Can you hear “The Music of the Night”? The Phantom of the Opera is now playing at the Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas Performing Arts Center. The show plays through April 4, so you’ve still got time to catch it before it leaves town. Tickets run from $25 to $72 and can be purchased online here.
As a former band nerd, I grew up playing Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s music so I fell in love with the songs of The Phantom of the Opera long before I ever saw the musical. I’ve since seen the production in London’s West End, the 2004 Joel Schumacher movie version (featuring a badly miscast Gerard Butler as The Phantom) and the Las Vegas spectacle Phantom (which condenses the story and adds more explosions, causing my husband to dub it “The Michael Bay Version”), and I have to say that the Bass Concert Hall production held up well in comparison. All three of the leads had more than capable voices (particularly Trista Moldovan as Christine Daae) and gave strong performances. For traveling productions, it can be difficult to compete with permanent venues like Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, where the set design is fully incorporated into the theater, but I thought the art direction and set design were wonderful. We were close to the front, and the chandelier swooped right by us, which was pretty fun.
If you’re not a musical fan already, I don’t think “The Phantom of the Opera” would be the production to turn you into one. Based on the French 1911 novel by Gaston Leroux, “The Phantom of the Opera” musical opened in 1986, and it’s steeped in that decade’s penchant for over-the-top glitz. Everything about the musical is oversize, decadent and heavy on the drama. If a 1980s hair metal rock star and your boy-crazy drama queen best friend had a baby, it would probably look like Phantom.
For me, the music is what makes it all so good. Every single song is beautiful and evocative and unbelievably taxing to sing. But the story and central love triangle don’t really do much for me.
Raoul is kind of boring but noble, and the Phantom veers a bit too much toward batshit crazy for my taste, even though I usually find myself rooting for him.
After seeing this production on Tuesday night, I decided I would love to see a version of The Phantom of the Opera starring Adam Lambert as The Phantom. He would bring the perfect amount of drama and glamour to the part, and if you’ve ever heard his hauntingly gorgeous cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” (see here), just imagine how amazing his voice would sound singing “Music of the Night.”