I’m pretty sure that you can say the words, Phantom of the Opera to just about anyone, anywhere in the world and they will know what you are talking about. It is one of my favorite musicals of all time.
I love the story because I am a sucker for a good love story but I love one with a plot twist and a good soundtrack even more so. But then you set that story in Paris and the romance level goes up about a billion percent.
Base on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
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I saw the movie. I’d seen the performance on PBS. I watched the 25th-anniversary performance at the Royal theater with my daughters and that was it. My oldest, she fell in love with the story and the music immediately. Obviously, this made my heart happy. It was like, check, this is something we can share and bond over. I told myself that one day, I would take my girls to see it.
As many of you know, I’ve made it a priority to raise the girls to be well-cultured. I want them to understand and appreciate the arts. For me, art is the great equalizer because talent is not something you can be taught but rather something innate. It is a gift given to you and it is your responsibility to nurture and grow it. It takes a lot of hard work and hustle to make it as an artist and there’s more who don’t than who do make it so I want my girls to understand how special those talented people are and how hard they’ve had to work to get to that stage.
We take the girls to as many shows as we can. I made this a priority when they were very little. We take them to live concerts. We encourage them to participate in the arts. They both dance ballet and play the violin. I’m working on teaching them to speak a couple other languages because I think people need to be diversified. It’s not enough to just be smart, you need to have common sense. It’s not enough to travel, you need to be able to immerse yourself into those cultures to truly enjoy the experience. And one cannot just watch art, one must be open to feeling it and being caught up in it. Even as a member of the audience, you have your part to play.
Last weekend, we finally found ourselves seated in the theater waiting for the show to begin and I looked around and that’s when I realized we were surrounded by a whole lot of people who had a genuine love of the arts, more specifically Phantom of the Opera.
When we see a show or hear a song, it is human nature to relate it to ourselves; a moment in time captured that makes us identify with the art. Phantom is about love; unrequited and the naiveté of young love. It’s funny too because depending on where you are in life, the different your interpretation and isn’t that one of the greatest things about art? Our interpretations can change as our experiences do, in that way, art is ever changing.
When I was younger, I saw the love story as Christine and the Viscount. I rooted for them and the Phantom was a monster. But now, I saw the love story between the Phantom and Christine. He was in love with her but he also wanted to possess her. Christine loved him, was intrigued by him, but at the same time was terrified by the way he looked and maybe even by the way she felt about him.
Was it shallowness or self-preservation? Once you’ve had your heart broken, it’s a little harder to put yourself out there, especially when you’re falling for a brilliant, monstrous beast of a man who wants to possess you. It’s a little overwhelming.
I found myself angry with Christine because she was so immature. How could she not love someone who loved her so much? And I found the viscount to be infantile in his pursuit of her but then again, that is young love. Impetuous and silly and beautiful and grand.
In the past, I would have instinctively rooted for him. It’s like when you watch rom-com movies. They do outlandish things. They cheat on spouses, they hurt people but you root for the main characters to get together and you ignore their bad behavior and you want it to work out but in real life, you’d think they were the worst people ever because of the destruction their affair caused to all those involved. Why are we so lenient in art where we are so rigid in life?
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The thing is as I looked around the house, I saw so many couples because on the surface, it is a love story about a young man and a young woman but beneath is a beautiful love story about a man too ugly to be seen by the world who is completely devoted to a beautiful woman who sees his beauty within. Sadly, reality eventually makes her see his ugliness and, in the end, she chooses the choice society would deem acceptable. Or did she? Perhaps the true ugliness is his need to possess her versus to just love her.
The performance was stellar and the Phantom was outstanding. The entire cast was spectacular. If you have the chance to see the Phantom of the Opera on tour, do yourself a favor and do it. It will not disappoint.
Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is raved by critics “bigger and better than ever before” and breathtaking. It features a brilliant new scenic design by Paul Brown, Tony Award®-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Paule Constable, new choreography by Scott Ambler, and new staging by director Laurence Connor.
The production, overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh, boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score – with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade” – is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this PHANTOM one of the largest productions now on tour.
The new production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is suggested for audiences aged 6+. The production includes gunshots and pyrotechnics. We encourage parents to consider these factors when making their decisions about attending the performance.
Disclosure: I was provided tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at the Morris Performing Arts Center by the Broadway theater league but all opinions and love of Broadway stage productions are my own.