Sunday, September 2, 2012

Phantom of the Opera in Manila

Phantom of the Opera, seen by more than 130 million people is the longest running show on Broadway. It is also the highest grossing box-office show, in excess of $5.6 billion, higher than Titanic and Star Wars. Not to mention bagging 50 major theatre awards including 3 Olivier and 7 Tony Awards! No wonder Andrew Lloyd Webber was hailed as the 87th richest month in Britain in 2006 with an estimated fortune of $700 million - at that time.

What's the best part, if you still haven't heard, the international touring company is currently performing in Manila with an extended run until end of October! After watching Mamma Mia February this year, I pointed the Phantom teaser to Person A and being a fan of both the musical and the composer, he purchased tickets in March and most excited for September 1st to come. If you want to talk about classic books and music, talk to Person A. I am not much help.

Before I continue this post, please allow me to establish that I am now a fan, my jaw dropped and I cried during the show. The show exceeded my expectation! The numbers presented in the introduction will not be possible if the show which premiered in 1986 is less than awesome. 

According to the musical's official site, far beneath the majesty and splendour of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protegee Christine Daae is so strong that even her heart cannot resist. Christine is betrothed to her childhood friend Raoul and the story centers on love, passion, jealousy and deception. 

Fast Facts

1. The musical is based on Gaston Leroux's novel Le Fantome de l'Opera published 1909. I read the synopsis in Wikipedia and the story is very interesting. If you want to know the backstory of the characters, the synopsis is a good introduction.

2. In the novel, the Phantom has a name: Erik.

Pictured is Jonathan Roxmouth as the Phantom. He is the actor in the South Africa and Manila run. Photo from here.

3. The chandelier is made of 6000 beads, 3 meters wide and weighs one ton. If you remember, this chandelier is a central part in the Phantom's terrorizing of the Opera managers and actors.

This is similar to what you will see in CCP. Photo grabbed from here.

What Turned Me Into a Fan

1. The musical score is out of this world. Each note and the way it ties together is well-thought of and stirs your emotion. Live orchestra accompanies the acts. It's a spectacle in itself. My favorite are the Overture/Hannibal, Phantom of the Opera and All I Ask of You.

2. The set is fantabulous. The production team has gone all out with the props and effects used. Notice the boat, the falling chandelier and the seamless transition had my jaw-dropping. 

3. Of course, the story is romantic but is neutralized by the tragedy of the Phantom's story. I actually cried for the Phantom but in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel, the story has turned favorable for him.

4. featured 10 good reasons to watch the show. I agree that the cast is willing to meet the fans. Here's my tweet exchange with Emilie Lynn, the Christine understudy.

She's equally good. And if you fancy Gerard Butler, Jonathan sounds like him.

I had an awesome time watching Phantom of the Opera. So awesome that I spent the entire morning listening to the soundtrack. It will be hard to top this musical in terms of music and set design. We got our tickets at a discount and splurged on an Orchestra center seats. I have watched Balcony before, albeit far, it doesn't really matter, you will still get the entire theatrical experience.

Lastly, Diamond Hotel has special offers for viewers. Click here.

And with that, I welcome September feeling very cultured.

Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo
Cultural Center of the Philippines
August 25 - October 14
Tickets Priced at PhP 1820 to PhP 7280

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