Rus Articles Journal

How “The Phantom of the Opera“ appeared on a scene?

Last time we stopped that the librettist urgently was required for Andrew Lloyd Webber to embody a plot “The Phantom of the Opera“ (further - “ON“). by

in search of the libretto

At first for this role planned Jim Steynmana - the author of texts of such performers as Meath Louf and Bonnie Tyler, but it was loaded. Loaded there was also an old coauthor of Webber on “Jesus“ and “Evita“ - Tim Rice. He just wrote together with a man`s half of ABBA own musical about cold war - “Chess“ (known at us generally on composition of “One Night In Bangkok“). The following applicant - the author of words to the musical “My fair lady“ - Alan Jay Lerner - agreed, but doctors found in it cancer. Everything, would seem settled down when Richard Stilgou became the librettist.

Were not less actively conducted searches and other experts necessary for representation. Hal Prins (putting “Evita“) became the director after long reshuffles, and the theatrical artist - Maria Byornson.
the Only thing that did not raise doubts - it is Christina Dae`s role written for the sake of Sara Brightman and inspired by it. With the Ghost it was more difficult...

In 1985 Webber presented sketches of the first act “ON“ with Stilgoun`s lyrics the festival to Sidmontone. For this purpose Maria Byornson rented 100 - local church and even managed to organize in it the well-known falling of a chandelier. The ghost Colm Wilkinson sang this time (who sang on “Evita“ before). But as the contract with it everything was not concluded, he decided to go to the musical “Outcast“ (he all - played a role of the Ghost later time on representations Toronto).

And here still Stilgou`s libretto seemed to Webber too yumoristichny and insufficiently romantic. As a result the final choice fell on little-known 24 - summer Charlz Hart whom Macintosh saw at a competition of young composers and librettists. And, though Hart occupied at this competition only 3 - e the place, its first tests satisfied the composer. Charlz long could not believe that he had such happiness. On interview he with firmness drank, incidentally added by Webber in coffee, tea and when saw the name in advertizing of the musical in general was horrified because the libretto was not ready yet. According to Hart in his final version of the text remained which - as from Stilgou - 20% of lyrics and many names of arias.

in search of the Ghost

So at last ended with

drudgeries with librettists, but drudgeries with Ghosts proceeded. After Wilkinson for this role, it seems, claimed the priest - the singer Steve Harley. Besides - with its participation shot the remarkable video with the best-known aria “The Phantom of the Opera“ where the heroine Sara Brightman passes through a mirror and floats to the Ghost on the underground lake.

A. Butuzov`s translation:

K r and with t and N and:
In dreams was you
I sang in a dream …
From a gloom the voice your
Appealed to me …
So I - again sleep?
is clearer and clearer to me,
As though The Phantom of the Opera inside
of my Soul …

P r and z r and to: I Ask
, once again sing
With me a duet! there is no
I of the power
over you stronger!
You though you look back, to
Is obedient to it.
As though The Phantom of the Opera inside
of your Soul …

K r and with t and N and:
you inspire fear
In all the person.
Ya I will become a mask … to

P r and z r and to:
Ya - go - lo - som …

O and:
my (your) spirit and a voice your
Is together stronger,
As though The Phantom of the Opera inside
of Soul (my) your

G about l about with and z and with c e N about y:
It there in a gloom, The Phantom of the Opera … It is so dangerous by
, The Phantom of the Opera …

P r and z r and to:
the Secret of the imagination,
the Hero of dream
Merge in one …

K r and with t and N and: All this
you …

O and:
We rush in a labyrinth,
Where night is more dark.
As though The Phantom of the Opera inside
of Soul of your (mine)...

P r and z r and to:
the Angel of Music, sing to me!

To r and with t and N and:
It there in a gloom, The Phantom of the Opera …

the Clip left at the beginning of 1986 and served as a peculiar advertizing of the forthcoming musical. It is well visible that some details in it look differently, than in a final version. For example, the chandelier successfully breaks directly on Christina`s beloved - Raul. The same and with the Ghost`s mask. It is necessary to tell that in Sidmonton Wilkinson sang parts of the Ghost in the mask which is completely covering the face (as well as it is necessary according to the book). To sing in such mask as you understand, it was extremely uncomfortable, and Maria Byornson replaces it a half mask - at first closing the top part of the face (as in the clip), and then closing its right part. For the last option she desperately fought with the director Hal Prins (to that it seemed that such mask opens for the audience too much) and was not mistaken - this half mask became the real ON symbol.

We will return to a role of the Ghost. What Steve Harley`s surprise when later time, without explaining the reasons, paid it 20 thousand pounds of compensation was and told “Adyo“! It turned out that behind the back of the singer the composer continued searches of more suitable singers. And once, taking away the wife from the vocal teacher, he heard as other his pupil sings. It was very emotional and otherworldly voice - such what the Ghost has to have. The actor Michael Crawford was the owner of this voice. Many apprehended the message on what Crawford will sing the Ghost with irony, it was known first of all as... comedy actor. Doubted also his singing talents. Knowing about the prejudiced relation, Michael spent all forces to prove that he is good in any role. Especially as final statement for a role he waited for nearly a year, having lost already any hope.

A role of the beloved of Christina - Raul - without long searches was given to Steve Barton (singing in the Vienna statement of “Cats“), and work on the musical began to boil at full capacity.

Preparation took place

of the Prime minister in the heated and nervous atmosphere. Musicians were afraid of a chandelier which too quickly fell, nearly touching them. Continued to scoff at Sara Brightman in the press. Between it and Webber public quarrels began to break out. And the composer somehow nearly threw out all the score, having decided that it is unsuccessful.

But Michael Crawford showed tremendous discipline and working capacity. He came before all to warm a voice, and sometimes and remained to spend the night in theater. Also he developed special expressive plasticity of hands (so necessary for the character hidden by a mask), inserted lenses of different color into eyes - blue and white (from what badly saw and to a scene it was brought by hands), and put on boots with a hard high lacing legs (to give to gait of the Ghost painful intensity).

To an official premiere of the musical - on October 9, 1986 - passions were even more tensed, at theater of Her Majesty there had to be a royal family and the princess Diana. Sara Brightman`s doubler is Claire Moore - later frankly said that that day she would pay money for that Sara fell from a ladder.

But the premiere took place surprisingly smoothly. However, actors of the whole 20 seconds stood behind the scenes, listening to a complete silence in the hall... But then welcomed them 20 - a minute ovation standing. Having come for bow, they found also the reason of long silence - many in the hall... sobbed in handkerchiefs.
If the press attitude towards Sara Brightman only became warmer, then Michael Crawford became real “star“. All noted what difficult and emotionally rich monster he played, and some even exclaimed: “Who could think that it has a voice! And what!“.

But while “The Phantom of the Opera“ celebrated triumph, the relations between Webber and his “Angel of Music“ which generated it - Sara, began to die away. But about it in following - final part of article.