THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
My boyfriend and I attended THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre last Friday evening. I’d never seen the musical live, having been unable to attend while in NYC (though I did get to see Wicked on Broadway) so I was very excited for the opportunity to attend in Vancouver.
Cameron Mackintosh’s reimagined version of the play has been bringing in audiences from across North America and after Friday night’s performance it is clear to me why. The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most well-known musicals of all time and this production encapsulated all that it should, from phenomenal voices to stunning costumes, entertaining choreography and clever special effects.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is timeless and world renowned but this performance has an orchestra of 52, making it one of the largest productions on tour and creating a rich sound that captivates the audience from start to finish.
Derrick Davis was incredible as the Phantom. His range and passion was showcased well and his body shook with emotion as the character. He was heartfelt and intense, a perfect Phantom during “The Music of the Night” and throughout the entire production.
We were pleased to see Katie Travis as Christine Daaé. Her performance seemed effortless as she comfortably moved across the stage, her voice hitting the high sopranos she is known for. Vancouver’s Eva Tavares will take over this role starting July 26 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, Alberta. Tavares is from Vancouver, BC, and trained at the UBC Opera Program. She is sure to be an amazing addition to the show, and while we were pleased with Travis’ performance, we’d have loved to see Tavares perform in her hometown. Another upcoming cast change will happen July 18 when Kristie Dale Sanders comes into the role of ‘Madame Giry’.
Jordan Craig plays ‘Raoul, Vicomte de Changy’ and has good chemistry with Travis. Trista Moldovan who stars as ‘Carlotta Giudicelli,’ actually played Christine Daaé on Broadway including in the 10,000th performance. In Vancouver, as Carlotta, she was amazing and exuded confidence and sass in her role.
In addition to the outstanding performances, the costumes, set and effects completed this show. Maria Bjornson’s stunning costumes are eye-catching in every scene. Two that stood out most to me included the dancers during ‘The Dress Rehearsal of Hannibal’ and ‘Masquerade’. Both scenes had costumes that included colourfully intricate details that worked well with the choreography.
What caught my eye the most was the intricate set designs throughout the show. From the underground Labyrinth to the Phantom’s Lair with it’s dark and flickering lit rooms to the roof of the opera house with large statues and fountain, the sets were certainly elaborate. My personal favourite included the tower which revealed hidden stairs that the actors floated down as they emerged from the wall. There was also clever use of the set for scenes on stage and backstage at the opera house as the “curtain” would draw to give the appearance of the audience actually sitting behind the stage observing after just being the audience of the stage show itself.
Other amazing effects included firey flashes of pyrotechnics, a disappearing Phantom under the cloak, and rattling rainfall on the rooftop.
While this play is family-friendly, there are a few scenes that may frighten younger children. The Phantom himself is mysterious of course, and his dramatic music evokes emotion. The chandelier crashing scene includes a confetti gun and the sound of crashing glass which made even me jump, before going into darkness at intermission.
Overall, the production was everything you would imagine from The Phantom of the Opera, mystery, music and emotion. If you haven’t had a chance, definitely check it out while playing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, now until July 23, 2017.