Lifestyle: The Phantom of the Opera

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(Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)

It has been staged twice in Singapore, first in 1995 at Kallang Theatre then a most successful sold-out run at the Esplanade Theatres in 2007. In between, it was also given an airing on our big screens with Gerard Butler as the tortured protagonist.

But it seems, Singaporeans still can’t get enough of this timeless story, adapted from a novel penned by French writer Gaston Leroux in 1911, which tells of a tragic love a disfigured and tormented musical genius has for his beautiful and talented protégé, Christine.

The Phantom of the Opera” musical, which is back in Singapore since July 16 and is taking up residence at the Marina Bay Sands’ Grand Theatre, has seen a spectacular box-office thus far. New tickets added to the classic musical, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986, have been snapped up instantly.

This is, of course, nothing new for the timeless musical which celebrates its 26th year on Broadway this year, making it still the longest-running musical to date. Along the way, the much loved musical, characterized by elaborate sets and wardrobe as well as stirring music like “Music of the Night”, has picked up 130 million audience members in 27 countries and earned more than US$5.6 billion.

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(Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)

Also returning to our sunny shores along with the show is American actor, Brad Little. The 49-year-old is only one of four actors in the musical’s history to have performed the tortured lovelorn “Phantom”. Having acted in more than 2,200 shows across the globe, including the 2007 run in Singapore, Little says he never got and will probably never be bored with his role. “I know what an honor it is to be one of the gentlemen to play the man behind the mask. I keep that in the back of my mind every time I step on the stage. (On how I keep myself fresh,) I have the beautiful privilege to perform opposite two wonderful Christines. Each of them are very different in their take on the role but both have such truth to their performance it makes me always stay fresh and on my toes.”

And taking on the role of the ingenue “Christine”, is Australian songstress Claire Lyon. The 26-year-old was previously a ballet dancer before delving into classical singing. Prior to “The Phantom of the Opera”, Lyon was an understudy for Christine in the musical’s sequel “Love Never Dies”. On whether it was stressful to act against a most experienced Little, Lyon said, “Not at all. Brad and I have come to form our own bond and we really trust each other on stage and the choices that each of us make. We just have fun up there every night and enjoy the whole experience.”

Brad Little and Claire Lyon have been performing to a hectic schedule of about eight shows per week so we at Wedding & Travel are very lucky indeed to have an interview with them. Read on about what the two leads have to say on love for their respective characters and the classic musical.

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Brad Little and Claire Lyon as the Phantom and Christine. (Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)

W&T: Which is the most difficult scene for your role?
Claire: One of the most difficult scenes is actually ‘Think of Me’. I have a quick change into an extremely heavy skirt which weighs me down a fair bit, not to mention I’ve just done a whole scene full of dancing so I can get a little puffed at times.

Brad: The first scene the Phantom has, when he sings “Music of the Night” is the most difficult. This is because, you sing the most famous song from the show right at the beginning of your night on stage. You must be high-energy and perfect.

W&T: What is it that you love most about “The Phantom of the Opera” and your role?
Claire: I love the journey I get to go on every night. I start out as a naive young girl and grow into a woman throughout the course of the show. I also love that I get to do classical ballet as well as sing and act which is quite rare for a lead role.

Brad: (I love most that) I’m a part of musical theatre history. “The Phantom of the Opera” will continue to amaze people long long after I retire and have left this world. To be a part of this legacy is truly mind blowing.
It wasn’t until playing the Phantom that I learned how important it is to the people of the world. It is therapy without having to see the doctor. The letters I receive, on how Phantom has changed their lives, has made me realize that the show is far more than just entertainment. So, it gives me thoughts about life. Big time!

“The Phantom of the Opera” is on from now till Sept-1 at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing, 6688-8826 or in person at the Marina Bay Sands Box Offices or SISTIC.

Ticketing information as below:

Day/Times

VIP

A Reserve

B Reserve

C Reserve

D
Reserve

E Reserve

Tue – Fri – 8pmSat – Sun 2pm & 8pm

$230

$165

$145

$125

$95

$55