Saturday, 11 January 2014

Broadway's Phantom of the Opera in Minneapolis


Apologies for the little lotte of lateness. Or big lotte. Last Saturday, my sister, a friend, and I made the most of the our free weekend before classes set in (have to make it sound like a snowstorm, you know) to go on an adventure.

Our night on the town began with...

Despite remarks about our nice chinchillas (fur coats), we found our reserved booth and ordered a delightful spread consisting of "wee burgers", a crudite platter (with absolutely heavenly hummus), the staple of fish and chips, and the best stuffed mushrooms I have ever (laid tongue on) consumed. This makes me sound like an eating beast, but what of it? When delectable mushrooms are found, their place of origin deserves to be made known, if only so others may partake of the said mushroom glory.


And now, for the part I've been working/waiting to tell you about: The obsessed, the sad, the psychotic, mesmerizing "angel of music", OG, Phantom of the Opera.

The Phantom Graces Minneapolis

We were squished. With tickets literally screaming LIMITED LEGROOM in all caps, we quietly viewed our playbills and waited in well, serious anticipation. It was our first official BROADWAY musical, and what a musical to open with. 

I will assume those reading are familiar with the one and only intriguing OG and skip the summary and instead write of the experience. The original Andrew Lloyd Webber production starring his (then) wife Sarah Brightman as Christine Daae was the first of all Phantom productions, and I tried not to compare. (If you want to read my extensive thoughts on the Phantom, check out my first post, The Phantom or Raoul? Eros, Or...)

Phantom at the Orpheum felt right. It was indeed grand with the Neo-classic/baroque architecture and dimmed lights.  The scrim (screens with a pattern/image that can be seen when lit from behind) screen had a cob-web like effect that readied us for the opening scene of the auction while a second chandelier, the chandelier, hung close but oh-so-unattainable. Thus was the beginning, an auction of the music box twinkling out the Masquerade theme that reminds us of melancholy. 

Costumes for The Phantom were not over indulgent, per se, but fitting. The Phantom was dressed excellently, and as for hair and makeup, his head was utterly terrifying when Christine pulled the mask from his face. My favorite were the capes worn by Raoul and the Phantom, as well as the hilarious yet colorful barbaric vestments worn by the "opera singers" acting in Hannibal. Good job at humorously stereotyping ye olde opera, Broadway.

Some of the of the most interesting aspects were the sets. I noticed a massive theme, throughout the evening, that of strict round-about, that is, almost a mind boggling continuum; an air of something inescapable. When the Phantom brings Christine down to his (lair...) level, the couple disappeared behind the massive, main half-cylinder set piece, and reappeared atop it. While it turned to the left. Essentially, Christine and the Phantom kept walking, but seemingly went nowhere. Upon reaching the end (a drop off...), the set continued to turn, steps appeared, jutting out from the side of the set, and Christine and the Phantom descended deeper and deeper to an illusion. 

Concerning the voices, I do believe that Christine's voice could be slightly more seasoned. I feel some voices are akin to cheese...they become better with age.  However, although Michael Crawford is the booming and fearsome Phantom, Hugh Panaro did a stunning recreation of the famed OG, for which I give him full credit. 

I look at The Phantom much differently now that I have actually seen the production. Passion overrode common sense of a teacher who couldn't understand the hasty whims of young love in such "twitterpated" state. Phantom of the Opera is an exciting French novel by Gaston Leroux, a breathtaking feast for our ears, and an adventure for our eyes.

All pieces of art have messages, and though I admire the art in all its endearing wonder, I say: Watch out for the lies. Both Raoul and the Phantom vied for Christine's affection, and guess what? Phantom LIED to Christine and made her believe he was the "angel of music" sent from her father to teach her to sing. One suggestion: Next time you want someone to fall in love with you, don't lie to them. He or she will end up in your rival's arms.

I absolutely adored the evening, and we came back with memories that will remain for years to come. I couldn't help thinking how easily we fall into believing other things can teach us to sing.  We are only meant to sing one song, the praises of our Heavenly Father, and since He is the only one able to instruct us in this, we must go to Him and none other.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

As always, thanks for reading!

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