phantom of the opera

Photo: The Phantom of the Opera World Tour

The Phantom of the Opera needs no introduction even to those without a background in musical theatre.

The world’s longest-running musical made its long-awaited return to Singapore with much fanfare, from an opening night masquerade gala to after-party at 1-Altitude bar. Little surprise, as the iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster has won over 70 major theatre awards over the years, including seven Tony’s on Broadway and four Olivier Awards in the West End.

This is also the first time it has returned since 2013, so excuse my immense excitement.

Photo: Instagram/@meghanpicerno

Gaston Leroux’s timeless tale of a disfigured musical genius known as the Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House and the young soprano, Christine Daae, sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealousy, madness and passion collide.

It has all the ingredients for a compelling story – a wide-eyed protégé, a swoon-worthy male lead, and a tortured antagonist (though some might say he’s the protagonist) – which justifies why it’s the most popular musical in the world.

To date, the 30-year-old musical has played to over 145 million people in 150 cities across 30 countries.

Here are some not-to-be-missed highlights of the show:


1. Spectacular vocals and cast chemistry

Photo: Instagram/@mattleisy

Jonathan Roxmouth (the Phantom), Meghan Picerno (Christine Daae) and Matt Leisy (Raoul de Chagny) were pitch-perfect as they displayed their range and emotion. From intimate moments between reunited childhood sweethearts Christine and Raoul to the passion-charged scenes between Christine and the Phantom, the leads shone on stage. Supporting cast like Carlotta and Piangi also added comic relief that had the audience roaring with laughter.

The cast also boasts a camaraderie that shone through on stage, which makes watching the show a delight. “These people are my family,” says Meghan. “Theatre is a very human experience and I love being a part of that. I can also feel the audience and their energy, and I love connecting with them.”


2. Mesmerising production

phantom of the opera production

Photo: The Phantom of the Opera World Tour

You know a show is in a league of its own when the production is large-scale. With breath-taking sets and stage effects, The Phantom of the Opera is all about the pomp and pageantry, flaunting its flamboyance in notable scenes like the Masquerade Ball (costumes galore!) and the Phantom’s Lair, which was lit by 281 in-laid candles on the stage and ran through 250 kilograms of dry ice.

Photo: Instagram/@meghanpicerno

More than 230 costumes have been designed for the musical by the late international designer Maria Bjornson.

The signature Masquerade Ball scene also brought the full 37-strong international cast onstage, showcasing the splendour of its visuals.


3. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s compositions

christine and raoul

Photo: The Phantom of the Opera World Tour

With 13 musical and numerous accolades to his name, Andrew Lloyd Webber is irrefutably one of the most well-known musical theatre composers of all time. Stirring tunes such as Think of Me, All I Ask of You, and the titular Phantom of the Opera are now widely recognisable and have spawned countless string covers on YouTube. Listen to these classics played live by the 11-piece orchestra led by music director and conductor David Andrew Rogers.

Like Meghan said, “Music is a universal language, a way to connect people. We don’t have to all speak English to understand the show; you can hear the melodies and understand.”


4. At its heart, a story about beauty in humanity


Photo: The Phantom of the Opera World Tour

The story, first published in 1909, has seen many renditions and interpretations. Yet, the characters have withstood the test of time. Aside from the themes of what beauty truly is, there is also the character arc of its heroine that women can relate to.

Meghan Picerno cites the challenges in portraying Christine as, ironically, one of its draws.

“As a woman of 2019, there are some distinctions between me and my character, given that this is a period piece,” she says. “It’s a very different time. I consider myself a strong woman, but in order to portray Christine, I had to be vulnerable and naïve at the beginning so that she can grow as a character. In the end, she takes her power back, and that transformation of her becoming a woman is very rewarding to portray.”


Photo: Instagram/@thewritesofpassage

As a Phan (Phantom of the Opera fan) myself, the performance was nothing short of enchanting, the tunes every bit as intoxicating as the first time I watched the 2004 movie starring Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson. The rooftop scene with Christine and Raoul moved me to tears, the Phantom’s lair scene hypnotised me, and the stellar performance by the cast had me riveted till the curtains fell and we rose to give a standing ovation. Watching this much-beloved tale brought to live before my eyes was nothing short of magical, and I found myself swept away, yet again, by the music of the night.


The Phantom of the Opera is now airing at Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands until 8 June. Tickets are on sale through SISTIC and Marina Bay Sands ticketing.