VIBRANT AND BEAUTIFUL
Of any musical that touches down in Toronto, The Phantom of the Opera has a special place in Hogtown primarily due to the it’s endless run that finally wound down in the late 90s.
And you just know that when Cameron Mackintosh brings around his personal touch to the deeply cherished fan favourite, it’s gonna be magical and then some.
In the stop or two it’s made since then then, there’s been a tendency – no names mentioned – to play some of the characters in The Phantom of the Opera with a tad too much melodrama. Luckily for Toronto theatre goers, the latest cast avoids this trap never distracting from the narrative with mannerisms or hammy performances, making this revisit to the adored staging an absorbing experience, even when one already knows what is going to happen, and to whom.
Quentin Oliver Lee in the title role has a suitably booming voice, at its best in the lyrics that require considerable power. Those pronouncements about “a disaster beyond your imagination” are convincing, and overall, his performance is flawless. Jordan Craig as Raoul has considerable stage presence, and a palpable sense of urgency when he sets about executing his plan of action against the ever-scheming Phantom.
It’s the girl, Christine Daaé (Eva Tavares) that both the Phantom and Raoul prize, which sounds a tad misogynistic, except to say (spoiler alert) the choice is ultimately hers. The vocal is sublime, at the right pitch and at the right volume, quite an achievement in a role that could (and indeed has) been done with too much belting.
The character’s emotions are highly discernible – the lack of confidence, for instance, when she is invited to audition for a leading part for the first time, demonstrates vulnerability; later, when she and Raoul sing the magnificent number ‘All I Ask of You’, it’s almost impossible not to be impressed by the intensity of the warmth between them. In Act Two, Christine’s ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ is utterly delightful.
Tavares puts in an engaging performance playing a tortured young woman under pressure, soliciting sympathy from the audience. Such a controlled and nuanced interpretation added depth to the production as a whole, and every high note was, in a word, impeccable.
Enchanting as ever, The Phantom of the Opera remains vibrant and beautiful, and in fine form.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Andrew Lloyd Webber June 7 – June 27, 2018 PRINCESS OF WALES THEATRE, 300 King Street, Toronto TICKETS $79.00 – $220.00 www.mirvish.com 416-872-1212 CAST Quentin Oliver Lee, Eva Tavares, Jordan Craig, Edward Staudenmayer, David Benoit, Trista Moldovan, Kristie Dale Sanders, Phumzile Sojola, Emily Ramirez, Patrick Dunn, Emma Grimsley, Constantine Pappas, Herb Potter, Daniella Dalli, Jay Lusteck, David Foley Jr., Victor Wallace, Marguerite Willibanks, Jordan Ensign, Sarah Mossman, Shane Ohmer, Blake Zelesnikar, Carmen Vass, Stephen Mitchell Brown, Adam Bashian, Edward Juvier, Adryan Moorefield DIRECTOR Laurence Connor CHOREOGRAPHY Scott Ambler, SET Paul Brown COSTUMES Maria Bjornson LIGHTING Paul Constable VIDEO & PRODUCTION DESIGN Nina Dunn