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Posts Tagged ‘los angeles’

So I recently got to see Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages in its (at least the current tour’s) final run in Los Angeles.  I have to confess, it was my third time watching it, being nearly six years since the last time I saw it at the Ahmanson.  (I broke my Phantom virginity in New York during my junior year of high school which was spectacular, even in the back rows of the bleacher).  Some may state that it’s a bit abnormal sometimes for guys to be in love with such a romantic, melodramatic musical yet I won’t shy away from saying that really, it is one of my favorites.  Some of the most lavish production values to date, a sweeping and unforgettable musical score, and a smart and simple story that gets its point across.

So I thought since I got to enjoyed my time with the Phantom one “last” time in Los Angeles (until at least it returns again in a few years with a new tour or perhaps the sequel finally hits US shore), I’d go a bit more in-depth with what I liked/disliked about this particular showing and some of my thoughts on the general show itself.

The Hollywood Pantages really is a beautiful place to host such a spectacle-driven musical.  Fitting right in with the fancy set designs and crazy set changes that happen constantly, the dark and gold borders of the stage and the gold pillars that lead up to the stage are more than exquisite.  The production itself includes pretty much all of the normal set pieces and all and even though the show is showing some age, the special effects are still some of the best in the industry.  There was a hitch at one point with the microphones (although how they limit that with all the performers running around is a feat unto itself) but otherwise, it was technical problems-free.

The performances range from a bit stilted and odd to wonderful.  Meg’s performance, for instance, came off as one of the weaker ones, even though her scenes are few while Christine herself, at this particular performance, had a great and beautiful vocal range and operatic voice yet her vibratos and opera voice sometimes were too much and made lyrics hard to hear.  The best of the best was the Phantom himself.  He had a powerful presence with his voice yet his shrills and higher pitches were simply marvelous as well.  True, some may say it’s been done before, yet there is no reason to discard another magnificent interpretation here.

And finally, to end some of my babble and infatuation with the musical, a couple of observations:

-The musical was a lot more melodramatic than I remember it being.  Perhaps it has to do with age and experience but undeniably, some scenes such as the Phantom, during the Masquerade sequence, slowly walking down the stairs with the orchestra punctuating each step, seemed a bit more comical than usual.  Perhaps it has to do with the modern time as well.  However, the interesting point here is that it didn’t detract from the always-intriguing count-and-counterpoint romance story between Christine and the Phantom.  I still find that their romance, their separation, and their re-connection the most fascinating of the story.  I still tear up at the final scene with the Phantom because the musical smartly makes the audience member have to rethink the points of the story and whether to forgive or condemn him in the end.

-The orchestra always are the unsung heroes.  It was funny to notice, though, especially when the Phantom and Christine enter the sewers, that the mist/fog enters the orchestra pit and noticing the conductor furiously conducting to make his baton seen.  It must be quite a section for them all.  Large props to them here for sounding spectacular and although I do not know where the small changes to the music occurred (in terms of which production it changed) but I love the flourishes, the heavier brass, and the lush strings in this production.

-Phantom lives on for me because the core story is simple to understand yet complicated in terms of characterizations.  Pity, remorse, regret, lust, love, compassion, hatred, anger, fear, passion, apathy, jealousy…are just a few of the emotions displayed in the 2 hours and 30 minutes running time.  That’s quite a feat for a production that is highly filled with production gimmicks and watching it again here, it was worth it.  Here’s to OG, who will forever live in the hearts of musical fans and myself.

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So yea,  I’ve decided to keep this blog going (after finding how to change the title of the damn site) and post some of my musings and interesting findings in Los Angeles and the greater region.  Yes, I am originally from California, living in the OC region for most (if not really all) my life.  However, I’ve already found some great places and expect to only find some mores as the week progresses.

I’ve also decided to be a bit more public about this, using tags and possibly expanding this blog further through Twitter and such…we’ll see how far it goes.  But yea, I thought it would just be nice to start the transition process (and yes, I will be blogging reviews again as well soon!)   Here’s to a beautiful year at USC and as a Global Media and Communications student.  Here’s to a year of joys and challenges.  And here’s to a year of good blogging.

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