Monday, September 8, 2008

blog #149 >> The Phailure of the Opera

First of all, just let me say, "I really love The Phantom of the Opera." I love the music, the sets, the costumes, the plot. It's a great play. If you've never seen it, you should go rent the movie. (RIGHT NOW!) The movie is fabulous. And the more I see it, the more I like it. The actress who plays Christine has a phenomenal voice. Singing seems as natural to her as breathing. Although the actor who plays the Phantom can't sing as well, at least he seems dangerous and doesn't sound like a wimp. I saw the play in a theater for the first time when I was thirteen and it really made an impression on me.

(Scene from movie, which is excellent.)

Anyhow a couple weeks ago my mom bought a CD with a collection of songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals done by the London Philharmonic. Well, it was really good and got passed around between my sisters and I. And this of course this brought back memories of when we last saw it, and how great the play was. Soon we all wanted to go see it again.

It turned out it was currently playing in Portland at The Keller Auditorium and it had only a few days left before moving to Seattle. My grandma offered to buy us all tickets, and before you knew it, we were off in high hopes to see the show.

Little did I know, it was to be the worst show I've ever seen in a theater. (And that includes high school musicals.) It didn't start well, and ended worse. Almost all the characters had understudies playing their parts. Charlotte was played by an understudy. Christine was played by the understudy of the understudy. And The Phantom was played by the understudy, of the understudy, of the understudy. I'm just not sure I can describe in words how bad this show was. We paid money for this? When it started bad I thought, "Well, we haven't seen any of the main characters sing yet. Let's just wait until Christine comes on and then we'll see some good singing." Charlotte came on and sang her part. (Off-key and poorly as she's suppose to.) And when Christine sings the same song. (To show she can replace Charlotte and sing it waaay better.) She was even worse! Ah! How can this be? She was off-key, couldn't sing the high notes, and warbled worst than Charlotte. It's like they were making an Alto sing a Soprano part. I just wanted to help her through it. The poor thing! I felt so bad for her. I just wanted to say, "Here let me give you the note to start out on." And it seemed like everyone was mumbling every word. (Probably because they forgot half of the lyrics.) You couldn't understand anything they were saying. It's a good thing I knew what was going on or I would have been lost.

And if Christine was bad, The Phantom was worse. The acting throughout was horrible. And The Phantom was the worst of all. "The Music of the Night" he sang in a whiny voice and sang half of it while crawling of the floor. "Um... Why are you rolling on the floor? Are you trying to swim?" People were actually laughing during the murder scene. (When The Phantom hangs a guy during a performance.) "Um... That was suppose to be the scary part." But I have to admit it was pretty funny. It was like murderous shadow puppets on a sheet. "And next The Phantom will be creating a bunny rabbit for your enjoyment." Oh, it was bad. Raoul has never looked like such a good choice. Only I'm not sure Christine deserved him. She should have stayed with The Pathetic Loser Phantom and they could have squealed sweet songs together in the night.

I have to admit though, the orchestra was good, the costumes were great and the stages were nice. But it's really the singing and acting that matters. You can get by without costumes, music or stages at all if the acting and singing is good. It was like a huge moldy cake covered in pretty icing. It looks nice, but that's not what really matters. Raoul was an okay singer, and so was Charlotte. What they should have done, was replace Christine with Charlotte. You could tell, Charlotte was only trying to sound bad, but could really sing well if she wanted to. But overall... Ah, it was bad.

They even cut parts out. Like Christine receiving red roses tied with black ribbon from The Phantom. And the sword fight in the graveyard. I want to see them fight! And isn't the chandelier suppose to fall at the very end, after the opera of Don Juan? I don't think it's suppose to fall before intermission. And flames! I want to see flames during Don Juan and "The Point of No Return." I'll admit, it had been a long time since I saw it in the theater. But I'm sure that version had roses and a sword fight. What happened? Did we have our expectations too high? Did it seem more impressive last time because I was so young? Is it because we went to the matinee instead of the evening performance? Is it because everyone acting was an understudy? No one else in the audience seemed to notice the horrible singing or acting. They all stood up cheering and applauding with a standing ovation at the end. Were they just being polite? Was it a plant? Did they pay a couple of people to stand up in the front to make everyone else stand up? My family and I can't be the only ones who thought it was bad.

I just don't get it.


p.s. Okay, now I'm feeling guilty about about all the mean things I said about The Phantom of the Opera. I really do like the play and the movie. It's just that, that particular performance wasn't very good. But it was still really fun to go and spend the day with my sisters, mom and grandma. And afterwards we had a lovely dinner together. So I feel like I shouldn't be complaining...

Corrections: In the movie the chandelier falls at the end, but in the play it falls before intermission. In the movie there is a sword fight, in the play the Phantom is suppose to throw fireballs from his magical staff.

p.p.s. Stop telling me all the funny things you thought of and post them instead so other people can read them too.


Leingang Family said...

Wait! I just noticed the poster at the top of the post. That is so awesome. Where did you find it? Or did you do that yourself? It's perfect!

Theresa said...

I made it myself. It was kinda slow yesterday afternoon at work. I published the post with a normal poster first and added the hacked poster later.