BWW Review: A Fabulous Night at THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands
The Phantom of the Opera, a musical classic, has returned to the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands to sold-out previews and a fully packed house on opening night on 25th April.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, 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. Mesmerised 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.
Having played to audiences around the world for over three decades now, this timeless musical had won the hearts of many including mine. I first fell in love with The Phantom of the Opera back in 2013 in the same theatre, and it is still to date one of my all times favourite, the epitome of a classic piece of musical theatre. Having spent hours listening to the soundtrack and watching any phantom related videos I could get my hands on, I must say that high expectations are set- and I must say that this production proves that it is still as mesmerising as before.
With 130 cast, crew and orchestra members, jaw-dropping scenery, breathtaking special effects and more than 230 costumes by the late international designer late Maria Björnson, The Phantom of the Opera contains some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most famous and stirring music, including the titular The Phantom of the Opera, Think of Me and Music of the Night. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time.
The show won over 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony's on Broadway and four Olivier Awards in the West End- including Best Musical and Best New Musical respectively. The Phantom of the Opera is also the longest running show in Broadway history.
The rising of the shattered chandelier signified the start of the show accompanied by the iconic overture against the magnificently built set transporting audiences back to 1881.
Although the original Harold Prince staging is very much set like when it was conceived over thirty years ago, this version also comes with a couple of updates such as the new Angel statue that usually sits on top of the proscenium and is now a piece of scenery. The chandelier no longer goes up into the theatre roof but instead attached to the proscenium. Specially engineered for the touring company, it is a slightly refreshing change from the previous staging, and I started to realise the differences because of the much more fluid and smooth scene changes.
Roxmouth and Picerno's undeniable chemistry as the Phantom and Christine especially when we were introduced to the Phantom during Little Lotte.../The Mirror... and the crucial point where we find out the Phantom's secret in I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It, had us holding the edge of our seats.
Picerno's mature and classically trained voice and from playing older Christine in Love Never Dies was at times too clean for a chorus girl /rising soloist. However, she made it up in her pure portrayal of the young Christine Daaé and got us in sniffles at the end of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again".
While we were enthralled by Roxmouth, with his powerful command of the stage and portraying the deeply misunderstood yet sinister genius, Leisy quickly became one of my favourites to watch. His performance as Raoul was near perfect, injecting a lot more wit and soul in the usual basic protective boyfriend character and was a strong competitor in the Phantom - Christine - Raoul love triangle.
Efforts to inject a local twist and some humour into the show like, "I will be in Langkawi" - a popular holiday destination in Asia, as the former owner of the opera said before leaving in a hurry, is always appreciated with a chuckle.
More importantly, the extraordinary strong vocals and acting of the entire company added to the success of the show. With the fabulous Beverly Chiat as the Opera's resident soprano prima donna, Carlotta Guidicelle. Curt Olds and James Borthwick as the new opera managers, Monsieur André and Monsieur Firman and Thabiso Masemene as the hilarious leading tenor, Ubaldo Piangi.
We enjoyed the strong female portrayal of Madame Giry (Melina Kalomas), the strict no nonsense ballet mistress, and her daughter Meg Giry (Kiruna-Lind Devar), who supports Christine in her time of need.
A masterpiece indeed, The Phantom of the Opera continues to impress. It is everything a classic should be, with great staging, amazing sets, props, costumes and an excellent cast. Be it your first time or tenth. You are sure to be blown away once again by the music of the night.
Image Credit: The Phantom of the Opera World Tour