Monday, October 15, 2012

25th Anniversary of Phantom of the Opera

While most of my regional viewing area was watching the Packers pummel the Texans last night, I opted to watch the 25th anniversary performance of Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, which is streaming currently on Netflix.

I've seen the performance live three times--in Minneapolis once, and then twice more when it came to the performing arts centers in Green Bay and Appleton. I grew up listening to it; when my grandmother took us on outings when we were young, we always dug out the cassette tape (yup.) from her stash and played it. It was that or our other favorite, Neil Diamond's "Coming to America." Don't get me started.

I've been slow to appreciate the theatre, and I'm very picky about what I go see. Thus far I've been limited to the biggies: The Who's Tommy, Miss Saigon, Phantom, et. al. But I can't stand Rent, or Wicked, or many others, so perhaps I'm a rock opera girl, not a musical girl. Alas. The ones that I have a connection to are typically those that my parents went to see when I was young and I listened to the soundtracks, or eventually the ones I saw myself when I got a little bit older. It's a small pool, but Phantom is, hands down, the biggest fish.

Anyone even remotely interested in The Phantom of the Opera, or even more significantly, nostalgically connected to it, should see the Royal Albert Hall performance. It beats the 2004 movie by leaps and bounds. The camera work is quite good, and it's easy to forget you're watching a filmed live performance until the camera scales back at intermission for a moment to reveal that, oh yeah, there is a huge audience in there. And the performances are just super. It's interesting to see a stage performance so up close and personal, as opposed to being seated in a balcony at the back of the hall where minute facial expressions are impossible to see. That is not the case here.

The only disappointing thing is that the chandelier doesn't actually rise or fall. What's with that? That was the best part. ;)

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