5 things you didn’t know about ‘Phantom of the Opera’

The musical is finally coming to Malaysia!

Phantom of the Opera is one of the most enduring musicals of all time. (Photo: Broadway)

Phantom of the Opera opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London, on September 1986 and has since racked up more than 9,500 performances. Having been produced in 150 cities and seen by over 100 million people worldwide, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical became a monster hit thanks to its soaring and operatic music. Now, you can catch it in KL for a limited season at the Istana Budaya from June 15, 2019.

You probably already know the story. Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as the Phantom who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. 

Given its long, award-winning Broadway and West End run, what more could we rediscover about the show? Well, quite a lot. Here are some facts you may not know:

Part of the score is personal, reflecting Webber’s romance with Sarah Brightman
The music reflected Webber’s love at the time with the original Christine, played by Sarah Brightman in London’s West End in 1986. In a 2016 interview with the Washington Post, theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh described Brightman as Webber’s ‘phenomenal muse’. 

The most famous prop in the musical earned praises among critics
The chandelier for the touring production weighs 1,500 pounds and features more than 6,000 crystals and 50 pyro elements. It’s based on the actual Paris Opera House chandelier, but it’s not an exact replica. Trivia: The sound of the chandelier crashing in the 2004 film is an actual recording of the chandelier crashing in the stage show. 

The stage is like a Swiss cheese, full of holes — and actor Michael Crawford thought his leg was on fire
The holes exist because the candles need to rise through them when Phantom leads Christine to his lair. According to This Stage Magazine, Michael Crawford stepped six inches away from where he was supposed to and a candle went up the leg of his pants. He thought his leg was on fire. 

The “Final Lair” scene is more twisted in the book
In that famous scene, Christine must stay with the Phantom to let Raoul live. If she chooses her own freedom, Raoul then must die. In the novel, however, the Phantom threatens to blow up the entire Opera house if she doesn’t choose to stay and be his wife. 

Beyoncé sung a song from Phantom of the Opera at the Oscars
Learn to be Lonely was written by Webber and Charles Hart for the 2004 film adaptation of the play, and performed by Minnie Driver during the end credits. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars. Beyoncé, who performed all of that year’s nominees for Best Original Song, sang the track accompanied by Webber on the piano. Now that’s our Queen Bey. 


Video credit: YouTube



'The Phantom of the Opera' is presented in KL by Lunchbox Productions, Base Entertainment Asia and TEG Dainty. Performances will be held from June 15 onwards, Tues-Fri, 8.30pm; Sat-Sun, 2pm & 8.30pm. Price from RM200. Purchase here


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