of the Opera
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Charles Hart
Additional Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe
Book by Richard Stilgoe
and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Directed by Harold Prince
Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
and Musical Numbers
The stage of Paris Opera House, 1911
ACT ONE - Paris 1881
This was the second time I had seen the worldwide famous musical. Instead of sitting in the dead last row of the gallery seats, this time I was smack dab in the front row. Since I was over at the side, sometimes I could not see what was going on. At least I was very close to the Phantom during the scene as Christine sings "I Remember," while he quietly works on "Don Juan Triumphant." It was the closest I had ever been since that day at the wax museum years ago and it brought back some memories.
Speaking of memories, Gary Mauer brought another one back. From the moment I heard him sing from the mirror in Christine's dressing room, I was stunned. Years ago, I had this dream in which the Phantom spoke. He had this beautiful but very sad sound. For years I listened for that sound, for The Voice. The closest I had been able to find for some time was a CD recording with Ethan Freeman. Gary Mauer did so well, I nearly got moisty-eyed during the whole scene from "Angel of Music." Not only did he have that exquisite voice, but his acting was out of this world and his tall, slender physique was perfect for this role. While Ted Keegan's Phantom caught the "conceited child" in Erik, Gary Mauer caught the lonely soul struggling to keep his dignity against the insults that life has always thrown at him.
Rebecca Pitcher again played Christine Daaé. She was, of course, as lovely as the first time I saw her. As I watched the graveyard scene from a different angle this time, it was even more remarkable than the first time I saw it.
Kim Stengal played a different Carlotta from Julie Schmidt. She was just as funny as Schmidt but her facial expressions, especially something about her eyes, made this Carlotta seem a lot more cunning. (Behaviorly speaking, Schmidt's Carlotta seemed more like a mischievious but insecure pre-teen.) Her crafty demeanor and physical appearance make me think she would be perfect for the role of Carlotta in the Yeston and Kopit musical. The only problem with that is, in the book by Arthur Kopit, Carlotta cannot sing. Stengal would have to work hard to fake it. :) Maybe it is because I was in the first row, but she really had a powerful set of pipes!
Although I told myself I would be good this time, I truly could not help myself. When Mauer came out and bowed for his curtain call, I did not care that I was in the front row and that I had come to the show alone. I bellowed out my Xena war cry. I could see him smile and giggle as he bowed to the audience.
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