24.11.2016 14:46

The Phantom of the Opera Enchants Prague: a musical legend in Czech production

Autor: Dominika Bayerová | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

It is never really easy to take a legend and transform it from the comfort of movie studios to the hard reality of theatre stage. That is why the news of a Czech production of this legend, based on Gaston Leroux’s book which slowly made it into the shelves of “classics”, filled me not only with hopeful expectations, but also with a kind of fear. Is anyone able to transform Webber’s Phantom of the Opera to our country and do it justice?

To be fair to the producers, the job in front of them was everything but easy. They had to translate the well-known songs, had to cast opera singers into a musical and, above all, needed to find the way how to get a theatre into a show/music hall. Nevertheless, the main producer – František Janeček, along with Petr Novotný as a director, were successful even in this difficult task.

In this mysterious and well-known story we meet Christine Daaé, a ballet performer, who is being taught to sing by a mysterious teacher, “Angel of Music”. She doesn’t know who he is or whether he is a human at all, but her voice proves that this “teacher” is very capable. By coincidence (or maybe it is not coincidence at all) she gets to play the main part in Hannibal. Christine’s debut is triumphant and it does not last long until she is the star of the Opera Populaire, with her teacher (who later reveals himself as the Opera Ghost or the Phantom of the Opera) supporting her success. He only wants Christine for himself as a payment for her achievement, but Christine has already fallen in love with her childhood friend, the Vicomte de Chagny…

The choice of actors was really good, especially under the circumstances (musical with opera parts in it). Many not-so-well known faces appear on stage, but every last person fits into the character. Michaela Gemrotová and Tereza Mátlová as the main singers, Christine and Carlotta, both sing really well and hit every note they are supposed to hit. Radim Schwab’s Phantom is the perfect combination of mysterious and terrifying but somehow interesting man.

To get to the stage itself: the scene and its changing can be described only as “breathtaking”. The musical is set into the GoJa music hall, a big pyramid-like building, whereas its plot is supposed to take place in and on (the roof of) an Opera. Every single one of those scenes, familiar from the 2004 movie, is there – and much more. Within seconds, the false theatre changes to vintage stairs which turn into a lake separating the Opera cellars from the Phantom’s lair in dungeon. It feels almost surreal, as if there was some kind of magic going on. The magnificent costumes were heavily inspired by the movie and the original production, but not copied and they are pleasurable to look at. And there is a lot to see – over 200 different costumes are used! 

Although I was a bit nervous about the Czech production of this world-known musical, I have to admit it is really worth your time and the journey into Prague. Famous melodies along with very capable artists, colourful Czech language and nice set create a wonderful musical experience. Not only musical or theatre lovers, but also mystery and fantasy fans will enjoy the play to the last minute. However, if you decide The Phantom of the Opera deserves your attention, then hurry – the final performance is planned on December 18th.



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