Okay I'm just going to say it. The performance of the Phantom of the Opera tonight just didn't live up to expectations. Sure they had the big chandelier, a jaw-dropping scene in the sewers of Paris and come flashy pyrotechnics. But when did insane operatic singing invade this musical? From the cast recording and the performance I attended back in 1995 in London, I do not remember people shooting for the vocal rafters. I also don't recall being unable to discern a single word during the Ensemble singing pieces. The sound was so muddy and resonating so much that you couldn't make sense of anything. We've seen Wicked and Spamalot at the Paramount over the last few years and I don't remember the sound being that bad. So this causes me to believe the audio levels were off and the performers were needlessly kicking it into overdrive. I also found the soprano particularly shrill. Who knows? Maybe this is the difference between a resident show in places like NY, LA, London, Las Vegas & a touring one.
This was Ken's first time seeing the Phantom and I thought of all the musicals, this would be one that consistently delivers--even the touring version. I suppose it didn't help that we had an understudy playing the role of the Phantom tonight. Tonight's Phantom was played as more of a character to pity rather than fear. But it's hard to see something not live up to it's legacy. I heard people talking about how they'd seen Phantom multiple times in multiple cities. I can't imagine. I'm hoping to see Lion King for the first time when it comes next year but I think I may steer clear of the "classic" musicals going forward and let them live on flawlessly in my memory.