The Phantom of the Opera needs no introduction. Adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber from Gaston Leroux’s classic novel, this iconic production has wowed audiences worldwide since 1986, becoming the longest-ever running musical on Broadway and the second only to Les Miserables on the West End.
Hence it may come as a surprise that this year sees its first production in the Sydney Opera House. Originally slated for early 2021, Phantom of the Opera was delayed by Covid lockdowns until opening this August.
This new Cameron Mackintosh production is sharp, slick and snappy. As soon as you enter the Joan Sutherland Theatre, your eyes are drawn to the gigantic chandelier looming over the audience. A cobwebbed stage heightens the sense of drama even before the action begins. And oh, what action ensues?
Opening with a 1919 auction of artifacts from the Paris Opera, the auctioneer soon announces Lot 666 – a chandelier that is associated with a famous disaster involving the mysterious Phantom of the Opera. When the chandelier is turned on, sparks fly, and the thunderous organ chords of the title song immediately grab your attention.
The score never lets go until the end, as hit after hit transports you into a world where Christine Daae, a sweet young soprano is suddenly thrust into the spotlight under the influence of a mysterious masked Phantom who has a strange obsession with her. Christine’s stunning voice draws the attention of the handsome Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who turns out to be a childhood friend. He courts her affections, and the ensuing love triangle underpins the story.
Amy Manford sparkles in the role of Christine, light of foot and clear of voice. Blake Bowden is a dashing Raoul, but Josh Piterman gives the standout performance, inhabiting the titular role with the stunning range of his vocals. His Phantom is in turn raging and tender, fearsome and vulnerable, hateful and loving.
Weeks after watching this show, a familiar tune pops into your head, making you hum along on your train ride to work, oblivious to the strange looks coming your way.
Where: Sydney Opera House
When: Now until Sunday 16 October, 2022
Book tickets: Click here