Last night, on PBS, I saw the 25th anniversary of Phantom of the Opera. The show starred Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom. Ramin is fairly new to me, though I have seen him in the 25th anniversary of Les Mis, playing Enjolras. He did a sensational job. He has also played Raoul in Phantom, as well as Marius and Jean Valjean in Les Mis.
Phantom of the Opera has always been one of my faves of all Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, with some of the most glorious music ever written – Music of the Night, Phantom of the Opera, Think of Me, and That’s All I Ask of You among the tunes. I have seen this show with a road company in Austin (I have also seen Cats and A Chorus Line, and hope to see Les Mis this coming May), and while each of them has their own fabulous music, I guess Phantom could be called my favourite of all. I also love the storyline, the forgotten, unhelped, thrown-away man with the facial disfigurements falling in love, and ending up losing Christine. I cry during that last scene for the loss the man is feeling (it’s over now, the music of the night).
This 25th anniversary show included Sierra Boggess as Christine, Hadley Fraser as Raoul, Kiera Duffy as Carlotta, Wynn Evans as Piangi, Liz Robertson as Madame Giry, Daisy Maywood as Meg Giry, Barry James as Monsieur Firmin, and Gareth Snood as Monsieur Andre. The last two were quite funny in their roles as the two confused new owners of the Opera House in Paris, who knew nothing about the Phantom. They were also funny, along with the rest, in the scenes where they kept getting notes from P.O.
As good as Ramin is, however, my first and best Phantom will always be Michael Crawford, with Sarah Brightman. At this end of this show there is about 30 minutes in which Andrew, Cameron, Michael Crawford, Sarah, and four other Phantoms, Colm Wilkinson (always a fave), Anthony Warlow, John Owen-Jones, and Peter Joback come out on stage, and the four gentlemen just above, along with Sarah Brightman, do some singing. I wondered why Michael was not asked to sing, but I have looked it up on-line to see if I could find out why, and apparently it is because he is doing eight shows a week in Wizard of Oz, and it was a voice-resting thing. I also read that he had been ill, but I know nothing about that. Anyway, he was given tribute by the four previous Phantoms, as well as Ramin, for being the first, and that they would not have been there but for him.
The show was staged in Royal Albert Hall in London, which was a fitting backdrop for the lovely scenery and other staging for the show. If you have not seen it, I recommend it highly. I taped it, so I can go back and see it again and again, until I can maybe buy it on DVD at the store. Since it is part of PBS fund-raising, it probably is not available in stores yet, and I cannot afford to pay the high costs of the donations needed to get the DVD through them. As for a CD, it is also available, but I have Phantom with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman already, and don’t need to buy another CD.
Carol Stepp, Austin