One of the most successful musicals in entertainment history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera has played to over 145 million people in 150 cities across 30 countries thus far. It is also the longest-running show on Broadway – having celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018 – and has won more than 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards.
Your Phantom of the Opera experience starts from the moment you step into the theatre. The Sands Theatre is transformed into the Paris Opera House. Viewers are greeted with a grandiose proscenium arch, adorned with gilded angels on both sides. After the prologue, a 48-bulb chandelier hung precariously over the edge of the stage.
The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as the Phantom (Jonathan Roxmouth) who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerized by the talent and beauty of a young soprano, Christine (Meghan Picerno), the Phantom lures her as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul (Matt Leisy), the Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealousy, madness and passions collide.
The sets and props in the musical were nothing short of magnificent. Two particularly breath-taking sets were when Christine and the Phantom were on a boat, en route through the misty river to the Phantom’s secret lair, as well as the scene for one of the musical’s numbers – Masquerade.
Masquerade sums up the extravagance of the musical in a single song. Masquerade saw the full cast take to the stage atop a ballroom staircase for the enthralling number, while donned in picturesque masks and show-stopping costumes to complement the grandeur of the musical.
But of course, the award-winning musical is not complete without its talented cast. Jonathan Roxmouth shone as The Phantom with his perfect baritone vocals. Jonathan did an excellent job in bringing The Phantom’s menace and mysterious aura to life, striking a sense of fear into the hearts of the audience.
Meanwhile, Matt Leisy’s portrayal of Raoul was a striking contrast to The Phantom. With his kind demeanour and chivalry, Matt Leisy captivated the hearts of the audience when he belted out the lyrics to ‘All I Ask Of You’.
Meghan Picerno’s Christine outshone the rest with her pitch-perfect soprano range throughout the musical – I realised I was anticipating her performance just to listen to her angelic voice! I especially enjoyed her number ‘Angel of Music’, as well as her duet with The Phantom in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.
During an exclusive interview with DANAMIC, Meghan Picerno shared that she faced the challenge of portraying the unequal role of women in society in the play. She shared, “In order for the show to work, (Christine) very willingly gives her power up to men at the beginning of the show, and for me that’s very difficult to do – I’ve done that in real life.”
To stay true to the role, Meghan had to tap into the “deep and dark places” from within. She continued, “I think a lot of us have given someone power over us out of love, and it’s a very vulnerable place to go. To deal with all these brand-new struggles emotionally every single performance is very challenging.”
The supporting cast were by no means inferior. Carlotta and Ubaldo Piangi – played by Beverley Chiat and Thabiso Masemene respectively – were a breath of fresh air with their occasional comic relief, and Madame Giry – played by Melina Kalomas – constantly alluded all eerie happenings to The Phantom, which only elevated the tension felt by the audience each time.
The crew deserves a shout out for their swift set changes and stage effects as well, notably the scene when the Phantom terrorizes the Opera Hall and breaks the chandelier – it is an intense scene guaranteed to send chills down your spine!
As Meghan puts it perfectly, the Phantom of the Opera is a story that is universal – everyone knows how it feels like to fall in love with someone we’re not supposed to, to be taken advantage of, and to find love in people that usually don’t receive or give love.
“There’s heartbreak, abandonment, reconciliation and there’s knowing that you love someone that you can’t be with; that society deems as impossible to be with. Of course, on top of that, we have the set, costumes, and music. This was a marriage of everything perfect – that’s why this piece is in so many different countries and languages, and has been the longest running Broadway show,” she said.
The Phantom Of The Opera
Date: Wednesday, 24 April 2019 to Saturday, 8 June 2019
Venue: Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956
Ticket prices start at $75. For more information, visit https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/cphantom0619
Photos by Goh Jing Wen of the DANAMIC team. Other visuals courtesy of The Phantom of the Opera World Tour.