Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera opened at the Arts Centre Melbourne on Friday the 4th of November. Guests included Tottie Goldsmith, Rhonda Burchmore, Simon Gleeson, Todd Woodbridge, Tony Jones, Jo Hall, Jennifer Hansen, and Alan Fletcher to name a few.
This spectacular new operetta musical production combines a full orchestra of 27 superb musicians, and a cast of 37 talented actors, ballet dancers and singers making it one of the largest musical productions of all time in Australia. This stunning reworked production is aided by magnificent and intricately detailed costumes and spectacular set pieces that are fantasy-like and mind-blowing, letting our imaginations run rampant.
The Australian cast is led by Josh Piterman in the coveted lead role of the Phantom while Amy Manford takes on the role of the ingénue Christine Daaé and Blake Bowden plays Raoul Vicomte de Chagny. The cast is flawless with Josh Piterman and Amy Manford a standout for me. I dare to say they are the most superb operatic voices I’ve possibly heard in a production of this calibre for many, many years.
Josh Piterman is thrilling and emotional to watch, he is mesmerising playing the role of the phantom both in character and in voice. Josh (the Phantom) is the masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and sets a ghost-like terror over all who inhabit it. The Phantom eventually falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all the devious methods at his command. However, as time goes on and the mask comes off, we see his deformity which pulls at our heartstrings and even that of Christine, as he declares ‘Christine, I love you.
Australia is the third country to see this new PHANTOM production with its beloved hit songs The Music of the Night, All I Ask of You and Masquerade. The new sets and staging with many special effects including a spectacular new realisation of the show’s chandelier and firework-type explosions are thrilling.
This all-new revival and cast I am obsessed with, and would love to see it again. It’s easy to see why it is still one of the most loved musicals of all time. The songs are the same, but the operatic intensity and multi-layered vocal arrangements have been lifted.
Reviewed and written by Melinda Sullivan.