Towards the start of the Quarter, the members of 4A and 4U were treated to an experience at Her Majesty’s Theatre, to watch The Phantom of the Opera.
The Phantom of the Opera is a musical written by Andrew Lloyd-Webber in 1986, with the same storyline as the book written in 1909. It takes place in the Paris Opera House. The story revolves around the Phantom (who haunts/inhabits the opera house and views it as his domain), and a young little-known Swedish soprano, Christine Daaé. Whilst Christine agrees to marry a childhood friend, Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, the Phantom has an almost obsessive love for her and goes to great lengths to receive it in return, a scheme which ultimately results in his almost generally unwanted and accidental death, or as he calls it:’ dying of love’.
Andrew Lloyd Webber was born on 22nd March 1948. After spending time at the Royal College of Music he went on to write many famous musicals, such as The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and Cats. He was knighted in 1992, and in 1997 was made a life peer, and became a Baron. His pieces have had mixed reviews from critics and other composers, with a few claiming that he has copied their music. Pink Floyd complained that he had stolen their riff from the song ‘Echoes’ to make his iconic pipe organ riff ofThe Phantom of the Opera. However there is a minor difference, but it is still questioned.
There are certain noticeable features of The Phantom of the Opera, giving more of a distinction as opposed to other performances. Noticeably, it has a considerably larger orchestra, giving it more power in certain scenes (which I definitely felt), and adding to its uniqueness. Another appealing aspect was the staging, which has similarities to 42nd Street, using the effect of staging it so it felt to the audience as if they were viewing the stage from another angle. Other complex elements of staging (especially for when it was originally performed), was the first introduction of the Phantom’s lair, when he and Christine were going ‘down’ the constantly moving flight of stairs, to get into a boat and glide across the mist.
This is a brilliant musical and is brilliant for anyone wanting to experience musical theatre for the first time and fears it being boring, as this certainly isn’t!
Many thanks to Mr. Nicholls for help with this article.