Written by: Beverly Tan (19-E3)
Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)
Performed for over 140 million people in 35 countries, The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most successful musicals produced of all time. BASE Entertainment brought this renowned musical to our shores from 24 April to 8 June, and on 18 May, I watched this production with my classmates as part of our Aesthetics Concert Experience (ACE).
The Phantom of the Opera musical is adapted from a novel of the same name by French author, Gaston Leroux. A mysterious figure, known as the Phantom, takes a young soprano, Christine Daae, under his tutelage. The Phantom’s obsession with Christine snowballs into jealousy, causing the eventually horrific happenings in the Paris Opera House, to the abject horror of the staff of the opera house.
(A) Theatrical Effects
Despite the constraints of performing on a much smaller stage, the production fully utilised the space to perform. Due to the size of the stage, some memorable effects in other productions could not be used, such as the infamous chandelier crash. Nevertheless, the props used were intricately designed and one could tell that the set designers put in a lot of effort into their work. The lighting was more than appropriate and enhanced many of the scenes, like the Phantom’s eerie lair and the roof of the opera house.
The characters generally had very good chemistry, especially Raoul and Christine. Raoul, Christine’s childhood friend and later fiance, is usually written off by many viewers as a bland character, who’s got it all as a rich, good-for-nothing aristocrat. Surprisingly, in this production, Raoul is a much more believable character and his chemistry with Christine in “All I Ask Of You” is palpable. Kudos to Matt Leisy! Jonathan Roxmouth’s performance as the Phantom was mesmerising. His rendition of “Music of the Night” was amazing, perhaps even comparable to renowned interpretations by Michael Crawford. The performer whom I think should be given the most credit is Meghan Picerno, who portrayed Christine. Christine’s songs are a challenge for most singers because the notes are not only high but also sustained. Picerno manages to hit these notes without sounding flat most of the time, which is a mean feat for a singer. As a viewer in the 21st century, I found the Phantom of the Opera problematic in the way women were depicted, particularly Christine who was shown to be very submissive to the men around her, particularly the Phantom. However, Picerno’s Christine is a character with a lot of willpower and bravery, indeed much more so, compared to previous portrayals. Detractors who prefer a more naive and innocent portrayal or Christine may not have liked this slightly different interpretation.
One word: enthralling. Just like previous productions, this performance did not fail to captivate our hearts and minds. The opening theme was highly effective in foreshadowing and conveying the mysteriousness and grandeur of the Paris Opera House. Hit songs like ‘All I ask of You’, ‘Think of Me’ and ‘Masquerade’ were performed with much gusto, revealing the chemistry the cast had. The orchestra and performers certainly lived up to the high standards set by previous Phantom productions.
(D) Other Eunoians’ Reviews
“It was a very memorable experience as the actors and actresses conveyed the emotions of the songs fully and their vocals were very mesmerising throughout the play. My favourite part is the opening scene as the unexpected glowing of the chandelier, accompanied by the theme song, really set the mood for the entire play” – Kaethe Fok, 19-E3
“It was a good production, but we couldn’t see much from where we were sitting. Facial expressions weren’t visible from the back, but the production was dynamic. Props and backstage crew were good, taking little time to change set. The use of lighting was creative and value-added to the story.” – Roan Ng, 19-E3
To sum it up, BASE Entertainment’s The Phantom of the Opera was worth the money spent and I highly recommend it. Shoutout to my class, 19-E3, for accompanying me to watch the musical. It was a blast! Lastly, thank you to Roan and Kaethe for the reviews.