I have never been a big fan of live theatre before but just recently it has become an interest. I didn’t think that live theatre would be any better than watching the movie version but apparently, the live version is so much better. I got a chance to watch a performace of “The Phantom of the Opera” which was playing at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto. I told a few people that I was going to see it and everyone told me that it was good. Throughout the week, I looked forward to see it on stage. I saw the DVD version of it and thought that it was great. There were a few scenes that made me wonder how they were going to pull it off on stage because the effect looked difficult. The live performance didn’t let me down and I loved it!
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show in Broadway history. It is a musical based on the book by Gaston Leroux about a disfigured man who lives underneath the Opera Populaire in Paris.
The musical starts off at an auction where items from the old Opera house were being sold. Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, bids for a musical box that holds special memories for him. From there, it flashes back to twenty years earlier and the story is told of the events that occurred at the Opera house. It tells the story of the Phantom’s obsession with a young girl named Christine Daae. He has been helping Christine with her voice but Christine does not know that it is the Phantom that has been helping her. She believes that her father has sent an Angel of Music to help her out. Raoul and Christine are childhood friends and their feelings for each other start to grow. The Phantom knows about this and gets angry so he takes Christine to a secret under world hidden beneath the Opera house.
At first, the story line did not catch my attention. All I knew at the time was that the show was about a guy in a white mask. I didn’t see any fighting or action scenes so I thought nothing of it. But a while ago, my girlfriend sang a song to me which sounded really good. I asked her where it was from and she told me that it was from the Phantom of the Opera. I went on YouTube to find the music video for the song and saw that the movie actually looked interesting.
I watched the DVD version of the musical and was intrigue. Knowing that the movie can be performed on stage made me wonder how they were going to achieve the effects that the achieved in the movie. So when I went to Toronto to watch the musical live on stage, I had my eyes peeled for as much detail as I possibly could. I thought that it was going to be an easy task for me to do but it turned out that it was harder than I thought.
It was easy to pay attention to detail on the DVD version because the camera does all the focusing on the detailed parts but when you’re sitting on the balcony watching a live performance, there’s so much going on that you miss things. There was a part where the audience was laughing but I had no idea what they were laughing at. I glanced around the stage and saw that there was a fat guy trying to get on top of an elephant but he couldn’t mount it. There was so much going on that if you blinked, you’d probably miss something. I’ve never paid so much attention to a show before.
The way they start the show in the DVD version and in the staged version is great. In the DVD version, the scene is in black and white but slowly, we see a splash of colours being added as the theatre is being brought back to live. In the staged version, the chandelier is being lifted off the stage and stops above the audience. The cool thing about the live performance is the fact that the audience becomes part of the play. In the DVD version, there’s a scene where the chandelier falls and almost kills an audience. In the stages version, we see the chandelier falling towards the audience in the front row but it’s rigged so that it falls on the stage instead. That was a awesome seem to watch. I saw the people in the front row cover themselves.
Another scene that I thought was “phantasically” done was the scene of the underground. The Phantom takes Christine into his secret lair but in order to get there, they go down a dark pathway and across a foggy and eerie lake. That was the scene that I looked forward to in the live performance version. They way they create this scene was mesmerizing. The stage is completely dark but you see shadows of things moving. Then the light starts to get brighter and you see fog all over the stage. The Phantom and Christine appears in a boat that looks as if it’s floating on top a layer of foggy water. The Phantom is propelling the boat forward as candles start to appear and disappear into the fog.
The DVD version of the show was great but the live performance was way better. I got tickets for balcony seats that overlooked the stage. The view from there was perfect since I was able to see everything, including the orchestra. Ticket price are a bit high but the performance was well worth it to see in person. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.