The Phantom of the Opera
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe
Libretto: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe by Gaston Leroux’s novel “The Phantom of the Opera” from 1911
West End: 9th October 1986
Broadway: 26th January 1988
TM ROMA: 15th March 2008
The second most popular musical in a history of West End (after LES MISERABLES), at the same time musical which was played for the longest time in a history of Broadway – uninterruptedly since 1988. As a matter of fact there was a similar situation in London – musical “The Phantom of the Opera” is staged continuously in the same theatre (Her Majesty’s Theatre) since the day of premiere in 1968.
Polish staging was a second non-replica production in TMT Roma that is original author’s vision of Wojciech Kępczyński. This is a rare privilege – the majority of world-wide productions of musical classics are replicas, performances taken from West End in the same version as original one. Earlier in Warsaw it was the same with musicals “Miss Saigon” and “The Cats” – TMT Roma’s staging varied in a positive way from the original (and frequently old-fashioned). The same happened to the Polish version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, but that time producers went one step further. Not only was the spectacle modernized and produced with film fluency but also it was placed in the historical setting, legendary Paris Opera.
A famous chandelier. A scene on the roof of the opera in the shadow of a sculpture closing a vault of a building.
The stairs of theatre foyer, where an action of “Masquerade” was placed in realities of Garnier Opera in Paris, never before replayed with such accuracy. Underground maze of The Phantom – with a famous lake – are a combination of theatrical technique with film animation. The character of The Phantom is different as well thanks to the mask created by Waldemar Pokromski, a make-up artist form Hollywood. Illusionistic effects were prepared by Sławomir Piestrzeniewicz and each evening there a surprise for an audience of TMT ROMA. However, the effects are not a factor that make this romantic story a success. It is the musical itself that entraptures and moves and is provokes thoughts.
Who is the mysterious Phantom of the Opera? A musical genius? But how did he get there and why does he live underground and hide his face from the eyes of the people? The love of Christine, the main protagonist, is a mystery even for her – who is she going to choose? A young count, a childhood friend? Or a mighty but scary Musical Angel? Polish interpretation of “The Phantom of the Opera” exceeds a history of a love triangle in unusual scenery of Paris theatre. It is a theatre with a very up-to-date message concerning – more and more important in today’s world – problem of a confrontation with “the different one”, our tolerance and our subconscious fears. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s visit in TM ROMA was a huge sensation. Legendary “King of musical” – for the first time staying in Poland – came especially to see “The Phantom of the Opera” since he had heard many praises from his co-workers. He visited Warsaw scene on 15 November 2008, spoke to the public and praised Polish producers and artists.