I watched Phantom of the Opera in Singapore on 20th July 2013 at 2pm at the Marina Bay Sands Mastercard Theatre. This musical first debuted in 1986 and is still showing in London. It has been viewed by at least 150 million people all over the world.
I know of many people who have seen Phantom of the Opera several times, either on Broadway or in London’s West End or in the countless of re-productions in Australia, Singapore, Japan and many other countries in the world. Countless of people have also bought and listened to the CD recordings of this musical by the original cast of Michael Crawford (Phantom), Sarah Brightman (Christine) and Steve Barton (Raoul). I for one have seen Phantom of the Opera in London (not the original cast) in 2002 and more than 10 years later .. I watched it again in Singapore.
Somehow, I wasn’t as overwhelmed by the recent viewing as compared to watching it the first time. Why? Firstly, I felt that the singing was not as good. There were many parts where I could hardly hear the singing (this may be due to the bad acoustics at the MBS Theatre) … but there were parts where I could hear .. but the words were either being mumbled or just mashed up with the orchestra. I have listened to the original cast CD (..in fact I own two copies) .. many times since I got it in 1986 as a present from my sister. I know it is unfair to compare the CD to the performance as the CD may be a studio recording as compared to a live performance. However, I can’t help but feel that the singing can be better .. clearer and brighter. The acting was good by the 3 leading cast members (Phantom, Christine and Raoul). The supporting cast members did their part well but yet again when it was time to sing, I found it quite lacking. Again it is rather unfair as the singing I am accustomed to is off the Phantom CD.
The stage / backdrops and effects were very good though I wished the chandelier could have come crashing a lot faster.
As Phantom of the Opera is a musical, the orchestra plays a very big part of the entire production. The orchestra was not too bad except for some parts where I felt that the tempo was going “Allegro” rather than “Adagio.” This was highly apparent during their performance of “All I Ask of You.” Again this is when compared to what I am more familiar with.
Overall, it was a satisfactory performance but to be brutally honest, not a ‘standing ovation’ kind of performance. For first-timers to Phantom of the Opera, this production would be a good one … but for Phantom of the Opera “veterans,” the differences are too wide to go unnoticed.