The first rave I heard about the Phantom was from my former colleague at Tanggol Kalikasan, Atty. Nelia Lagura. The big screen version of The Phantom of the Opera was about to hit the theaters, and she couldn’t keep her giddiness to herself. A few years after, one of my mom’s BFFs, Mama Cristy Salem, mentioned watching the movie and gushing over how great it was. My husband Randy (who was then my fiance) said he hated musicals, but Mama Cris said that she hated musicals too, but that The Phantom of the Opera was an exception.
Shortly after that conversation with Mama Cris, I got a hold of a DVD of it and watched it alone. After watching this scene…
…I became a convert. Dang, I was in love with the Phantom. I couldn’t stop singing “All I Ask of You” for days.
The Phantom is Coming to Town!
And then came the summer of 2012. After a grueling day teaching, this news electrified my otherwise weary mind and weary body: The Phantom of the Opera is coming to Manila! I got so giddy and I swore to myself I was going to watch this–front row!–on my birthday, by hook or by crook!
Ardent Birthday Wish
Since front-row seat tickets didn’t come cheap, I needed to pout, shed some tears, and make Randy feel guilty. He was OK with me watching it, but he wasn’t OK with me dragging him along because he wasn’t going to enjoy it anyway, what with the ticket cost! But I didn’t want to watch a great love story sans the great love of my life. Through the combination of my tenacity, tears, pout, and my husband’s love for me (or his hate of my constant pangungulit), I got my birthday wish!
On our way to CCP, I saw The Phantom of the Opera posters along Makati, and I couldn’t help but feel a rush of thrill. I was even chatting with my colleague, Paul Sargei Azurin (who has just watched The Phantom a week before we did) before going in. He advised me to hide our SLR camera in my bag and go to this certain entrance/exit to meet and greet the Phantom. My giddiness intensified as we entered the CCP Main Theater (although it was dampened a tad when I realized I committed a fashion blunder), because everyone else was as giddy as I was! Our cameras however were collected (bags were inspected. hrmpft), thus people were just relying on their mobile phone’s cameras to have a photo beside posters. Yes, posters lang nakapila pa. I was one of those people, of course.
The Phantom & Co. Up Close
And then we finally entered. It was my first time to watch a play/musical of this caliber at CCP (hanggang DL Umali Hall lang ako lagi). When the ushers guided us to our seats, I couldn’t help but thank my inner, less-frequently-seen magastos self that I allowed ourselves to buy front row seat tickets! I could almost touch the props! And when finally, the actors appeared–I held my breath…everything seemed surreal! I can’t believe I am this near to these stunning actors and actresses! Even Randy felt the same way. And when the toy monkey started playing, tears started welling up in my eyes.
How OA, right? It’s not even supposed to make me cry! But I held back my tears or long, because when the chandelier dropped and The Phantom of the Opera’s signature music played, my heart stopped. Then during Act 2, my jaw almost dropped when I saw the actress playing Christine with the other dancers. Grabe, they were all soooo beautiful and slender. Again, Randy and I had the same thoughts: we can’t choose among the ladies who was the loveliest!
Randy described hearing the singing of the actors and actresses as dreamlike. They all sang beautifully and extraordinarily–you can’t believe the powerful voice of Christine comes from that lithe, seemingly-fragile body. And the props–unbelievable! They definitely did not scrimp on the props! No cheap cardboard, hastily painted backgrounds here! Grand staircase kung grand staircase! Attire kung attire!
Again, I really, really am glad to have insisted we get front row seats. What a waste if I didn’t clearly see the warring emotions (anger, pity, love) in Christine’s lovely face when she’s with the Phantom; Raoul’s open admiration the first time she laid eyes on Christine; and the pain and grief of the Phantom… even ‘yung talsik ng laway ng soldiers! Yes, pati talsik ng laway, tulo ng pawis at ugat-ugat ng kamay ni Christine kitang-kita ko! Even the make-up technique to make the actor’s and actresses’ face seem smaller became obvious to me. Obviously, I did not regret shelling out hard-earned money to watch The Phantom of the Opera.
One thing disappointed me though *spoiler alert!* The scene which “converted” me (see Youtube link in the first paragraph) was played out differently–during his rendition of the reprise of “All I Ask of You”, he was hanging from the top. Grandiose, yes, but for me who was seated very near the stage (sorry, I can’t get over that fact), I was looking forward to seeing the pain in his eyes, just like in the movie. At wala ring rose na ni-crush. But aside from that, my other expectations were exceeded. In fact, the closing scene made my eyes a river of tears. Ang galing, galing, galing, galing! After that scene, my butt just sprang from my seat to give a standing ovation. My hands ached from my wild applause!
And by the way, epic fail din ang suggestion ni Sargei to go to this certain entrance/exit to meet and greet the actors. Although Sargei said that Jonathan Roxmouth (actor who regularly plays the Phantom) told him that he may be seen backstage, the usher prevented me from doing so. Hrmpft.
Reminiscing watching The Phantom of the Opera makes me want to watch it again! It’s definitely the musical one shouldn’t miss! If you still haven’t watched it you still have
sevenfour days!!! It will run only until October 14. And if you can afford it, go front row! The unmasking of the brilliance of cast and crew of The Phantom of the Opera is worth every single penny. Even Randy agrees.
Tell me what you think!
Powered by Facebook Comments