The Phantom of the Opera (Manila) inside my mind!

Friday, October 12, 2012 1 comments
             Finally! I can officially say that I already have watched the musical The Phantom of the Opera.  Thank you so much to those who have brought PotO here in Manila! And for extending the show! No words can truly explain how amazed I was of this production, but I'll try my best! I'm so enthusiastic right now, I don't know where to start! 

This is going to be a long one...


      It took us an hour and a half to travel to CCP, because of the traffic (from Bulacan). I thought I was going to be late. Imagine my nerves, but I thought of only positive things. I arrived at about 7:05 pm and since I was the only one, my strategy was to follow and blend in with the crowd but that didn't work! I entered the side entrance and followed the wrong people so I went back in the said entrance and just asked the guard. As I went up the staircase, there were already a lot people. 

          The first thing I did was to ask about my ticket because I have an e-ticket since I bought it online, I asked this lady by the PotO booth and she said that I should have it validated (if that's the right word) first. In the cashier booth, the lady just asked for the printed e-ticket, credit card used and a valid id and told me that they'll be letting us in about 7:30 and that I should use the center entrance. 

        So I waited, took a couple of shots of the place with my camera phone which explains the blurry pictures. Darn it's sad to be alone, no one to talk to while waiting nor no one to take my pictures with the backdrops and stuff (I'll explain later how I manage to have my photos taken). I did not tried to talk to anyone because they mostly have someone with them and because I'm too shy. But I did survived. Up in the third floor were wall photos were you can have your pictures taken and an exhibit of a couple of costumes.  

    There were also people selling PotO memorabilias including shirts, caps, mugs, accessories, audio cds, etc. I bought a souvenir program and browsed through it while waiting. I really wanted to buy the PotO bracelet or necklace but I was out of money. 

Souvenir booths

Souvenir Program


       7:30 came. I fell in line, ushered, and was seated in no time. It's my first time (I think!) in CCP main theater and I was expecting a bigger/ wider stage like that of the Resorts World, but still it was great and the upper side boxes were so cool. My seat was on 307D, 3rd row, 7th seat left side orchestra. I thought I was so near the stage and that maybe I wouldn't be able to appreciate the stage as a whole but I couldn't ask for a better seat than that (ney! maybe the center orchestra will do fine too). The only thing that I didn't like about the theater was their screaky, somewhat unscrewed seats. I couldn't move that much (I tried to move as finess as possible) since my seatmates would totally be bothered or annoyed.  I hope they would change it already to a more comfortable ones. 

      I was seated in the middle of two groups of people. I thank them (whoever bought second) so much for choosing to leave a one seat gap because I wouldn't be sitting there if it wasn't for them! On my right was an old lady (with her Louis Vuitton bag) accompanied by her husband and I guess friends. They made me smile as I sit beside them. They look like those rich old people  trying to just enjoy their life. The only time I talked to the said lady was when she dropped her husband's jacket while the performance was going on and she was really nice to look at me and say thank you! That was the sincerest thank you I have heard in my life. She kind of reminds me of Christine Daaé when she gets old. We never (PotO movie fans) get to actually see her in her old age but if I were to imagine her it would be exactly the women I was seated next too. She's beautiful despite her old age and talks sweetly and she sings the national anthem just fine.

        Now with the musical itself. Sorry if I would compare it to the movie musical version. Warning to those who haven't watched the musical yet! If you don't want to be spoiled on what's going to happen or what to see in the musical, I suggest you don't read further, but if you insist to, then so be it! 


       The story actually have some differences between the book and the musical adaptation, which got me really confused. But this is basically the story- of Romance and Music.

       In 1880s time, comes a story of Erik/the Opera ghost/the Phantom, a musical genius, who wears a mask. He became obsessed with Christine Daaé, a ballerina/chorus girl in the opera house, and trained her to sing. Christine considers the Phantom as the "Angel of Music" her father sent her as promised before he died. With that in mind, she would obey the phantom and consider him as her teacher/tutor. The Phantom considers the opera his possession and wants it to run exactly as he liked it to be, one of which is to make Christine the prima donna of the Opera Populaire, and if his orders are not followed badly things happen.

      The phantom eventually revealed himself to Christine in a mirror and brought her to his lair down below the opera house. She slowly felt admiration for him but the moment she removed Erik's mask and exposed his deformed face, Erik bursts out his emotions of anger and sadness. On the other hand, in one of Christine's show, Raoul, her considered childhood sweetheart remembers her, and eventually confessed his love for her and plans to hide her from Erik. Christine, even though controlled by Erik, also admits her feelings for Raoul but she pities  Erik which makes it hard for her to think things. The jealous phantom then engages on a revenge. 

        Christine, torn between her two lovers, confused and scared, has to choose one at the end of the story. Would it be the love of her life, her protector, Raoul or the Phantom who turns out to be an unloved outcast, her teacher, her angel of music? 

ACTS, SCENES etc. Bombarded with pictures.

     It started with the prologue where an auction is taking place in Paris' Opera Populaire years after the aftermath. And like in the movie there was the transition from black and white (darker feel) to a colored one (such a weird but creative thing if you think of it because it's actually a flashback), the rise of the chandelier, the lights, the dust, the curtains. But it was kind of slow, suddenly you'll realize that you're just looking at how the curtains and stuff goes up and down. It was just a boom! and not the boom! boom! pow! in the movie! (But I don't blame them, I know it's the editing of the movie) 

Overture: that slow part I just explained. 

Act One

     The Rehearsal of Hannibal, where the new owners were introduced to the cast and crew of the opera. Funny scene is when Monsieure Lefevre said "If you need me, I'll be in Boracay", cue laughter. 

      After the "Think of Me" scene of Christine, I love how they make us feel that we were at the back of the curtains, which is slightly opened for us to see Christine's back while she is being applauded and receiving flowers. 

Raoul in Christine's dressing room, reminiscing their childhood days. 
"Little Lotte"
That's the mirror where Phantom revealed himself to Christine.
"Angel of Music"

In the lake, where candles started floating out of nowhere and the candelabras begin to move from the side and rise as well. 
"Phantom of the Opera"

Before this part. You will be amazed of how they showed the labyrinth/staircase. 
That was really brilliant! 

In Phantom's lair. 
"Music of the Night"

(not in Manila)
The Next Morning. 
"I Remember"
(not in Manila)
Erik composing with his piano. 

   Il Muto 
"Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh"

(not in Manila)

Rooftop of the Opera scene. At least 4 kisses, I think!
"Why have you brought us here/Raoul I've been There", "All I Ask of You"

(not in Manila)

This angel statue was in the stage frame. It slowly went down halfway the stage and Phantom was in it (hiding). 
"All I ask of You (Reprise)"

Entr'acte: People selling memorabilias, late people coming in. Me looking through the program souvenir to see the name of the guy who danced as the shepherd in the Il Muto scene and noted some things to remember for my blog post. 

Act Two

New Year's Masquerade

(not in Manila)
  "Why So Silent"

Raoul and Madame Giry's talk about the story of the Phantom. That lamp is so cool!

(not in Manila)
Graveyard scene 
"Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"

No sword fight in the graveyard scene, but what seems to be a fire bursting staff was present. 

   Don Juan Triumphant 
"The Point of No Return"

(not in Manila)
Final Lair.
Erik making Christine choose. Him...

(not in Manila)
or Raoul?

Christine kissed Erik twice. 
Erik let them go and eventually disappears after Christine gave him the ring. 
I love the effect that the Phantom has a view of Raoul and Christine leaving, just like in the movie. 


      Scenes not shown in the movie. Apparently there weren't just one Notes scene (I can get used to that melody and how the cast would walk about the stage in different directions) and The Rehearsal for Don Juan Triumphant (see Christine's expression there!). 

     The transition from one scene to the next were smoothly done and flawless from my point of view, as well as the change of the wardrobe on stage (plus points on the functionality for the wardrobe peeps). 

     Now to my favorites. First, I'd like to mention my favorite scenes in the movie. The Masquerade (I have mentioned in my previous post why I loved it) and the All I ask of you Scene in the rooftop (Raoul sings sweetly to Christine, loved that scene). 
      My favorite scenes in the musical (the ironic thing is that some scenes that I did not appreciate that much in the movie I did here and those I loved in the movies were a little bit unsatisfying but great as well considering all things- maybe because I expected too much) were the: (top 5)

Il Muto (it was really funny!)
The Phantom of the Opera scene (It was so powerful and the stage was really magical with the mist and the candles). 
Don Juan Triumphant (I thought it was funny that the Phantom is wearing an overall black cloak, but I really enjoyed it and I really loved the whole scene especially "The Point of Not Return". In the movie I only liked the part where Phantom began singing All I ask of you). 
The graveyard scene (Watching Claire sing "Wishing you were somehow here again" was just heart breaking), and definitely, my top is the 
Ending scene at the lair where Christine was bound to make her decision (A lot of emotion there from Christine and Erik, really got me teary-eyed).

CURTAIN CALL Well deserved standing ovation!


      From the very start I was already totally amazed by the stage designs, props, backdrops and every now and then another great thing comes out. The wooden wheelchair, the monkey playing cymbals on top of the music box, the elephant, the moving candelabras , the gondola, the stage frame,the royal boxes in the opera, were so cool. The chandelier was a different story. I didn't like it that much because it doesn't look that grand in actual compare to the pictures of it that I saw, maybe because of it's shape (I don't really get why). But the way it moves about the theater is just fantastic! 

      There were also some things in the movie that I was looking for. Like the bed! Where in that grand lair is the phoenix bed!? I love that bed so much and its curtain! And there were no mirrors in Phantom's lair and no wax seal on the letters.

      I love all the costumes especially those of Christine's and the Masquerade people. Gosh those must have been so difficult to make (and to wash!) with all the details and layered fabrics. My favorite costumes were the the blue dress of Christine, the one Meg Giry wore in the Masquerade and the one Darren Greeff wore, but I could not find a picture of it. Lastly, I just want to say, I love the top hats! Here's a video on the costumes/wardrobes.

      KUDOS to the Bernard Fitzgerald (head of props) Eugene Titus (head of wardrobe), their teams and of course to the late Maria Bjornson (She's amazing) I want to be one of them, do what they do. What they do is definitely pure passion and love. 

     I find it funny and fun to watch that every time the dancers/ballerinas would be excited in a particular scene they would sort of leap or jump. It was so cute. Also when they would think that the phantom was there one member of the cast that would sing "The Phantom of the Opera..." The choreography was sensational and the dancers were executing them smoothly and with so much grace (I wish I have the same talent).I also love how the sound effects were done, and how the voice of the Phantom comes from different corners of the entire theater. All the music were great as ever, it's like the first time I've heard them and fell in love with them.  

    Kudos to Orchestra members, Guy Simpson, Patricia Merrin and Gilliane Lynne! Clever people!

What a superb, talented cast!

       Just random comments to some of the cast here: Monsieur Fermin (James Borthwick) was too serious for me at some point, Monsieur Andre (Jason Ralph)'s expressions were really funny, Carlotta (Andrea Creighton) has an amazing voice and was funny as well, though she didn't quite irritate me as Carlotta in the movie, Piangi (Thabiso Masemene) was funny as well, Madame Giry (Rebecca Spencer), I find her scary, Meg Giry (Cat Lane) was lovely to watch.

         I have a crush in the cast, and it's not Anthony nor Jonathan. He is Darren Greeff. He was the shepherd boy dancer in the Il Muto ballet scene. He was so handsome! I was waiting to see him again and I did, firing up the lights on the stage. But! There's a but! I looked if he had a fan page in facebook, but what I saw was his personal account, and apparently most of the pictures were public. And obviously he's gay! but I wanted it to be official so I searched it up and then I read "an openly gay dancer" Awww, that hurt me! Not again! Why are good looking men (I have a crush on) most of the time, turn to be gay. But anyway, I still like him!

     Raoul/(Anthony Downing)'s fans will kill me. But I have to say that I prefer Patrick Wilson's voice because Anthony sounded like the Phantom to me because of his big voice. I'm so sorry, it's just that the moment I hear Patrick sing in the movie, I know it's Raoul, very distinct, if you know what I meant. But still, Anthony was very pleasant to watch and really a handsome guy! Prince charming type! (Could not find a decent photo during the show) For a moment I actually thought he was looking at me from one of the theater boxes using his binoculars after which he smiled! (So assuming me!)

     The Phantom/ Erik (Jonathan Roxmouth) is really worthy of praise. His voice is so powerful and his gestures were so intricate. I love how his voice and expression change from an angry phantom to a longing-for-love one. I couldn't help but be sad seeing him crawl across the stage crying, and crying again at the end after Christine kissed her. Did I mention how dashing and good-looking he is?! 

     But of all, Christine (Claire Lyon) was surprisingly amazing! I have watched the movie so many times but Christine (Emma Rossum) never moved me the way Claire did! The Phantom/Erik moved me in the movie, but last night Christine totally seized me! She was so great! I could watch her all day long! Her voice and expressions were unbelievable. A very versatile performer she is: a great dancer, great singer, great actress- she could be funny, playful, lovely, dramatic, etc.. And of course, needless to say, but I'll still say it, she was so beautiful!  She seems very nice too basing from what I've read. I hope I could see more of her performances soon. I'm a big big, huge, humongous fan. I love you Claire Lyon! 

          It was worth the wait, worth the screaky seat, worth every peso I spent,worth going alone, worth wearing a dress and curling my hair! 

         Kidding aside, it was really a spellbinding experience.  So visually pleasing and audibly enchanting! The spectacle of the PotO truly astounded me! You'll find so many reasons to love this musical! No wonder that this has been the longest running musical in the whole world. I wish someday I can be part of a production this big and magical! Bravo! Bravo!

Kudos to all who have made this musical so special, from the cast and crew,
especially to Gaston Leroux, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart and Harold Prince!

     I asked my sister to bring our camera when they pick me up so that I could have my picture taken outside the CCP theater where there is also a backdrop of PotO, but then it became more than that! We went inside and took pictures of almost everything I could. Which explains why I have my pictures above. I super thank her for taking an effort, it really was, because our camera is broken and we could just use the manual mode. There were still a lot of people buying PotO memorabilias and having their pictures taken after the show. So I do suggest to do your picture taking after the show, they already don't mind the cameras (FYI, they don't allow cameras (camera phones can be used) inside the CCP, so you have to surrender it before entering, though I could still see some cameras inside). I just wish I could have my program souvenir signed or taken my pictures with the cast as well! But then again, just watching them truly gives me such an honor! They're superb! 

 Wall posters in the third floor.

         So happy! PotO hang over! Took some pictures of the souvenir program. Liked all the fan pages in facebook and started to write this blog entry. But then I was sleepy so I decided to finish it next time. But still I was thinking about PotO as I close my eyes and went to sleep. 

That's it! Thank you for reading! :)
Love Never Dies next time please! or Les Miserables :)

Credits: (Like their facebook pages) (props) (meg giry's masquerade costume) (cast and scenes) (his pictures)

Follow them on twitter! (I don't have one! booo me!)


  • Kevin R. said...

    I came across your blog and thought this was great! So happy you got to see it (although it was a couple years ago from now when I am writing this)!!! I still remember my first time seeing it so many years ago. By now I've seen it somewhere around 20 times and never grow tired of it! I hope you get to see it a lot more!! Thanks for the fun entry!

    -Kevin (from Minnesota in the US)

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