The musical "The Phantom of the Opera"
To create the most box office performance of the 20th century by its author, Andrew Lloyd Webber, pushed love - he had to write a stunning game for his bride, Sarah Brightman. No wonder that this performance was “The Phantom of the Opera” - the story of the all-consuming passion of the ugly outcast to the young singer in the romantic scenery of the 19th century Paris theater. The musical genius greatly survived the union of the composer and his muse - they parted just a few years after the premiere, and The Phantom of the Opera has not left the world stage for more than three decades and is the most long-playing show on Broadway.
Phantom of the Opera
lonely hermit living in the basement of a theater
young dancer of the Paris Opera
Raul, Viscount de Chagny
her childhood friend, philanthropist
directors and owners of the Opera
Prologue, 1905 An auction is being held in the building of the Paris Opera, an old props are being sold out. Among the audience is an elderly Raul de Chagny. He draws attention to one of the lots - a music box, whose melody carries him many years ago ...
In the Paris Opera - new owners and directors, Firm and Andre. Viscount Raoul de Chagny becomes the trustee and patron of the theater. A young dancer from the corps de ballet Christina Dae recognizes her childish comrade in him. The girl soon lost her father, the famous violinist, and spent her entire youth in the theater. But to her friend Meg Giry, Christine admits that she also learned to sing - in the theater her mentor was an invisible voice, which was presented by the Angel of Music.
Under the threat of an evening performance, Carlotta left the rehearsal with scandal, but Madame Giry announced to the owners of the opera that Christina knows the main part. The premiere is saved, the audience is delighted with the young singer. Raul congratulates an old acquaintance with a debut and invites to dinner. But when Christina is left alone, a mysterious voice forbids her to leave the theater. The girl follows the Angel of Music, falling into his underground dwelling.
Raoul is concerned - Christina has disappeared, he is looking for her in the theater. Firm and Andre are outraged - they received letters signed by the Ghost, they contain instructions that henceforth Christine, not Carlotta, should sing the main parts in operas. But the girls are still not there, and the directors beg Carlotta to return. That one has its own conditions: a young competitor should not receive noticeable roles. At the evening performance, Kristina returns to play the Page. The ghost, enraged by his disregard for his requirements, kills the working scene and spoils the mechanism that holds the chandelier. A multi-ton lamp falls into the auditorium right during the performance, a fire begins. Christina and Raul are saved on the roof; she tells him that the Ghost, aka the Angel of Music, does exist. Raoul tells her about love and promises to protect. The ghost of the opera hears their mutual confessions, burning with jealousy.
Some time later a masquerade is being held at the theater. At the height of the fun, the Phantom appears, demanding to stage his new composition, the opera Triumphant Don Juan. Suddenly, he notices Christine's engagement ring, donated by Raul. Ghost rips decoration and hides. Raoul sees the reaction of Madame Giry and demands truth from her. She tells the sad story of a rogue child, who was shown in a circus because of outward deformity, turning worse than an animal. He managed to escape from his cage and settled in the basements of the theater - incredibly talented and tragically lonely.
Raul decides to grab the Ghost at the premiere of "Triumphant Don Juan", which he cannot miss. During the performance, Christina realizes that her partner is the Ghost himself. She tears off his mask, revealing to the public a disfigured face. The ghost in a rage carries her into the bowels of the theater. Raoul rushes next - Madame Giry told how to find his home, but the Ghost captures the young man in the lasso. Christina is faced with a choice - to spend her whole life with a monster or allow him to kill Raoul. She feels compassion for the unfortunate and agrees to stay, kissing him. The ghost is moved by her kindness and realizes that she sacrifices herself for love. He releases the captives and sits in a chair, wrapped in a raincoat. When people find the Phantom's lair, Meg Jiri lifts the cloak from the chair, under which there is only a mask.
|Duration of performance|
|I Act||Act II|
|75 min.||70 min|
- In 2014, the Phantom of the Opera with a revenue of $ 6 billion gave way to the box office performance of the musical "The Lion King", which earned 200 million more.
- On Broadway, by 2012, The Phantom of the Opera was played 10,000 times and became the most long-playing musical in history. On the West End, he is the second after "Les Miserables".
- In 1987, the heirs Giacomo Puccini filed a lawsuit because of plagiarism - the climactic phrase of the aria of the Ghost "Music of the night" seemed to them borrowed from the aria "Quello che tacete" in the opera "The Girl from the West". The question was settled out of court, the amount of compensation remained undisclosed.
- In another lawsuit for plagiarism, Lloyd Webber has been on trial for 8 years. American Ray Pepp considered that part of the music from the title theme of the musical was taken from his song "Till you". Sir Andrew filed a counterclaim that the song, in turn, was copied from his early work "Joseph and his amazing multi-colored cloak of dreams." As a result, Ray Pepp completely lost the case.
- The chandelier, which with a speed of 2.5 meters per second falls almost on the audience, weighs 1 ton and has a diameter of 3 meters.
- It takes 2 hours to put on the make-up of the Phantom before going on stage.
- Each performance involves 130 people, artists dress 230 costumes.
- On January 22, 2018 in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, its soloists gave a call for the opening of the NASDAQ stock exchange.
- After the British and American productions, the third survivor is the performance of the Madach Theater in Budapest - it has been running continuously since 2003. The Hungarian production is also interesting because it was the first one that was allowed not to transfer the original version of the musical to the stage, but to create one's own.
- In 2010, the premiere of the musical Lloyd Webber "Love never dies," the plot of which is the sequel to "Phantom of the Opera" and tells about the events that occurred with his characters a few years later. The musical received negative criticism, modest fees and closed after 1.5 years of hire on the West End. The planned Broadway production never took place.
"The Phantom of the opera" - Ghost and Christine duet (listen)
"All I ask of you" - a duet of Christina and Raul (listen)
"Music of the night" - Phantom aria (listen)
"The point of no return" - Ghost and Christine duet (listen)
History of creation and productions
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber all his life trying to write a romantic story, and as soon as he bought an old edition of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera at the New York second-hand bookstore, he immediately realized that he had finally found the right story. The search for the librettist repeatedly ran into unexplained obstacles: Jim Steinman was too busy, and Alan Jay Lerner became seriously ill. The composer turned to co-author of a previous work, "Star Express", Richard Stilgo, with whom he created the concept and the libretto. Poems were written by a young budding poet, Charles Hart. Scenographer Maria Bjørnson recreated in detail the luxurious and mysterious theatrical atmosphere with a wide staircase, a magnificent auditorium and dark dungeons of the Paris Opera.
About who will get the part of Christina, it was known before the appearance of the musical: this image was created specifically for the young wife Lloyd Webber Sarah Brightman. In the part of the Phantom, rock singer Steve Harley appeared in the trailer of the musical, but since the musical became more than just a rock opera, the composer began to look for a more versatile soloist who would be subservient to rock, pop, and classical. And I realized that this simply does not exist. The premiere, scheduled for April, had to be postponed until the fall, the directors were close to despair.
Find the Ghost helped case. The composer brought his wife to vocal classes and, waiting with her for the beginning of the lesson, he heard from behind the door a magnificent performance of an aria from Handel's opera. He inquired about the name of this student and was very surprised by the answer - he was the well-known comic actor Michael Crawford. He starred in sitcoms and participated in musicals, and at some point decided to do classical vocals. In Webber's head, it all came together — both the voice and the image. Crawford was invited to audition, but rather for the sake of formality, there were no other equally obvious candidates for the role of the Ghost.
Hal Prince’s performance opened on the West End on October 9, 1986, on Broadway on January 26, 1988. On the grand success of this show the best epithets say impartial statistics:
- The show is still going on in London and New York, where about 25,000 performances have already taken place;
- Cash fees for the entire existence of the musical exceeded 6 billion US dollars - no more performance or film has earned;
- The musical was seen by 140 million people in 35 countries of the world, it is translated into 14 languages;
- The Phantom of the Opera has more than 70 prestigious theater awards, including 3 Laurence Olivier Prizes, 7 Tony Prizes;
- In the world, 40 million discs of the musical have been sold.
Following London and New York, the musical was heard in Australia, Austria, and Canada. In 2014, the Phantom of the Opera was staged in Moscow in Russian, the performance went on for two years.
The film "Phantom of the Opera"
In 2004, the film "Phantom of the Opera" was released on world screens. Produced the picture himself E. Lloyd Webber, directed by Joel Schumacher. This project matured over the course of a decade - the Warner Brothers studio acquired the rights and announced it back in 1989. But if the wedding of Lloyd Webber and Brightman contributed to the creation of the musical, their divorce in 1990 put an end to the planned film. By the end of the 90s, when it was no longer possible to shoot the artists of the first composition of the musical, the studio tried to reanimate the project and began to look for an actor for the main role, looking to John Travolta, then to Matthew McConaughey, then to Antonio Banderos . The latter even performed a number from the musical at the anniversary concert of Lloyd Webber. But the plans did not go further.
Then Sir Andrew bought back the rights to film adaptation and, having invested a considerable amount of his own money in it, in 2003 began production. The filmmakers paid special attention to casting. The role of the Ghost, as it seemed at the beginning, would have been a good fit for Hugh Jackman - an artist who has performed musicals more than once. But he turned out to be so busy at other shootings that he could not even come to the tests. Then Schumacher remembered Gerard Butler. Despite the fact that the artist never sang professionally, he had the necessary temperament. Butler, before listening, took several vocal lessons and was approved. For the role of Christina tried Keira Knightley, Katie Holmes and Anne Hathaway. In the end, they chose a young and little-known actress Amy Rossum, who received a nomination for the Golden Globe for this role. Raul was entrusted to play with a Broadway artist Patrick Wilson.
For the movie Lloyd Webber and Hart, the song "Learn to be lonely" was written, which was nominated for an Oscar. The song sounds on the closing credits, and Minnie Driver performs it. It is noteworthy that the actress, who played the role of Carlotta, did not sing a single number in the frame - opera passages instead were played by Margaret Price. In addition to the driver, all the other artists coped with their vocal parts on their own.
With a total cost of 70 million dollars, the film earned 155 million, even despite the cool attitude of critics: among them, the picture did not have high ratings and was called "devoid of both romance and danger."
In 2016, the Parisian premiere of The Phantom of the Opera was to be held. This would be a truly significant event - the performance of the musical in the city, where its events unfold. But on September 26, a fire broke out at the Mogador Theater, which significantly damaged the stage and destroyed the scenery for the production. The premiere was postponed indefinitely. A familiar story, isn't it? It seems the Phantom of the Opera is really somewhere near ...