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Classic musical impresses viewers with singing and set design

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The Phantom of the Opera contains intricate sets and classic opera styles.

FC Cantiamo and Bellezza choir groups tour New York City as part of their visit to Carnegie Hall. After attending the American Museum of Natural History and touring Central Park previously that day, the group entered the Majestic Theater to view Phantom of the Opera.

Phantom of the Opera recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary, making it the longest running show on Broadway ever. The show is based on the horror novel by French author Gaston Leroux, and has then since been adapted into several films. It was in 1986 that Andrew Lloyd Webber brought the story to life through theater, adapting it into a musical.

The musical follows Christine Daaé (played by Ali Ewoldt), a rising star soprano in the grand Paris Opera House. Her talent is a result of the tutelage of the Phantom (Laird Mackintosh), a mysterious man who seems to haunt the cast and set of the opera house. As the story progresses, the Phantom grows more dangerous, threatening Christine and others. With the return of Christine’s former lover, Raoul, Christine is torn between a life with this cryptic Phantom and an escape to reality.

Phantom of the Opera is beloved by many people, making it one of the most popular musicals in Broadway history. This charm was not lost on me. The acting, sound effects and production was all phenomenal.

One of the most impressive parts of the musical was the use of props and mechanical layout to enhance the overall experience. The set design included a moving boat in mist, large candelabras, a giant cage, and a mini opera house on stage. At several points real fire was used, contributing to the dark and suspenseful tone of the musical.

Although the set design definitely strengthened the musical’s atmosphere, the performance of the actors stood out the most. Ewoldt’s portrayal of Christine perfectly complemented Mackintosh’s role as the Phantom, showing the strained relationship the

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The interactions on stage made the musical realistic.

two had. The duet in the song “Music of the Night” was exceptional, and was personally one of my favorite parts of the musical.
The entire cast performed marvelously, sufficiently supporting Ewoldt and Mackintosh. Raoul, played by Rodney Ingram, contrasts the Phantom’s obscure character. Ingram recently left the Broadway production of Aladdin to pursue this role. His portrayal of Raoul’s youthful nature and romance with Christine added a deeper element to the story, leaving the audience unsure of who Christine values more.

The colorful costumes also made the musical visually spectacular to watch. The ballroom dance in the song, “Masquerade” in the beginning of Act II gained audible gasps from the audience as the curtain parted and the full cast was revealed. The Phantom’s signature mask as well as his cape were just some of the costume pieces that accentuated the plot.
 
The FC group also viewed Aladdin on Broadway before performing at Carnegie Hall.
For more about the choir in New York, see Choirs take New York City: Part 1 and Singing in the Big Apple, campus choirs take New York.

Cathryn Vander Kooi can be reached via email and Twitter.

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