Love Never Dies - all views allowed

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  LadyCDaae on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:03 pm

operafantomet wrote:
Also, apparently RUG announced an upcoming German production of LND to follow the Copenhagen one. And the German is supposed to lead up to the long announced Broadway premiere. We'll see, we'll see....

Given the hard time Rebecca has had getting to Broadway, I'll believe that when I see it....

~LCD

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Scorp on Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:09 pm

I copy and paste verbatim an extract from an earlier post by yours truly in this very thread:

parasite |ˈparəˌsīt|
noun
an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.
derogatory a person musical that habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.


I now give you this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=K9UPeMjIKZY#!

Sorry to say it, but if this sort of practice continues so relentlessly I do fear that my love for the first show (which, I hasten to add, Cameron said was already ALW's "most complete work" BEFORE the second was written), WILL die.

This boxset is like a Phantom nightmare. I didn't like the RAH production, which I saw live, and my thoughts on the other disc in this set are obvious. If anyone gives me this as a Christmas present, I fear I may suffer a not-very-festive cardiac arrest.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  AlwaysChristine on Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:57 am

The new trailer for Love Never Dies Copenhagen is on
http://www.detnyteater.dk/

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  LadyCDaae on Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:06 am

So I finally forced myself to sit down and watch the DVD of this, and....ugh. To be fair, they did fix maybe half a dozen things that I hated about the OCR (Christine no longer has that horrid "Forgive me, I beg you" verse, there's much less pointless chorus business, and about two dozen iterations of the word "beautiful" were cut). But this still leaves roughly 4,994 things that are still wrong with it. Like how the score is Lloyd Webber at his most mediocre and self-derivative, with several laughably bad moments (and "Bathing Beauty," which should be laughably bad but instead is just...bad). Or how absolutely nothing plot-relevant happens in the first fifteen minutes. Or how the entire second act revolves around two men deciding which of them "owns" a woman based on who does the better job of manipulating her into doing what he wants. Or how the trio of freaks contribute absolutely nothing useful beyond a few lines of exposition. Or how the single most idiotic moment in the entire Idiot Plot comes from the guy who's supposed to be smarter than everybody else in the room. Or, or, or...

Does anything actually work? Well, Christine and Gustave are kind of cute together in "Look With Your Heart" (despite it being an ALW-on-autopilot ballad). "Till I Hear You Sing" is an okay song, if you ignore the annoying self-pitying lyrics. The sets are nice in a generic nightmare-carnival way, and the cast does try. But it's in the soul of this show that the distortion lies, and no amount of dressing it up can change that.

~LCD

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  NightRachel on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:12 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:But it's in the soul of this show that the distortion lies, and no amount of dressing it up can change that.

~LCD

Yes indeed! Amen to that!

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Bric on Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:04 am

LadyCDaae wrote:So I finally forced myself to sit down and watch the DVD of this, and....ugh. To be fair, they did fix maybe half a dozen things that I hated about the OCR (Christine no longer has that horrid "Forgive me, I beg you" verse, there's much less pointless chorus business, and about two dozen iterations of the word "beautiful" were cut). But this still leaves roughly 4,994 things that are still wrong with it. . . .
~LCD

I've watched it only once and that some time ago so I would like your opinion. Does the Phantom in this show ever do, demonstrate, show anything that could be seen as LOVE in all his interactions with Christine---love as opposed to selfish obsession or possessiveness?

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  LadyCDaae on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:16 pm

Bric wrote:
I've watched it only once and that some time ago so I would like your opinion. Does the Phantom in this show ever do, demonstrate, show anything that could be seen as LOVE in all his interactions with Christine---love as opposed to selfish obsession or possessiveness?

No. The only thing he does in the entire show that is even decent in any way is telling Christine to go away with the kid after he learns he's the daddy, and that a) seems more about his own personal anguish than her best interests and b) only lasts through intermission before he goes right back to being a selfish manipulative dick. Even the ending is more about his loss of Christine than her getting killed in a profoundly stupid and senseless manner. Love never dies? Perhaps, but can something die if it never really existed in the first place?

~LCD

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Scorp on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:38 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:Love never dies? Perhaps, but can something die if it never really existed in the first place?

It'd be interesting if ALW really did derive (the appropriate verb to use, I feel, since there isn't really anything about this show that *isn't* derivative) this show's title from the Bram Stoker's Dracula film.



That's a film which, despite its title, is not actually *that* faithful to Stoker's novel; especially the whole Dracula-Mina relationship, which was invented and then seems to have been carried on into later versions of the tale, including a very poorly received Dracula sequel by a descendant of Stoker himself (the reviews aren't much better than those for Forsyth's Phantom of Manhattan). Likewise, this show seems to assume that the Phantom and Christine did love each other, even in the original show. This is the show's basis, but it is moot. Phantom was a story of unrequited love. That, among other things, was one of the very core elements of its appeal. Love Never Dies attempts to turn the story, including that of the original, into one of love that was actually requited, but simply frustrated by various events. It's a change that turns what's already a dodgy premise into one that is downright ridiculous and unbelievable.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Bric on Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:03 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:
Bric wrote:
I've watched it only once and that some time ago so I would like your opinion. Does the Phantom in this show ever do, demonstrate, show anything that could be seen as LOVE in all his interactions with Christine---love as opposed to selfish obsession or possessiveness?

No. The only thing he does in the entire show that is even decent in any way is telling Christine to go away with the kid after he learns he's the daddy, and that a) seems more about his own personal anguish than her best interests and b) only lasts through intermission before he goes right back to being a selfish manipulative dick. Even the ending is more about his loss of Christine than her getting killed in a profoundly stupid and senseless manner. Love never dies? Perhaps, but can something die if it never really existed in the first place?

~LCD

Thanks, that's what I thought I remembered.

It's a singularly inappropriately named show. "LUST Never Dies" maybe, there is some of that. When Phanty shows up, Christine resist until he touches her, and then she's a gonner.
"Self-Pity and Whining Never Die"---for sure.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:39 am

[quote="Scorp"]
LadyCDaae wrote:Likewise, this show seems to assume that the Phantom and Christine did love each other, even in the original show. This is the show's basis, but it is moot. Phantom was a story of unrequited love. That, among other things, was one of the very core elements of its appeal. Love Never Dies attempts to turn the story, including that of the original, into one of love that was actually requited, but simply frustrated by various events. It's a change that turns what's already a dodgy premise into one that is downright ridiculous and unbelievable.

I do tend to think the attraction between the Phantom and Christine isn't entirely one-sided--certainly she's drawn to him, and may even reciprocate his feelings after a fashion. But over the course of the story it becomes perfectly clear that it's a mutually destructive relationship and needs to end. Coming to understand this is a key point in the Phantom's character development and is at the heart of his redemption: he cannot hold Christine in a situation that will ruin her, so he relinquishes her. That's what really frustrates me about Love Never Dies--it thinks it's about tragically star-crossed love, but it's about a couple people who just need to let go--which was pretty much what they were doing the last time we saw them.

~LCD

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Bric on Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:10 am

[quote="LadyCDaae"]
Scorp wrote:
LadyCDaae wrote:Likewise, this show seems to assume that the Phantom and Christine did love each other, even in the original show. This is the show's basis, but it is moot. Phantom was a story of unrequited love. That, among other things, was one of the very core elements of its appeal. Love Never Dies attempts to turn the story, including that of the original, into one of love that was actually requited, but simply frustrated by various events. It's a change that turns what's already a dodgy premise into one that is downright ridiculous and unbelievable.

I do tend to think the attraction between the Phantom and Christine isn't entirely one-sided--certainly she's drawn to him, and may even reciprocate his feelings after a fashion. But over the course of the story it becomes perfectly clear that it's a mutually destructive relationship and needs to end. Coming to understand this is a key point in the Phantom's character development and is at the heart of his redemption: he cannot hold Christine in a situation that will ruin her, so he relinquishes her. That's what really frustrates me about Love Never Dies--it thinks it's about tragically star-crossed love, but it's about a couple people who just need to let go--which was pretty much what they were doing the last time we saw them.

~LCD
I think she is drawn to him. Just how much and in what way have been topics of discussion among fans for years. As I have said before in various places, LND takes one possible answer to the question of how does she feel about the Phantom (that she loves him passionately AND romantically) makes it the "heart" of the sequel, and is, I believe, becoming more and more the interpretation that (especially) new fans and audience members assume is the "correct" one.

It is an impossible and destructive relationship. In the Final Lair, Christine, who has grown up a lot during the events of the show, recognizes these things (she sees his "distorted soul.") and leaves him as she goes with Raoul. The impossibility is designed into the show, and Hal P. said that we can wish she could stay with the Phantom, but she couldn't, "Reality dictates that."

ALW succumbed to the fan fiction writer's desire to make the "dream" come true, but unlike the writers of harmless fan fiction, he had the ability to make a musical, make a second versions of the musical, and produce a DVD that, as I write, people are watching and mooning over.

The last time we see them in POTO, Christine has made her choice; the Phantom has accepted the inevitable and done the unselfish (and truly loving) thing and let her go. Is he redeemed? It's a beginning, at any rate.

---But no, they are all back on the merry-go-round again ten long years later in LND.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:37 pm

It is an impossible and destructive relationship. In the Final Lair, Christine, who has grown up a lot during the events of the show, recognizes these things (she sees his "distorted soul.") and leaves him as she goes with Raoul. The impossibility is designed into the show, and Hal P. said that we can wish she could stay with the Phantom, but she couldn't, "Reality dictates that."

Exactly. Watching the RAH concert a second time, I became convinced that even when they try to sell this possibility of a sequel, it doesn't work. Everything about the ending--the circumstances, the method, even the "Music of the Night" motif that closes the show--bespeaks not only a finality, but a rightness in that finality that is hard to contradict.

I will admit to finding the Phantom/Christine 'ship intriguing in a "wouldn't want to deal with it in reality, but effective fantasy fodder" way. But really? Ending it when and where it does is probably the best either of them could hope for.

~LCD

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Scorp on Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:18 pm

Andy won't let go and is threatening to bring this back to London. I feel certain it will bomb even if it does come back. I suppose at least that way he can't threaten to bring it back a THIRD time...can he...?

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  LadyCDaae on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:47 pm

It's going to Broadway! No, it's touring the UK! No, it's going back to London!

If Lloyd Webber were blowing any more smoke vulcanologists would be studying him.

~LCD

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  operafantomet on Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:07 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:It's going to Broadway! No, it's touring the UK! No, it's going back to London!

If Lloyd Webber were blowing any more smoke vulcanologists would be studying him.

~LCD
Hahahahahaha! Soda accident because of that comment!

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  operafantomet on Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:21 pm

So folks, I saw "Love Never Dies" in Copenhagen this Sunday. I've written the world's longest review, to try and explain what I think is good and bad with the musical itself, what I think was good and bad with this particular production, and how it related to the other productions.

In general an incredible cast, very personal and funky design, soaring orchestra, flawless technique, a storyline which draaaaaags, improved lyrics and shitloads of POTO references. I found myself bored in the first act. Second act was better. Many clever ideas, and the benefit of picking the best from the two previous productions. But you still can't ignore that the libretto is in desperate need of a clean-up. It just doesn't work, it lacks focus, things seems to come out of the blue, and the characters are underwritten. So....


LOVE NEVER DIES
Det Ny Teater, Copenhagen, March 24, 2013.

Mr. Y: Tomas Ambt Kofod
Christine: Louise Fribo
Gustave: Oscar Dietz
Raoul: Christian Berg
Madame Giry: Marianne Mortensen
Meg Giry: Camille-Cathrine Rommedahl
Squelch: Kristian Jensen
Gangle: Martin Loft (u/s)
Fleck: Kristine Marie Brendstrup (u/s)


The so far three different versions of “Love Never Dies” has been produced, and they’ve all tried to link themselves to “Phantom of the Opera”, but in different ways.

The original London production lent its basic structure from POTO - a distant future where an accident in the past was remembered, the big transformation back to they heydays, a colourful show piece, the leading lady changing from costume to dressing gown, introduction of the Phantom, his big ballad, the big, advanced ensemble number (Prima Donna/Dear Old Friend) - yes we all recognize how it goes. Costume wise there were also clear nods to Maria Bjørnson’s iconic design, through the glittering red/green/golden show costumes in the opening, in Christine’s white dressing gown, in the Phantom’s iconic half mask and tailcoat, in Madame Giry’s dress even made of the same materials as in the original, and so forth. The main person gallery also seemed the same, with Meg becoming Carlotta, Fleck substituting as Meg, and Squelch and Grangle substituting for the managers. Only Gustave was a genuinely new addition.

The Australian production was not as dependent on the visuals when attaching itself to POTO, but by now several melodic extracts had been incorporated into the show: Little Lotte, Twisted Every Way, Seal My Fate Tonight. To be fair some of these changes happened already in London, but it always felt like the Aussie production was the first to admit LND was indeed a sequel and not ALW’s infamous “standalone piece”, and because of this they dared borrowing actual Phantom material, and a lot of it.

In the Danish production they already benefit from having the Phantom visuals and the music established as standard LND material. Their link to POTO is instead iconic MOMENTS - you have the “defense de fumer” curtain and mirrored perspective (though to be fair this American curtain reads “No smoking), you have the iconic MOTN pose, you have something falling from the ceiling of the auditorium, you have the travellator, you have the Phantom watching the performing Christine from a box, you have the Phantom leading a loved one down the travellator and so forth. This production talks the languages of Phantom, if that makes sense, and I can only assume this is because of the theatre director Niels Bo Valbro, who is a self declared Phantom fan and expressed a level of disappointment of the the lack of “phantomy” moments in the original London production of LND. He would have been able to add this in a production in his own house.

So the Danish production has a good starting point - it has clear nods in the design, it has the tidbits of music, and it adds the iconic moments.

The auditorium has gotten decorations extending around the balconies and forming a proscenium. A giant clown mask with a frog holdings the clown’s eyes open crowns the stage, where the Golden Angel would have been in Phantom. What seems to be rollercoaster cracks surrounds the upper and lower tiers, and drapes with collages of old posters embrace the sides of the stage. However atmospheric they might be, I find it problematic they serve no purpose. Like the Golden Angel in Phantom and the Dragon in Wicked you’d expect such prominent set pieces to DO something, if only to move. But these were static. So large and impressive, but slightly purposeless.



ACT 1
A large drape meets the audience. Again a nod to Phantom, I assume. During the opening this is slightly lowered, only to reveal the Phantom on the travellator, with a piano, trying to compose, longing for his Christine. The travellator is a beast, and will later in the show go back and forth, often while rotating, and it’ll serve as a pier, a bridge, a road and whatnot. But here it serves as an abstracted part of the Phantom’s home.

Tomas Ambt Kofod played Mr. Y. I have previously seen him as Jean Valjean (doing the finest “Bring Him Home” I’ve heard) and Raoul (still my favourite). Obviously my expectations were high. And I sat there wondering whatever had happened to his voice. In a good way, believe me. His warm, sorrowful Steve Barton-esque voice now had an amazing upper range. I was amazed. I personally never cared much for the song “Till I Hear You Sing / Syng endnu en gang”, but it was performed by a voice filled of beauty.

When you think something is about to happen on stage the audience will suddenly see a human in free fall falling down into the stalls. Except when closing in on the audience it’s clear this person is an aerial rope artist who knows what he’s doing, and instead of falling down on them he rotates a bit in the air, swings over the pit and lands on stage. Send in the clowns.

Enter the emcee freak trio, Squelch, Gangle and Fleck. Two of them were understudies, but I would never have guessed. Very good chemistry and interaction between them. I personally think the trio should be cut entirely, as they have little purpose in the story, but within their frames they were good. Fleck has in the different versions had different special treats. In London she was allegedly half bird, half girl, concealing her bad leg. In Australia she was a little person. In Denmark she also has a bad leg, with a dash of hip dysplasia, giving her a specific walk pattern.

The first view of the Coney Island was cool enough, but not the wow factor I had expected from the photos. Projection or backdrop of carousels in the background, various ornamental metal works overlapping and creating depth, and then the freaks and artists. But it’s more a “look what we can do” feeling to it than the dangerous undertones it should have, especially with the haunting Coney Island Waltz tune. Lovely costumes, though, held in red, blue, gold, lilac and green. I’m also always impressed by the opera ensemble quality of Det Ny Teater’s casts, fantastically unison and rich, and with a precise orchestra to match.

“Only For You / Bare for dig”. Not sure I approve of the casting here. “Only For You” was performed well, and Camille-Cathrine Rommedahl displayed a good voice and dancing abilities, don’t misunderstand. But one thing I think the Australian version did really well was to improve the role of Meg. Sharon Millerchip’s Meg was very charming, she was a good dancer and a good singer, but more importantly I felt endless sympathy for her. Transforming Meg from a Carlotta substitute to a role with heart and soul was a lift to the story. As such they’ve kept this in Copenhagen, but Camille-Cathrine Rommedahl both looked and acted like Ulla from “The Producers”. I loved her as Lina Lamont in “Singin’ in the Rain”, it seemed much more up her alley. The times she tried to push our sympathy buttons or show some rage I just didn’t feel it at all. Also, hated the costumes in this scene. I get that it’s a floral theme, but the costumes didn’t really move well and the floral fabric made them look bulky. I much prefer both the Vegasesque UK ones and the ornamental Aussie ones.

After the “Only For You” routine the perspective were changed, a red “No smoking” curtain could be seen and we were backstage. A direct Phantom reference, and one of many. Madame Giry was played by Marianne Mortensen, and she was excellent. Nice mezzo, and a clear agenda. Had to giggle when seeing that her costume was a modernized version of the US Madame Giry costumes, with chatelaine and a trained skirt. It was amusing because the Danish Madame Giry costume never had this. The designer had clearly looked at US photos for reference. Anyhow, whereas I liked Mortensen’s voice and acting, I still have issues with the enormous anger LND Madame displays. That’s one bitter soul, and we’re not told why, except she curses Christine for choosing the young pretty thing over the musical genius. I don’t know why she takes it so personally, and I don’t know why she think staying with a mass murderer with a deadly disfigurement is the sane choice, but that’s me…

Seamless transformation into the harbour where the European visitors is just arriving. The travellator in action again, and they’re certainly making the most of Christine’s entrance, lowering the light with only a spotlight on her, and with striking music. Which turned out to be necessary, as all the females are dressed in pastel dresses and is hard to tell apart. I would have preferred Christine to stand out in some way. But Louise Fribo makes a fine figure.

The horseless carriage was mighty disappointment after seeing the UK “glass wagon” and the Aussie steampunked one. This one was a hybrid of an old T ford and a carriage, and it would not have been sensational back in 1907 as the first automobiles came into the market in the late 19th century. And it was certainly not impressive for us modern people. So the wow factor lacked.

The hotel was basically just a corner on a black stage, with golden figures crowning the corners, another Bjørnsonesque reference. The walls ornamental, and with a grand piano placed in the corner. It’s really all you need. Christian Berg as Raoul does everything right as such, but the role is so terribly underwritten and unnecessary there’s not really much to do. Gustave (Oscar Dietz) enters with a musical box, in this version an elephant in the manege, moving its trunk when playing… I wanna say it’s the “Seal my fate tonight” theme?

“Look With Your Heart / Se med din sjæl” is as expected - cute melody, cute mother-and-son moment, but it also feels like the moral of the song and the story is served us with tiny tea spoons. Yes, we get it. Beauty comes from within. Very important. WE GOT THAT FIVE MINUTES AGO.

The first actual highlight of the show - the Phantom’s entrance. When Christine has sent Gustave out of the room we suddently see the contours of a black-and-white dressed man with a white mask behind the ornamental windows of the balcony. Dramatic chords and light and it feels like we’re seconds away of hearing thunder and see a full moon too… Another nice nod to POTO, with the mirror scene. The stage rotates while we see Christine run out on the balcony to see if the shadows of the past was real or just in her imagination, and there’s no-one there. But when she turns to go back the Phantom is behind her. More dramatic chords, and the first Phantomy feeling. Tomas Ambt Kofod and Louise Fribo is allegedly the most passionate combo, and it’s intense. They play out a lot of restrained emotions, and Kofod’s Mr. Y appears to wanting to touch or get near Christine but is paralyzed in his steps. Very good acting here, and a great chemistry between the two.

Going straight into “Beneath a Moonless Sky / I Nattens Dunkle Skød” performed at the balcony. I’m reminded of how beautiful this melody is. Probably the best in the whole score. I can only lament how it’s marred by God-awful lyrics, which were not much improved in Copenhagen. They are two seconds away from singing “…and I fucked you…”. It’s such a pity, because the melody is moody and intense. Good reactions from Louise Fribo, rejecting the ghost of the past.

I would have given the world to have them drop “Once Upon Another Time / Engang i en anden tid”. Two such songs on a row is a show killer. Also, there isn’t really more to say, and yet they spend minutes saying it. CUT IT I say. The best moment here is when they’re back in the suite and the Phantom sees the son and realize that is the thing that’ll make Christine sing for him. He acts vicious and creepy, and it’s a much needed quality to keep some nerve here. Ramin Karimloo’s all-too-soft “pity me” act just got on my nerves.

“Dear Old Friend / Min Gamle Ven” is another musical highlight. Andrew Lloyd Webber intentionally constructed this upon harmonies from Phantom, and it’s the “Notes / Prima Donna” of the show both musical wise and placement wise. We’re getting to understand more of the conflict here, though it’s still not clear why Madame Giry is so angry and why she and Raoul seems to be mortal enemies.

“Beautiful / Vidunderlig”. Having the Phantom lead Gustave down the travellator into his lair is another clear Phantom nod, but it also leaves me uneasy and it’s where things get out of hand in LND. The musical is not able to focus on what we’re originally told is the case - his undying love for Christine. Instead the new focus is the son, and Christine becomes a mere tool in the storytelling. Seeing him lead Gustave down into his lair like we’ve seen him do with Christine in the past kinda underlines this. His interest has shifted. And it is problematic, because already here the Phantom/Christine tension, built so well up in “Beneath a Moonless Sky” is broken and doesn’t return.

And I still think a grown up man showing his toys to a child, having the child scream “Yessss!” and sing boy soprano, is a bad idea. That said, holy crap, where did Tomas Ambt Kofod get that voice? I’ve seen him as Raoul, as Valjean, and as Rooster in Annie, and I’ve always loved his voice. Warm, rich. But his upper register has gotten a whole new quality, and “Beauty Underneath / Den skønhed der er gemt” is definitely the right place to show if off. Mighty impressed.

Cool set too, going from a moody, grotesque carneval-remains hallway to the rotating travellator and the circus freaks. Bizarre though, why are they all dressed in cream underwear and singing angrily out to the audience? It suddenly feels like we’re in Les Mis and “At the end of the day”… The aerial rope artist performs in the back, but it doesn’t really add anything to the song. Better than London with the Medusa heads and the walking Gorilla for sure, but I don’t think the mirrored hallway from Australia will ever be surpassed. Good unmasking and reaction, though, with the Phantom on the travellator kneeling in front of the boy and ripping his mask off, having the boy flee up the gangway. I liked Mr. Y’s costume here - a long red robe, with hints to both POTO’s Mandarin coat and to certain Dracula impersonations (Gary Oldman’s comes to mind). Oh, and I am 99% sure little Gustave (Oscar Dietz) played the piano himself while singing. I looked straight down at the keyboard while he played. It gave him the right prodigy appearance. He also had a lovely and strong voice. This comes from who who can’t stand children on stage.

Oh wait, THIS is where Mr. Y threatens Christine about the boy? OK, either way, Tomas Ambt Kofod had a nice dangerous quality to his Phantom. Vital for THIS musical, but going agains the big redemption and remorse from the original musical.

More “Madame-Giry-is-still-pissed” singing, and curtain down. OK. Sitting with the feeling of having seen something that could have been told in 20 minutes instead of 70 minutes. Annoyed by how much talent, time and money has gone into tell it when it’s still not THERE. Intrigued by what the second act will bring. The curtain is another poster collage, with the Phantom centrally placed, offering roses to a woman. Cute. The first violinist rehearse “Twisted every way”. I look up into the ceiling and see the installation for the Phantom chandelier still being in place. It’s strange being back in “my” Phantom home, seeing all the traces of Phantom, seeing the same conductor in the orchestra pit, hearing the familiar melodies, and yet having to deal with this strange sequel.

Meeting Jennie Jay in the interval. She’s seen LND both in London and in Copenhagen many times, and we talk a bit about the pros and cons, until it’s time to find our seats again. By now large set changes has happened on stage, I know, and I’m quite amazed by how they make everything operate so smooth in that incredibly cramped backstage area.



ACT 2
Second act opens with an “Entr’acte” while the lights are still lit. They’re slowly dimmed halfway out. Another Phantom nod.

Now we’re by the sea. A bar. Seagulls. Waves. A bartender repeating three actions over and over - standing with his back to the audience while leaning over a newspaper in front of a mirror, bending down behind the counter (though we’re never told what he’s doing down there), and serving Raoul another drink. All to make the later swap with the Phantom less obvious. But if so, they should have him do something every time he bent down behind the counter, cause it just looked odd.

Raoul. “How can she love me / Hvor kan hun elske mig”. Ah. What a pointless “oh poor me” song. When Raoul finally gets a solo song, it should have been so much better than this. It should serve a better purpose. Again, Christian Berg is excellent as such. As has the LND!Raouls before him been. But not even David Thaxton could make this song or the role work. The role could just as well has been “Journalist 3”.

Meg comes in and tells of her big sorrows and her desire to let the sea wash away her sins. I would have believed it more if Meg had less Ulla tendencies. Sharon Millerchip sold the concept so well, you could feel the despair in every fibre of her body, you got a good foreshadowings. The warnings were served here too, but with lots of drama and little substance.

The Swap has happened. Raoul snickers at the silly Phantom. Lightning and thunder, dramatic chords, guess who’s back. “Devil Takes the Hindmost / Fanden ta’r den siste” is a song that has worked from the start, and so also here. A big confrontation between Raoul and the Phantom alone is long overdue, and very well delivered. Nice testosteron boost, and though having them sit down to play card together is the biggest WTF moment in Phantom history, I liked the array of tricks the Phantom had at hand - flushing cards, magic dices, small explosions coming out of “nowhere”, it all ending with a symbolic “cards out on the floor” and angry gazes. But their deal is problematic. Christine is reduced to just a chess piece. I could have lived with that if the role itself displayed some willpower, some of the strength Christine in the original gains in the second half of the show. But LND!Christine feels like an underwritten role and in effect a chess piece is all she is. It annoys me.

“Bathing Beauty / Badenymfe” was the better of Rommedahl’s Meg moments. Maybe because she could finally play her sexy card. Also a good choreography, especially with the introduction of the males. Kinda disturbing to have the production utilize the very upper boxes (usually always closed) with mock audience, having them applaud and whistle and yell. You’d think it would be a find “dummies in Vegas” effect, but it felt more like there were three drunk friends of the cast trying to create a boost. Anyhow, a good turn-of-the-century-ish feel to the number, and an impressive bathing suit routine.

I have a vague memory of another Madame-Giry-is-angry scene, but I don’t remember the particulars. I think Gustave is lured away time and time again by some circus artists here, but always returning every third minute or so. In the end Meg takes care of him? Or maybe that was later.

Raoul enters Christine’s dressing room - a beautiful just-an-ornamental-corner set with lots of lit candles towards a glass wall - and this is the only time I see hints of the Raoul-Christine romance and feel SOMETHING for the character of Raoul. They halfway promise to flee together, he exits, and a pile of coats on a rack turns out to be the Phantom. This was unexpected for sure, but also with an unintentional comic quality. Again it was something which could have happened in The Producers rather than Phantom. There is a nice “Music of the Night” moment here, with Christine being under the Phantom’s spell, and they’re even doing the iconic MOTN pose. Instead of being introduced to the mirror bride she is getting a butt ugly necklace, I don’t know which deal is the worse…

“Devil Takes the Hindmost Reprise”. What’s the purpose of the Oooooh-ing of Gustave? Nice tune, but I don’t understand what he is doing other than creating a nice musical harmony. Oh, and Madame Giry is angry. Angrier than ever, in fact.

Transformation to the big title song scene. Our mr. Y takes place in the lower left box (where actual audience is seated), as a nod to POTO’s box 5. Raoul stands to the right of the stage. Christine is revealed in a kimono like dress in between large folding and unfolding fans. A nice period Japonism. The song is as it’s always been. Slow, repetitive, impossible to hear the lyrics on the upper notes. But Louise Fribo. What a VOICE! Her upper range is insane. Light, yet strong, never hesitant or wobbling, and soaring on just the right notes. She sung it rather slow, directing her attention to both her admirers. The fans kept folding and unfolding, until a red curtain came down and she was performing the last half in front of that. Huge applause. She is golden.

Back in the dressing room Christine finally admits her undying love to the Phantom, and they kiss passionately, only to be interrupted by a piccolo delivering a note from Raoul, and a red rose. “Little Lotte”. Now they notice Gustave is gone (only half an hour to late, but who’s counting….). Raoul gets the blame, Madame Giry gets the blame, and then everyone understand it’s Meg. Back at the rotating, moving travellator, Meg lures and drags Gustave towards the sea, wanting to rinse both herself and him of the sins of the world. Or something.

The search party (read: Mr. Y, Christine and Madame) appears, she drags out a large pistol, a lot back and forth, and I almost burst out lauging by Mr’. Y’s line “Give me your pain, your sorrow, your gun”. For REAL? They finally battle for the gun, and Christine is hit by accident. Without describing in detail how it goes down, Gustave disappears, as does Meg and Madame finally, and Mr. Y is left alone with what I thought was a dead Christine. But on no. The opera ain’t finished until the slim lady sings. And she sings and sings. And they sing together. One final kiss. The son reappears, he is told that the mad masked man is his father, and Christine finally dies. With her death she has of course also taken with her all the sins and sorrows of the world.

A nice touch though is that the Phantom and Christine holds hands, their hand is joined by Gustave’s, and then Christine dies and her hand just slips away, leaving father and son holding hand. Sounds kitschy when written down, but it worked well on stage. Very symbolic. I also liked that the travellator rotated, twisted and turned when the Phantom was left alone with the dying Christine, with him crying “Noooooo” into the night. A nice “Beauty and the Beast” quality to it.

Raoul appears and is slightly sad by the sight of his dead wife but accepts it easily. No question as to who killed her though the Phantom hovers over her. He also accepts that his strange son deserts him for his mortal enemy. With Raoul and dead Christine in one end of the travellator, Gustave and the Phantom is placed in the other end. Our last view is the sight of Gustave removing the mask, gently touching the deformed face of his new father, and the image fade out on the white mask only - the last POTO reference of this production.


CONCLUSION?
So my opinion? The Copenhagen production is a great one. Exceptionally fine cast. Rich orchestra. Funky and personal design, not depending on other incarnations. Not as symbolic as it could have been, design wise, but a feast for the eye for sure. Advanced and flawlessly executed technical aspects. A directing with a heart and soul. And much improved lyrics, done by the woman who also translated the Danish POTO lyrics. She was sure to use the same words as POTO in some key scenes, to tie them together. But she also avoided the repetitiveness and the worst phrasings of the English original.

Still, the libretto is as it is. “Love Never Dies” is a musical they didn’t get right from the beginning. It has suffered from it in all its incarnations. It’s the new “Chess” - so many good melodies and moments, so much promising material, but with a libretto dragging it down. It’s not coherent story telling, and what is told is also not too intriguing or believable. And it saddens me so. The score is very fine. There are some moments which makes me think they’ll pull it off. And then you get moments of utter dumbness in between. I’m not saying this as an outraged “phan”, but as a theatre buff. LND just ain’t there. I think it’ll never be, because Andrew Lloyd Webber refused to do the necessary changes early on and now it’s kinda cemented into its basic shape. Hard to do the necessary revisions now.

As for which LND production I prefer, it will probably still be the Australian one. Partly because they did the libretto tweaks which most improved the story, but most of all because they had a design out of this world. I was not too impressed by the Aussie cast, though. I adored Sharon Millerchip, and they had a super solid ensemble, but Ben Lewis and Anna O’Byrne wasn’t the ultimate pair for me. There is only so much crazy eyes you can take, and O’Byrne was too wallflower-like. Quite neutral to the others, though the emcee trio is probably my favourite of the various trios.

The original London production had leads putting their own stamp on the roles (not just because they created them), though I liked the leads better than the supporting cast here. I’m also one of the few liking the London design. Very clean and nice. But the London one underwent so many changes and yet never got it right, and the whole production felt haltering and unengaging.

The Copenhagen production has a kick-ass cast and a very personal flair in design and direction. I liked the many, many, many nods to POTO. Slightly disappointed with Meg and neutral to the freak trio. But so much to put your eyes on and so much beauty in the voices. Had THIS opened in London the show would have had a much better faith. Same goes for the Aussie version. But in the end, no matter how good a production is, it is only as good as the actual material performed. It was demonstrated in Melbourne/Sydney, and again in Copenhagen. LND is a lot, but great theatre it ain’t. Great theatre achievements, though.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Scorp on Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:06 pm

The new Chess? In LND's dreams (beneath a moonless sky).

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Jennie on Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:30 pm

Love you review, Operafantomet, I'm impressed that you picked up on so many details. I'd missed the figure of the Phantom on the balcony, never understood why Christine ran out in the thunderstorm! That scene was beautifully staged, they are marvellous at using the tiny stage at Det Ny.

The elephant musical box plays "You have come here.. " the tune from the DJT scene .... In Copenhagen it does this first time off. In London, the first tune it played was the one played by the orchestra on the pier, didn't play the DJT tune until Raoul had left the room and Christine was alone.

I loffed all the Gustaves in Copenhagen, and I'm not always enthralled by children on stage. Didn't warm to Gavroche in Les Mis either in Copenhagen nor Malmö.

Here's the gingerbread construction I made for Christmas, in homage to the Amazing LND Travelator. A pale copy, but with glitter on it.. Plush Erik was not impressed.


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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  operafantomet on Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:01 am

Jennie wrote:Love you review, Operafantomet, I'm impressed that you picked up on so many details. I'd missed the figure of the Phantom on the balcony, never understood why Christine ran out in the thunderstorm!
It might have been due to my seat. The very end of the balcony, next to the boxes, didn't have any of the restricted view of the boxes, but it was extremely close to the stage. I looked right at the Phantomy figure. I might not have noticed it if sitting further away.

Here's the gingerbread construction I made for Christmas, in homage to the Amazing LND Travelator. A pale copy, but with glitter on it.. Plush Erik was not impressed.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/JJabberwock/P1100491_zpsccf777b0.jpg
I remember you posted this on the DNT Facebook site and I was quite disappointed they didn't comment on it or share it. From a pure marketing view it would have been quite the scoop for them. Silly people. They're generally good on Facebook, though, so I will let this pass. Anyhow, impressive ginger version of "the beast"!

Glad you liked the review in general (or rather, I'm impressed you got through it...). I tried to point out both what I liked and what I didn't like, and to explain why. I still wanna smack someone in the head for that libretto. Putting so much time, effort, money, hard work and nice music into a musical without bothering to make a good story to tell annoys me greatly. As I wrote elsewhere, I think the biggest mistake was to skip proper workshops and Sydmonton tryouts, as ALW has done for every single other musical he's created. I don't know if it would have saved the story, as the "Phantom of Manhattan" book in large was ALW's vision of how the story continued. But I think it would have given us better theatrical storytelling, at least.

Scorp wrote:The new Chess? In LND's dreams (beneath a moonless sky).
Hahaha, you get my point, you silly thing. Whereas Chess has an amazing score and quite fantastic lyrics, they never got the story right. And every production to follow the London one has suffered from it, every production change something, and in effect Chess always feels like a work "in the making". I got the same vibes from LND.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Jennie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:44 pm

I like reading thorough reviews, Operafantomet, and again I'm impressed with yours. I learn a lot from them.

Yes, it was a bit of a pity DNT didn't say anything about my gingerbread travelator, but then perhaps they don't want to encourage the excessively obsessed fans who do weird things like that Rolling Eyes I think my obsession is perfectly OK, and it keeps me happy, but to outside observers it may seem scary, I guess.

Just remembered a change in the show.... the first couple of times I saw it they had projections of CHristine and the Phantom against the drapes covering the travelator during TIHYSA, but they seem to have skipped them. Just as well, they were unclear and didn't make much sense to those unfamiliar with POTO, I think.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Scorp on Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:30 am

News just in: LND is finally hitting Broadway this year. They will close Phantom at the Majestic one week earlier and have a big fanfare about that to drum up publicity, and then put in LND one week later. No news yet as to the cast or creatives.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Jennie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:11 am

Oh pooo! I'd be more excited if it was put on somewhere in Europe.... *Goes off to check ticket availability for the last couple of weeks in Copenhagen*

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Jennie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:14 pm

Then again, given today's date, Scorp, would you mind posting the source of your information?

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Scorp on Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:33 am

Jennie wrote:Then again, given today's date, Scorp, would you mind posting the source of your information?

April Fool, I'm delighted to say.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Jennie on Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:31 pm

Scorp wrote:
Jennie wrote:Then again, given today's date, Scorp, would you mind posting the source of your information?

April Fool, I'm delighted to say.

Argh, you got me!!

Orl right guvnor, it's a fair cop... Wink

Just goes to show that LND melts your brain and destroys all sense of reality..... LND in Copenhagen is terribly terribly addictive .... have just booked tickets for it again. Again.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  ML6 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:35 pm

Was doing a browse on a theatre page for Detroit (since I wanna know what shows are coming to town. Noticed this little gem. Almost had a heart-attack when I saw the logo.



This is the description:

Since bursting onto the Broadway scene some thirty years ago, Tony, Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has brought to the stage a host of musical blockbusters that have taken the theatre world by storm. Now, the biggest hits from these inspirational and diverse works have been fashioned into a theatrical evening of music that is, like the songs themselves, unforgettable.Included in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber are the great songs and musicals excerpts from The Phantom of the Opera, CATS, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Song and Dance, Requiem, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down The Wind and, for the first time in the U.S., Love Never Dies.

Experience the power and diversity of his music in one spectacular evening!


Trying to look for more information on it. Seems to me from the logo alone, this is a ploy to drum up publicity for LND.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  operafantomet on Wed May 15, 2013 6:29 am

Well, unless it's a full production it's not the first time for LND in the USA. Too many performers has sung various songs from the show in concert already - Ron Bohmer and Sandra Joseph as a recent example.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  Raphael on Thu May 16, 2013 3:45 am

They did a "Music of ALW" concert in Las vegas as well that featured a song or two from The Show That Shall Not Be Named.

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  operafantomet on Wed May 29, 2013 9:46 pm

So, after the POTO concert Ronacher did last year they've decided to do LND this autumn. If judging by the POTO concert, expect a great orchestra and good cast paired with straaaaange, costumeless staging.

http://www.thatsmusical.de/magazin/wien-love-never-dies-konzertant-und-mamma-mia-a101558.html

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Re: Love Never Dies - all views allowed

Post  AlwaysChristine on Wed May 29, 2013 9:49 pm

operafantomet wrote:So, after the POTO concert Ronacher did last year they've decided to do LND this autumn. If judging by the POTO concert, expect a great orchestra and good cast paired with straaaaange, costumeless staging.

http://www.thatsmusical.de/magazin/wien-love-never-dies-konzertant-und-mamma-mia-a101558.html

Yes maybe it will be done the same way. I really hope for a great cast, I am happy it´s coming to Vienna!

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