The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
|The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall|
|Directed by||Nick Morris
Laurence Connor (stage direction)
|Produced by||Cameron Mackintosh
|Story by||Gaston Leroux|
|Based on||The Phantom of the Opera
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
|Music by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Edited by||Lawrence Huck
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall is a 2011 British film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical The Phantom of the Opera, which in turn was based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, three special performances were filmed at the Royal Albert Hall, the third of which was screened live worldwide on 2 October 2011. For further releases, footage from all three performances was edited together.
To mark the extraordinary milestone of 25 years, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh planned a special 3-day production to take place at London's Royal Albert Hall in October 2011. Designer Matt Kinley initially planned to hold a concert-style production not unlike the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary concert at the O2 Arena, but Mackintosh made it clear the show would be fully staged, as both he and Lloyd Webber felt it would not work unless it was the whole show. As a result, the event was planned as a full show.
Royal Albert Hall
Designing the staged show at the Royal Albert Hall was a daunting task, as the space (or lack of) was not an easy one to translate a proscenium show into. As a concert hall rather than a theatre, many of the show's elements (such as the chandelier, which instead of falling, exploded) had to be toned down and simplified: the Royal Albert Hall was simply not capable of accepting a show the size of The Phantom of the Opera, or at least not the full original. The balconies of the hall were used to build uprights to form an opera house proscenium with boxes on each side. The orchestra was elevated on a platform and backed by a gauze which projected the opera sets via LEDs.
Tickets for the three performances sold out within five hours of going on sale. In order to enable more people to see the production, the final performance was relayed live to cinemas around the world via Fathom Events.
At the fictional Opera Populaire (based on the Paris Opéra House) in 1905, an auction of old theatre props is underway. Lot 665, purchased by the elderly Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, is a music box in the shape of a monkey; it is familiar to him, and he speaks of a mysterious "she" - that the details of the strange little music box appear "exactly as she said." Lot 666 is a shattered chandelier that is claimed by the auctioneer to have been related to "the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera, a mystery never fully explained", having appeared in some great disaster in years past. As the chandelier - which has been replaced, in part, with new electric wiring - is uncovered, it illuminates as the years roll back and the Opéra returns to its 1880s' grandeur ("Overture").
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It is now 1881. As Carlotta, the Opéra's resident soprano prima donna, rehearses for that evening's performance, a backdrop collapses without warning. The anxious cast members whisper about "The Phantom of the Opera", who Carlotta reveals has been troubling the Opera Populaire "for the past three years". The Opera's new owners, Firmin and André, try to downplay the incident, but Carlotta angrily chastises the pair for saying "these things do happen" and storms offstage, closely followed by Monsieur Piangi. Meg Giry, the daughter of the Opéra's ballet mistress Madame Giry, tells Firmin and André that Christine Daaé, a chorus girl and orphaned daughter of a prominent violinist, has been "well taught", and could sing Carlotta's role. With cancellation of the performance their only alternative, the owners reluctantly audition Christine, and to their surprise she is exceptional in the role ("Think Of Me").
Backstage after her triumphant début, Christine confesses to Meg that she knows her mysterious teacher only as an invisible "Angel of Music" ("Angel of Music"). The new patron, Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, finds Christine, his old childhood playmate, in her dressing room. Christine reminds Raoul about the "Angel of Music" stories that her late father used to tell them, and confides that the Angel has been visiting her and given her her astonishing voice. Raoul good-naturedly accepts her revelation, and invites her to dinner. Christine, to his puzzlement, is not as willing, claiming that her Angel is a stern taskmaster and that he will not be pleased by her absence. Raoul jokingly states that he will not keep her up late and exits, telling her that he'll be back for her in two minutes. ("Little Lotte"). Christine fearfully calls after him that "things have changed" as the jealous Angel of Music condemns Raoul for "sharing in my triumph". Christine begs him to reveal himself. The Angel obliges and materialises in her mirror. The mirror opens, revealing the Angel to be the Phantom of the Opera, who leads Christine away. Raoul finds Christine's dressing room empty and calls out for her. ("The Mirror (Angel of Music)"). The Phantom and Christine cross a subterranean lake to his secret lair beneath the Opéra house. ("The Phantom of the Opera"). The Phantom explains that he has chosen Christine to sing his music and serenades her ("The Music of the Night"). Overwhelmed, Christine faints and the Phantom carries her to a bed and expresses his adoration for her.
As the Phantom composes music at his organ ("I Remember"), Christine awakens to the sound of the monkey music box. She slips up behind the Phantom, lifts his mask, and beholds his face. The Phantom rails at her, damning her for her curiosity as Christine hides herself in fear. The Phantom ruefully expresses his longing to look normal—and to be loved by her. ("Stranger Than You Dreamt It"). Christine returns the Phantom's mask to him and the Phantom leads her back to the Opéra house.
Meanwhile, inside the Opéra House, Joseph Buquet, the Opéra's chief stagehand, regales the chorus girls with tales of the "Opéra Ghost" and his magical lasso. Madame Giry warns Buquet to exercise restraint ("Magical Lasso"). In the managers’ office, André and Firman read notes from the Phantom aloud and are interrupted by Raoul, who accuses them of sending him a note saying that he should make no attempt to see Christine again. Carlotta and Piangi then burst into the office, demanding to know who sent Carlotta a note saying that her days at the Opera Populaire are numbered. As André and Firmin try to calm the distressed Carlotta, Madame Giry delivers another note from the Phantom: he demands that Christine replace Carlotta in the new opera, Il Muto, or there will be a terrible disaster "beyond imagination" ("Notes…"). Firmin and André assure the enraged Carlotta that she will remain the star, begging her to "entrance us once again" ("Prima Donna"). The performance begins well, with André and Firmin joking about the disaster the Phantom threatened. The Phantom's voice suddenly cuts through the performance, angrily reminding them that he had instructed them to keep Box 5 empty for his use. As Christine whispers that she knows the Phantom is near, Carlotte reminds her that her role is silent, calling her a "little toad". The Phantom states that it is Carlotta who is the toad and reduces Carlotta's voice to a frog-like croak. Firmin quickly tries to calm the situation by telling the audience that Christine will take over the starring role, moving forward the ballet to keep the audience entertained. Suddenly, the corpse of Buquet, hanging from the Phantom's magical lasso, drops from the rafters. Firmin and André plead for calm as the Phantom's diabolical laughter is heard. ("Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh").
In the ensuing chaos, Christine escapes with Raoul to the roof, where she tells him about her subterranean rendezvous with the Phantom. Raoul is skeptical, telling her that what she experienced was just a dream. ("Why Have You Brought Me Here?/Raoul, I've Been There"). Seeing Christine's fear is real, he swears to love and to protect her always. They acknowledge their love for each other as Christine and Raoul return to the Opera House ("All I Ask of You"). The Phantom, who has overheard their conversation, is heartbroken and accuses Christine of denying and betraying him. He tearfully rues that Raoul was "bound to love you when he heard you sing". As Raoul and Christine's expression of love for each other reverberates through the rooftops he angrily vows revenge, destroying the Opéra's mighty chandelier with a massive explosion as the curtain falls. ("All I Ask of You (Reprise)").
Six months later, in the midst of a splendid masquerade ball, the Phantom, costumed as the Red Death, makes his first appearance since the chandelier disaster ("Masquerade/Why So Silent?"). He announces to the stunned guests that he has written an opera entitled Don Juan Triumphant. He demands that it be produced immediately, with Christine (who is now secretly engaged to Raoul) as the lead female role, and threatens dire consequences if his instructions are not implicitly obeyed before vanishing in a ghostly flash of fire and smoke. Raoul demands that Madame Giry tell him about the Phantom. She reluctantly replies that he is a brilliant musician and magician born with a terrifyingly deformed face, who escaped from captivity in a travelling freak show and disappeared.
During rehearsals, Raoul - tired of the tyranny with which the Phantom rules the Opera - thinks to use the première of Don Juan Triumphant as a trap to capture the Phantom and put an end to his reign of terror once and for all. Carlotta falsely accuses Christine of being the mastermind and that it is her plan so she can be the star. Christine angrily defends herself, saying that it is not true. Carlotta storms out in rage. Raoul, knowing of the Phantom's obsession with his fiancée, asserts that the Phantom will be sure to attend ("Notes/Twisted Every Way"). Christine, torn between her love for Raoul and her fear of the Phantom, visits her father's grave, longing for his guidance but understanding that she must move on ("Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"). The Phantom appears, once again under the guise of the Angel of Music ("Wandering Child"). Christine, tired and heartbroken, once again accepts her "Angel" as a friend, nearly succumbing to the Phantom's influence, but Raoul arrives to both rescue her and confront The Phantom. The Phantom taunts Raoul, magically summoning pillars of fire at them ("Bravo, Bravo") and causing them to flee. Furious, the Phantom sets fire to the cemetery, waging war upon them both.
Don Juan Triumphant opens with Christine and Piangi singing the lead roles. During Don Juan's and Aminta's duet, Christine comes to the sudden realization that she is singing not with Piangi, but with the Phantom himself ("The Point of No Return"). Mimicking Raoul's vow of devotion on the rooftop, the Phantom once again expresses love for Christine and slips his ring onto her finger; Christine rips off his mask, exposing his horrifically deformed face to the shocked audience. Chaos ensues. Piangi's garroted body is revealed backstage, the cast and audience fly into a state of panic, and the Phantom seizes Christine and flees the theatre. An angry mob, vowing vengeance for murder Buquet and Piangi, searches the theatre for the Phantom, while Madame Giry tells Raoul how to find the Phantom's subterranean lair, and warns him to beware his magical lasso.("Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer").
In the lair, Christine is forced to don a wedding dress. Raoul finds the lair and attempts to persuade the Phantom to spare Christine, begging him to show compassion. The Phantom refuses, stating that "the world showed no compassion to me" and claiming that his intention was never to hurt Christine for Raoul's "sins." The Phantom captures Raoul with his lasso and turns to Christine - he bargains that he will free Raoul if she agrees to stay with him forever; if she refuses, Raoul will die. Christine, heartbroken, tells the Phantom that it is his soul that is deformed, not his face. As the Phantom and Raoul both plead to her, Christine mournfully wonders what kind of life the Phantom has known. She tells the Phantom that he is not alone and kisses him, showing him compassion. The Phantom, having experienced kindness, at last, understands that he cannot compel Christine to love him. He sets them both free, telling them to forget about "this angel in hell". Christine returns the Phantom's ring to him, and he tells her he loves her. Christine exits with Raoul. Lamenting that, without Christine, "it's over now, the music of the night", the Phantom makes his way to his throne and covers himself with his cloak. Meg enters the Phantom's lair and pulls away the cloak, finding only the Phantom's mask. She holds the Phantom's mask up and looks out to the audience as the lights fade to black.
After the cast bow-out, Andrew Lloyd Webber delivers a speech to the audience before bringing out the Royal Albert Hall creative team, the original creative team, as well as the original leads from both the London and Broadway productions, and the original London cast, including Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Brightman sings "The Phantom of the Opera" with five Phantoms: Colm Wilkinson from the Canadian production, Anthony Warlow from the Australian production, Peter Jöback, who has now played the role in the West End, Broadway, and Sweden, John Owen-Jones from the London and 25th Anniversary Tour productions, and Ramin Karimloo. The performance concludes when the five Phantoms sang "The Music of the Night", along with the entire cast and creative teams.
- Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom
- Sierra Boggess as Christine Daaé
- Hadley Fraser as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny
- Wendy Ferguson as Carlotta Giudicelli
- Liz Robertson as Madame Giry
- Daisy Maywood as Meg Giry
- Barry James as Monsieur Richard Firmin
- Gareth Snook as Monsieur Gilles André
- Wynne Evans as Ubaldo Piangi
- Nick Holder as Joseph Buquet
- Earl Carpenter as Auctioneer
The production was recorded live and later released on Blu-ray, DVD, CD and digital download. The initial releases were in the UK on 14 November 2011. The digital download format was released three days earlier on 11 November. The North American release followed on 7 February 2012.
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