University of Nottingham, going to London is a huge project. Only when it was Christmas vacation could it be possible for me to take a first glance at the world’s famous capital (if you count in the curious look that I took up from the plane as the first, then this is the second).It indeed was a huge project as it really needed some intelligence to include the whole London into a 5-day trip.

I did not realize that it was a mission impossible until me and my friends were lost in mountains of information. There were just too  many to look, too many to experience. But there would still be the trip. Taking an expensive train from the centre of England to London and doing nothing will be noting but being stupid. Finally we made some hard decisions and ticked off some shiny options.

But fortunately I persuaded my friends to see The Phantom of the Opera with me. That was a correct decision.

2.

It was the the music that made me fall in love with The Phantom of the Opera. First it’s the song Think of Me, which almost grabbed my heart at the first second. The deep passion and the soft voice resonate with me every time I listened to it. Then it’s Angel of Music, All I Ask of You and soon I reached “the point of no return”.

By then I was still in the first year of my Undergraduate, allowing myself swallowed by books for the degree. The Phantom of the Opera were also rarely put on stage in China. Therefore to see the musical seemed to be to far for me then. The love became a burden.

The dream seemed to be closer when I was qualified to be an exchange student to the UK.

3.

So I traveled across the whole continent to the UK. Nottingham was a city that’s good enough for me, at least you had everything you wanted in terms of survival in a foreign country. There was also a theatre at the city centre, but sadly The Phantom could hardly come. London seemed to be the only home to him. So the distance remained an obstacle.But at least I could see the figure of him, although through a heavy frost.

Finally, finally, I could hear The Phantom calling when Christmas came. That  would mean more spare time and a trip to the Capital.

It could have been a really banal trip. Hot tourist spots like the tower bridge were visited by thousands of tourists everyday. But not everyone could be so lucky to see a dream musical. So I decided to make the trip delux by adding The Phantom of the Opera into the list of must-do in London.

4.

I could even hardly remember how I walked out of the theatre and took my way back to the hostel after I saw the musical the first time. All that I could recall was that songs were kept playing on and on.

We gave a standing over to the actors and actresses. I was amazed by their professional performance. Everything seemed so accurate and natural.

I almost cried when I heard Think of Me by my bare ear. My dream finally came true.

5.

Two years after that, I am now a journalism student at University of Westminster in London. Now I am AT the Capital. Days are still busy for me as the course pushes me towards a good journalist. Not so many travels to the central London are planned. But one thing was decided even before I visited the UK again. I must see The Phantom of the Opera again.

6.

Today it is the 9,999th time that The Phantom of the Opera is performed in London. It is also my 2nd time sitting in Her Majesty’s Theatre.

This time I spared my attention to different angles of this musical. Since I’ve participated in dramas in the Undergraduate and once even as a director, I tried to look the stage as a whole. How does the stage set? How do actors spread out when there is  a lot of them on the stage? What are other people doing when leading roles are speaking and singing? It turns out to be an interesting observation from a different angle.

What’s the same is that I am deeply moved by the story and almost cry when Think of Me is performed by Christine.

7.

Will my third attendance take place? I have no idea myself. How many reasons do I need for that to happen?

Chandelier covered by cloth. Picture copyright held by the blogger.

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