November 14, 2011
I was lucky enough to go along to the Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary concert last month, where I was romanced all over again by one of my earliest favourite musicals. Whether you’re largely pro- or anti-Lloyd Webber, you can’t deny the brilliance of the piece as a whole. Its (allegedly filched) arias and duets soar with gothic romance, its dashing goodie and twisted baddie are almost equally fanciable, Christine wears some stonking lingerie – in the movie version, at least – and don’t even get me started on the mist, gondolas and rogue chandeliers. The DVD of the Royal Albert Hall concert that marked the show’s quarter-century is released today and, WEG that I am, I’ve already bought my copy.
The 25th anniversary was as opulent and gaudy as the Opera Populaire should be – see my review here – although it lost a little of its haunting, wistful quality with all the projections and pyrotechnics. Still, it was worth any amount of Vegas-style pomp to see the chemistry explosion that is Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess. Their voices were endlessly impressive, their performances intense and dedicated – this was the Ramin and Sierra show. I’d still rather see the Christine and Phantom show, but you can catch that at Her Majesty’s six nights a week. Incidentally, Karimloo is set to don his convict’s beard and move to Les Mis, and I’ll certainly be booking. Is he too hot to age 20 years and die over the course of an evening? Only time will tell, but he’ll certainly sing the roof off while attempting it.
If you love the music of Phantom, you’ll want to see this daring, fully-staged version. The four tenors’ version of The Music of the Night (featuring Colm Wilkinson, Anthony Warlow, John Owen-Jones and Peter Jöback) at the end was also gorgeous – although you’ll have to grit your teeth through Sarah Brightman’s part-hilarious, part-disturbing appearance. It was sort of Mariah Carey meets Bride of Chucky, via that Whitney Houston appearance on the X Factor. And all with that same 80s hair.
Anyway, some fabulous performances and a sumptuous budget make a fitting celebration of Phantom, and while I don’t think they quite topped the Les Misérables 25th anniversary in terms of emotion and tribute, they certainly had a better casting team. Still shuddering at the thought of Jonas. Enjoy the DVD and let me know your thoughts!
June 17, 2011
The eek-worthy rumours are true! Idina Menzel has added a London date to her current tour! The Elphaba-creating, Maureen-mooing, Enchanted-starring, barefoot-singing goddess of musical theatre will grace us with her presence (at the Royal Albert Hall, no less) on 6th October. Never have I so wanted summer to hurry the hell up.
If you’re not already a huge Idina fan – firstly, get off of my blog. Secondly, this would mean you have missed out on her basically unbeatable performance in Wicked, her show-stealing portrayal of Florence in Chess in Concert (also at the RAH) AND her fabulous cameo as Vocal Adrenaline coach/Gay Dads’ babymama on Glee. Not to mention her definitive performance as Maureen in the original cast and wonderful movie version of Jonathan Larson’s Rent.
As well as being musical theatre royalty, Idina has come out with two very respectable pop-rock albums, including some great tracks on the 2008 release, I Stand. As someone who has never caught her in a show, and fearing she might be settling down to family life more and more with hot hubby Taye Diggs and baby Walker, I am definitely not missing this one.
Videos of Idina live (and her assertion in the Daily Mail that she will go barefoot to perform) suggest she is passionate, committed and almost spiritual when commanding the stage.
The show, ‘a diverse repertoire of musical theatre and classic pop favourites’, will no doubt include some Rent, some Wicked, and maybe a little Funny Girl. I have my fingers crossed for all three. As well as the sheer strength and clarity of Idina’s voice, we will also be treated to the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, led by songwriting legend Marvin Hamlisch. Lucky London.
Idina, charming as always, recorded this little video message for her London fans (with the help of Mr Diggs):
Tickets are £25-75. Call 0845 401 5045 or book at http://www.royalalberthall.com/