I had the chance to catch the Musical Theater of The Phantom of The Opera while they were performing at our very own Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur.
True to a book lover’s nature, I managed to cram the entire book’s dramatic scenes one day before I watched the performance. Honestly, I have heard rave reviews about its performance and I was wishing really hard that the performance outdoes my expectations because I don’t want to be frustrated after having spent so much money on the tickets – as did the book to me. I find the story quite blah and nothing too enticing to shout about.
Except for the fact that the book was published in 1909 authored by Gaston Leroux and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber turn it into the longest ever running theater performance! The show has been running on Broadway since 1986, that is 33 years. So any form of art that withstands three decades surely has its wow factor, and I was very curious to find out after having been disappointed by its book.
Lo and behold, I didn’t expect the performance to be an opera theater – and what I didn’t expect from an opera theater was that I would enjoy it! I was hanging to each and every word uttered by the actors and actresses in their most melodic voices that prompted goosebumps all over my arms, all night!
I was mesmerised by the intricate props and the effects staged in Istana Budaya. I have seen other theater performance in Istana Budaya before, but The Phantom of The Opera brought The Paris Opera House on that very stage that night! They certainly don’t skimp on the smallest details to ensure everything was brought to live during the performance. And that includes the chandelier drop scene!
Of course, the world class props had to be complemented with world class talents to breathe life into the legacy of The Phantom of The Opera. Phantom impressed me with his range of voice. He could utter the name ‘Christine’ in a myriad emotions; in the crispest most desperate voice and in the deepest most commanding voice. The energy from the vibration of his voice was almost magical, as I felt a lump rise in my throat, when it hit me that Phantom was no monster – he was just lonely and wanted company.
I could go on and on about the details of the performance but the there is a different perspective from The Phantom of The Opera that I would like to ponder upon in this blog post. How many hours do to the cast, the backstage personnel practise in a day to get the performance perfect each and every time? How many years of experience does it take to make sure an 180 minutes show executes flawlessly?
The level of mastery I witnessed that night was surely not of an amateur – it was the work of geniuses who practise their craft for endless hours doing what they love so that the world could enjoy a glimpse of their talent.
So here are the three things I learnt from watching The Phantom of the Opera:
- Solitary breeds mastery.
The fact that Phantom is a lonely being and confined to his shadows resulted him in becoming a talented musical composer and a skillful teacher to Christine Daae. Referring to Robin Sharma’s Greatness Guide, spending time in solitude allows a person to feel deeply into his/her craft and create genius work. Being alone gives a tight bubble of focus in which one can produce or learn effectively without any interruption.
Believing that Phantom had spent most of his time since childhood alone in the hidden parts of the Paris Opera House, he had subconsciously learnt to sing and compose masterfully. Had he spent more time outdoors, involved in daily business as a normal boy, he would have had more distraction and not mastered the skill of singing and composing as he did to lure Christine Daae as the Angel of Music.
2. The voice is a powerful tool.
Having experienced an opera show for the first time, I realised that the voice is very powerful and can move a person. Never had I felt so focused and curious on a performance where I knew its storyline. The energy brought forward by the voices of the actors and the actresses not only moved me, it moved the entire Istana Budaya!
I could relate this to a book by Renee Grant-Williams called Voice Power: Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade, and Command Attention. This book not only teaches the tone of voice that sells and convinces, it also teaches the amazing power of pauses.
3. It is all teamwork.
In Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he mentioned about synergy and that creative cooperation brings dramatic results. It is apparent that the entire cast, backstage personnel and (I’m proud to say) The Malaysia National Symphony Orchestra had synergised to create such spectacular performance.
The merriment of each and every personnel involvedi in this musical theater performance resulted in a standing ovation by all the audiences in Istana Budaya that night.
I, for one, was clapping above my head to thank the team for one of the greatest experience in my life!
Now that I’ve told you my shock (and much to my chagrin, how uncultured I am!) at the quality of the theater performance of The Phantom of The Opera, why don’t you tell me about a stage performance that blew you away too? Was it the talent? Was it the props? Was the audience? I would like to know from you how it felt to be among the greatest in their own field. DId it give you shivers of excitement? Let me know in the Comment section below or by replying to my email if you subscribe to The Baini Mustafa Newsletter.
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Until then, see you next week!