Rant and Rave: ‘Phantom of the Opera’

Rating: 4.0

After being dazzled by plays and musicals like Cinderella, Cats, and Mamma Mia at the famed Cultural Center of the Philippines, another Broadway hit has made its way to Manila: the Phantom of the Opera.

The long awaited show did not disappoint, as evidenced by the crowded room and sold out tickets; the crowd included both Filipinos and a good representation of foreign audiences as well. Throughout the two and a half hour show, veteran actors Jonathan Roxmouth (The Phantom), Anthony Downing (Raoul), and Claire Lyon (Christine Daae) entranced the audience with heart-wrenching dramatic performance, giving the show’s theme songs, “All I Ask of You” and “Music of the Night” totally different interpretations and new meanings. Adding to the sound musical ensemble was Hanlee Louw as the Italian operatic singer Carlotta Guidicelle, effectively stealing the show with her clear and unwavering voice. The presence of Filipino tenor Dondi Ong playing as Ubaldo Piangi capped off the motley cast.

This immense amount of talent would not be as effective without the wonderful stage background and design, and for this, the production’s art director must be commended. The props are hugely reminiscent of the Paris Opera House, with it’s golden sculptures and royal curtains. The production team really pulls all the stops to make the show a rousing success, deploying all its resources and ensuring an overachieving extravagance to the entire production. Every scene had a realistic set of props, notable for which is the detail in the Phantom’s Lair. The orchestra, under conductor Stan Tucker, also produced beautiful accompaniments for the actors’ already alluring voices.

The Phantom of the Opera becomes more than a passionate and crazed love story, for suspense and thrill are aptly thrown into the storyline. Watching it is a must, not only because Broadway productions are not regularly staged in the Philippines, but because of the very fact that this incarnation of Phantom is simply a classic show that will not be so soonly forgotten.

Stephanie Tan

By Stephanie Tan

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