The Phantom of the Opera – Let Your Fantasies Unwind

February 13, 2016
3 mins read

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The Phantom of the Opera was first published in 1909 and was based on historical events that occurred at the Paris Opera House in the 19th Century. Lon Chaney launched the Phantom in a 1925 film, but it really took flight in 1986 when Andrew Lloyd Webber opened his masterpiece on stage in London’s West End.  It is the longest running show in Broadway history and the second longest-running West End Musical.  The Phantom has been seen by more than 130 million people in 27 countries.   Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production sold out in the United Kingdom and is now on tour across North America.  

The FSCJ Artist Series presents The Phantom of the Opera in Jacksonville, February 10-21, 2016 at the Moran Theater at the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets start at $38 and are available at artistseries.org. This is the best Broadway show I have ever seen. You don’t need to travel to New York or London. Mackintosh’s production is stunning and takes your breath away.  

phantom1140x450_3__slideshowFor those not familiar with the classic love triangle, a disfigured man (Erik/Phantom/Angel of Music) who lives in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House falls in love with an opera singer named Christine.  The Phantom is a gifted musical genius and writes hauntingly beautiful melodies for his love.  He becomes her teacher and mentor and all he wants in return is her obedience and devotion to him. Raoul, a childhood friend of Christine watches her perform and visits her afterward.  The Phantom realizes what is happening and whisks her away to his secret lair before Christine can return Raoul’s affection.  After Christine sees him without the mask, he allows her to return to the Opera House and threatens the new owners.  As Christine grows closer to Raoul, the Phantom writes an opera that he demands will be played by Christine in the lead or disaster will strike.   

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 7 - Chris Mann and Katie Travis - photo Matthew MurphySince it first premiered in Jacksonville almost 20 years ago, there have been many advances in theatrical technology. The most impressive piece of Paul Brown’s new scenic design is the staircase with the vanishing steps.  I was blown away when I first saw it.  Another addition is the manager’s office with walls that fold open and allow people to bring notes they have received from the Phantom.  The large cylinder also serves as rafters of the opera house.  It moves on a circular axis between the various spaces.  The set changes and special effects were phenomenal. The surround sound in the theater makes it sound like the Phantom is surrounding you.

The opera backdrops were absolutely stunning. The tapestries were vibrant and rich. The costumes were authentic and original. The artistry of this production is extraordinary.  The heart of the Phantom is the beloved story and thrilling score performed by an orchestra of 52 musicians.   Webber’s romanticism and haunting melodies remain intact with songs like “The Music of the Night” and “All I Ask of You”. Listening to the uplifting and powerful “Masquerade” makes you want to dance.

Katie Travis does an exceptional job as the ingénue Christine.  Her voice is almost as pure as Sarah Brightman. I really enjoyed Chris Mann as the Phantom.  His rich tenor voice comes close to nailing the part made famous by Michael Crawford. Travis and Mann have excellent onstage chemistry. I liked the sensuality between them in Scene 7 during “The Point of No Return”.  Storm Lineberger was perfect as Raoul. Jacquelynne Fontaine’s soprano voice created beautiful arias for her character Carlotta.

The Moran Theatre is the perfect venue to showcase the extraordinary and brilliant Phantom of the Opera.  The acoustics are remarkable.  I wish that I could experience this amazing musical again right now.  I love it! ~A.S. MacLeod

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics by Charles Hart & Richard Stilgoe

Directed by Laurence Conner

Based on the novel “Le Fantome de l”Opera” by Gaston Leroux

Chris Mann as The Phantom of the Opera (Angel of Music)

Katie Travis as Christine Daae’

Storm Lineberger as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny

Jacquelynne Fontaine as Carlotta Guidicelli

David Benoit as Monsieur Firmin

Edward Staudenmayer as Monsieur Andre’

 

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