Talk about theatre, and chances are the first show to come to mind would be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s highly acclaimed The Phantom of the Opera. That is with good reason – it has won over 70 theatre awards and is the longest-running show on New York’s Broadway to date.
Of its over 13,000 performances all over the world, The Phantom of the Opera has been down to Singapore thrice – and a fourth limited run presented by Base Entertainment Asia and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is currently underway at Marina Bay Sands’ Sands Theatre.
Based off the novel of the same name by 20th-century author Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux, the story follows a disfigured musical genius known only as The Phantom, who lives in the depths of Parisian opera house the Palais Garnier. Taking chorus girl Christine Daaé under his wing, he groomed her to become the opera house’s soprano, falling obsessively in love with her in the process. When faced with a rival for her heart, the jealous ghost terrorises the opera house’s inhabitants – to disastrous consequences.
While the tale may seem archaic in this day and age, there is no doubt that Phantom is a classic that captured the hearts of many. The score has spawned some of theatre’s favourite tunes, such as the titular ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, ‘Music Of The Night’ and ‘All I Ask Of You’, all of which are reasons enough to catch the show live.
Many renowned musical performers have taken on the iconic roles of The Phantom and Christine Daaé, but the cast of Singapore’s staging – who are part of the worldwide tour – were no slouches. Jonathan Roxmouth commanded the stage with his intense rendition of the tortured Phantom, while soprano Meghan Picerno shone in her role as Christine in enthralling solos. Loyal viewers would be quick to point out that there are arguably better couples to portray the duo, but these two still managed to carry the weight of the show (and its name) from beginning to the end.
If their immaculate performance didn’t do much to impress you, the intricate Phantom wardrobe will. The costumes for the entire ensemble range from 300 to 400 individual pieces, excluding the clothes of the various understudies, which results in double the number in total. More than 230 of the costumes were made by the late Maria Björnson, who worked on the original production in London’s West End, and some even featured in the previous runs of Phantom in Singapore. As lovely as the dresses are, they can weigh up to a whopping 10 to 12 kg each – we can’t imagine how difficult it might have been to switch costumes between the fast-moving acts.
The ending may have left fans of the Phantom himself wanting, but we can safely say this staging of the Phantom will captivate theatre fans old and new – for the former, to relish in a live performance of theatre’s most well-known songs, and for the latter to experience the “world’s most popular musical” for the first time.
Photo credits: The Phantom of the Opera World Tour
The Phantom Of The Opera runs from now 8 June 2019 at the Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands. Get your tickets here!