What would you change?

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What would you change?

Post  Scorp on Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:39 am

A potentially blasphemous topic but it might be interesting. We all love Hal Prince's production and if anything equals perfection production-wise in the theatre, this is pretty much it.

But can perfection be improved upon?

I don't mean massive changes that affect the dramaturgy of the show, just minor touches that you would either remove or incorporate to make the show even better, if that's possible.

I'll have a go:

  • In the Hungarian non-replica production I believe a rose is thrown from Box Five at the end of 'Think of Me'. I like that. Put it in.
  • Sort out the dates on Daddy Daaé's tombstone so they finally make sense regardless of which WYWSHA lyric Christine sings.
  • Make the 'London-only' features, i.e. the 'Wandering Child' trio and the catch at the end of MotN, standard practice for all international productions.
  • Have the notes to the managers penned in red ink. I would keep the black borders of the notes though; they're a nice tribute to the Lon Chaney film.
  • Possibly incorporate the door to the managers' office that they use in Vegas in all productions. I don't really mind either way. There are a few things I wouldn't want from Vegas though, e.g. I don't like the lights surrounding Christine's mirror as I prefer the dressing room to be ominously gloomy.
  • Bring back the 2004-2008 London orchestrations for the title song. I don't mind the new one though, as I always liked the Harley track.
  • Make the ratcatcher slightly more noticeable. It's a very 'blink and you'll miss it' moment.
  • Get the cast to talk more to the dummies during 'Masquerade'. They seem to do this quite well in America but less so in London.
  • Remove Mme Giry from the auction and let her rest in peace.
  • Use round chandeliers like the one in Vienna. And get the one on Broadway to speed up!
  • Get the ballet girls during 'Angel of Music' to say "un, deux, trois" rather than "one, two, three" - did they do this in Copenhagen?
  • Does Meg say her 'always rehearsals' line in London? I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Stick it in.
  • A little direction choice from me, but I thought it might be interesting if, in that moment where Christine is precariously near the edge of the roof during AIAOY and Raoul calls out to her, it was played as if she were seriously thinking of jumping off (!).
  • I hate the film and thought they messed up big time with the strange mish-mash of old and new lyrics, but there is one set of lyrics that I rather liked and I think prefer to the stage version: i.e. in 'Notes', instead of André talking about the chorus being entrancing and the dancing being a lamentable mess, he sings 'the diva's a disaster - must you cast her when she's seasons past her prime?'.
  • Change the word on the sheet covering the chandelier during the auction to 'Lustre'.
  • Direct Phantoms to be far more angry and distraught during the first unmasking. It's too downplayed for a moment when an illusion he has spent months and months and months planning to the last detail is shattered forever.


These are all very minor changes, and less than I thought I would make! Hal did achieve perfection.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  operafantomet on Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:49 am

Scorp wrote: [*] Get the ballet girls during 'Angel of Music' to say "un, deux, trois" rather than "one, two, three" - did they do this in Copenhagen?
That they did. They also had Madame Giry kiss Christine on both cheeks, in French manner, when complimenting her after "Think of Me". I loved those tiny details.

I agree about the orchestration, the re-naming of the chandelier drape and the "London" features. Oh, and yes, speed up the slow chandeliers, puh-lease!

There are two things I would put in/change if I were allowed to:

1. Let Christine go directly from "Notes II/Twisted" to the graveyard scene, with the violin as a leading theme. Her experiences there would push her to perform in "Don Juan" (right now it's a bit of a plot hole that she first wildly refuses and then agrees). And I think it would be possible to make an awesome transition from Don Juan Rehearsal to the actual opera. It would make sense both plot wise and staging wise, and be much in sync with Bjørnson's almost filmatic scene transitions. I'm dying to see this done, to be honest.

2. Let some of the bulbs of the chandelier being lit when it has crashed and is lowered on stage. This happened by mistake in Copenhagen one time, and the effect was awesome. So much more believable.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  Scorp on Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:53 am

I kind of like the DJT rehearsal scene but I suppose I can see what you mean about it interrupting the flow of the action. Isn't it there simply to allow enough time for the set for 'Wishing' to be set up?

Oh something else - IIRC aren't the masks used in the US now just a standard size rather than moulded to each actor's face? I'd change that for sure. If they can still do it in London I don't see why they can't do it in the US. Likewise with any costumes that have gone downhill since the show's opening, like the Phantom's suit, that should be sorted out.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  operafantomet on Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:03 am

Scorp wrote:I kind of like the DJT rehearsal scene but I suppose I can see what you mean about it interrupting the flow of the action. Isn't it there simply to allow enough time for the set for 'Wishing' to be set up?
Thing is that the DJ rehearsal scene should be kept as today, but somewhere around the spooky piano there should be a transaction to the actual opera - maybe with the voiceover "Seal my fate tonight...", and then entering at the "frozen" DJT cast as done today. Costume and set wise it would be hard, but doable. In the auction scene, for example, some wear their Hannibal costumes under grand Edwardian cloaks and hats.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:36 pm

These are some minor things I would do.


I personally believe during All I Ask of You, after Raoul says "Christine, that's all I ask of you", they should be kneeling on the ground (and during the kiss). I think it harkens a little bit back to the Lon Chaney film but also that one picture/painting I've seen where Christine and Raoul are sitting beneath the Angel. (Also, I saw this twice with Sean and Trista and I thought it played out really well. They stand too much and walk around doing nothing during that song.)

Get rid of the creepy piano in general during the DJT Rehearsal. That bugs the hell out of me more than anything that the Phantom does. How can he possess the piano to play his music? He can't.

Have the Phantom's in DJT act more like Piangi. They're trained singers, they should be able to do this. But when they do not, I think of the film and how it was just done so that everyone could fan over the Phantom's 'wonderful' voice. He's a man of mystery and intrigue, he should be able to egg on that accent that Piangi has.

Get rid of those lights that flash something in French during Piangi's death. There is this lightened word that comes on the backdrop that says something in French. They wouldn't be able to do that back then.

How the hell does Mme. Giry come through a wall in Notes? There is no door. And the random door opening, who is that supposed to be? The Phantom or Mme. Giry & Meg? ... I don't know, I understand the intrigue it gives, but it confuses me.

The Hungarian production had a graveyard. Christine just looks like she's singing to a building. :/


And, that's about it.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  LadyCDaae on Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:34 pm

This is more of an acting choice than anything else, but the blocking on the "turn your face away" part of MotN kind of bugs me. I've started calling it the "talk to the hand" gesture, because at least half the Phantoms I've seen mash their palm into Christine's face as if to say "Do NOT go there, girlfriend!" It tends to pull me out of the otherwise seductive elegance of the scene.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:13 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:This is more of an acting choice than anything else, but the blocking on the "turn your face away" part of MotN kind of bugs me. I've started calling it the "talk to the hand" gesture, because at least half the Phantoms I've seen mash their palm into Christine's face as if to say "Do NOT go there, girlfriend!" It tends to pull me out of the otherwise seductive elegance of the scene.

~LCD

Oh, I like that gesture, but it depends on what the Christine does! When I saw it a couple weeks ago, both Phantom's look as though they right hooked her in the jaw. (And it doesn't help that when his hand touches their face, they give this 'shocked' open mouthed expression.) I think back in the day, when the Christine didn't react, the gesture was pretty. But as time went on, the Christine has to 'react' to it as though he just 'punched her'.

So, I agree with this, and then I don't.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  SenorSwanky on Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:34 pm

Yeah, rarely does a Phantom do that part elegantly. Not only does he forcefully push her face until she's got a crick in her neck, but he usually ratchets up the volume and ferocity of his voice like he's angry at her. Really? If anything, that part should be even softer and more gentle.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  LadyCDaae on Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:35 am

SenorSwanky wrote:Yeah, rarely does a Phantom do that part elegantly. Not only does he forcefully push her face until she's got a crick in her neck, but he usually ratchets up the volume and ferocity of his voice like he's angry at her. Really? If anything, that part should be even softer and more gentle.

Exactly. I think some anxiety in this particular moment is a good thing, but I've always felt it should be more a moment of nervous hesitation before he regains control rather than a big, "Gaaah, don't LOOK at me!" reaction.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  Phantomlove on Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:41 am

The turn your face away moment can be really good though. Mikael Samuelson did it to perfection in a quite gentle way. The lyrics were a bit different as well. "Turn you face away from the garish light of day" is fairly straightforwardly translated into "Vänd dig bort från allt som om dagen lyser kallt". The next part however is "Vänd dig till en mörk och sällsam melodi" which translates (a bit clumsily)to "Turn towards a dark and rare melody". I think that makes more sense with the second move when the Phantom turn Christine's head back again.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  LadyCDaae on Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:49 pm

Like I said, it comes down to acting choice. It can be a very nice moment (and quite erotic, if done well), but all too often it isn't.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  London-Phan on Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:57 pm

I definitely think the Wandering Child trio should be in all productions and also the Phantom should have to sing the harmony during the trio part although i don't think its happend for a while but i've seen/heard a couple of Phantoms that just sang the melody like MC did on the OLC recording. Also the MOTN catch should have to be done in all productions.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:57 pm

London-Phan wrote:I definitely think the Wandering Child trio should be in all productions and also the Phantom should have to sing the harmony during the trio part although i don't think its happend for a while but i've seen/heard a couple of Phantoms that just sang the melody like MC did on the OLC recording. Also the MOTN catch should have to be done in all productions.

Okay, I suck at music. Explain this to me. I know for a fact that they don't do the trio anymore (except London). But I didn't think there was a different way of singing the Phantom's line. He just is pretty much singing over Christine the same thing that she's saying to him. But then again, I don't know if this made any sense, but hopefully it can be explained?

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Re: What would you change?

Post  Paula74 on Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:11 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:
SenorSwanky wrote:Yeah, rarely does a Phantom do that part elegantly. Not only does he forcefully push her face until she's got a crick in her neck, but he usually ratchets up the volume and ferocity of his voice like he's angry at her. Really? If anything, that part should be even softer and more gentle.

Exactly. I think some anxiety in this particular moment is a good thing, but I've always felt it should be more a moment of nervous hesitation before he regains control rather than a big, "Gaaah, don't LOOK at me!" reaction.

~LCD

I remember seeing a clip...I have no idea who the Phantom and Christine were because I was just randomly watching things...in which the gesture started off very gentle and tender...and then halfway through the motion, it turned into a shove that made it look like the poor Phantom had gotten a big whiff of Christine's seriously bad breath. It went from sexy to badly funny in a split-second.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  Scorp on Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:53 pm

ML6 wrote:
London-Phan wrote:I definitely think the Wandering Child trio should be in all productions and also the Phantom should have to sing the harmony during the trio part although i don't think its happend for a while but i've seen/heard a couple of Phantoms that just sang the melody like MC did on the OLC recording. Also the MOTN catch should have to be done in all productions.

Okay, I suck at music. Explain this to me. I know for a fact that they don't do the trio anymore (except London). But I didn't think there was a different way of singing the Phantom's line. He just is pretty much singing over Christine the same thing that she's saying to him. But then again, I don't know if this made any sense, but hopefully it can be explained?

No, for a very long time in London the Phantom has been singing a harmony instead of singing the same melody as Christine. It is not as it is on the OLC; it is actually much better. You can hear the harmony that the Phantom sings on the Vienna recording, although in that case they kept it as a duo rather than a trio. But it's the same thing.

ML6 wrote:

Get rid of the creepy piano in general during the DJT Rehearsal. That bugs the hell out of me more than anything that the Phantom does. How can he possess the piano to play his music? He can't.

OMGBlasphemy! I LOVE the creepy piano, lol. I like how the Phantom retains seemingy supernatural powers in the stage version; it is an immense apart of the appeal to me that is completely absent from the filmthatshallnotbenamed and the non-sequel sequel.

Have the Phantom's in DJT act more like Piangi. They're trained singers, they should be able to do this. But when they do not, I think of the film and how it was just done so that everyone could fan over the Phantom's 'wonderful' voice. He's a man of mystery and intrigue, he should be able to egg on that accent that Piangi has.

They did this for a few years in London...and now I think they've abandoned it IIRC? Don't know why.

Get rid of those lights that flash something in French during Piangi's death. There is this lightened word that comes on the backdrop that says something in French. They wouldn't be able to do that back then.

Is there? I've never noticed this; can anyone remember what it says?

How the hell does Mme. Giry come through a wall in Notes? There is no door. And the random door opening, who is that supposed to be? The Phantom or Mme. Giry & Meg? ... I don't know, I understand the intrigue it gives, but it confuses me.

I like the mysterious effect that gives though. I personally wouldn't change it. As Alan Jay Lerner said, don't question it too much, it just works!

The Hungarian production had a graveyard. Christine just looks like she's singing to a building. :/

True. I like the Hungarian graveyard too, but I'm not sure how well that design would work in the Prince-Bjørnson production given how the principle it follows is to stay minimalist and leave most things to the imagination.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:37 pm

Scorp wrote:OMGBlasphemy! I LOVE the creepy piano, lol. I like how the Phantom retains seemingy supernatural powers in the stage version; it is an immense apart of the appeal to me that is completely absent from the filmthatshallnotbenamed and the non-sequel sequel.
Yeah, I totally agree with you on both the piano and the Phantom's supernatural/magic "powers." However, the DJ rehearsal scene itself isn't completely necessary; it IS just there to give the stagehands time to set up the graveyard, and Vegas figured out how to cut it out. I think you could easily musically transition from the music at the end of Notes II to the awesomely eerie violin bit as Christine walks to the grave.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  LadyCDaae on Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:50 am

I like the mysterious effect that gives though. I personally wouldn't change it. As Alan Jay Lerner said, don't question it too much, it just works!

I guess I always assumed she comes in through a side door. Not exactly mysterious but kind of amusing the way she startles everybody.

However, the DJ rehearsal scene itself isn't completely necessary; it IS just there to give the stagehands time to set up the graveyard, and Vegas figured out how to cut it out. I think you could easily musically transition from the music at the end of Notes II to the awesomely eerie violin bit as Christine walks to the grave.

I agree the scene is pretty much extraneous, but I still have a soft spot for it as it contains what is probably my favorite spoken exchange in the entire show:

"Signora, would you speak that way in the presence of the composer?"
"The composer is not here!"
"Are you certain of that, Signora?" Laughing

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:52 pm

Scorp wrote:No, for a very long time in London the Phantom has been singing a harmony instead of singing the same melody as Christine. It is not as it is on the OLC; it is actually much better. You can hear the harmony that the Phantom sings on the Vienna recording, although in that case they kept it as a duo rather than a trio. But it's the same thing.

I still don't hear a difference. :/ Scorp, you're going to have to explain this to me sometime.

Scorp wrote:OMGBlasphemy! I LOVE the creepy piano, lol. I like how the Phantom retains seemingy supernatural powers in the stage version; it is an immense apart of the appeal to me that is completely absent from the filmthatshallnotbenamed and the non-sequel sequel.

Well, look you. If the piano was some kind of old fashioned saloon piano, maybe I could see it working. I'll let it go, but it just kind of bugs me when he really can't do that.

Scorp wrote:They did this for a few years in London...and now I think they've abandoned it IIRC? Don't know why.

Well, wtf. The Phantom is supposed to be tricking Christine, which was the whole reason he's hiding behind a cloak. If anything the actor should be dropping hints he's the Phantom. Not, "I'm going to sing in my regular voice", because honestly that's going to point out a MAJOR difference. One of the actor's I saw onstage made it seem like he's Piangi, because he sang with an accent. BUT, when she was doing her part, he was gesturing with his hand like a conductor would.

Scorp wrote:Is there? I've never noticed this; can anyone remember what it says?

Yep. I haven't been able to really tell what it says. If someone gets killed or dies on the stage, what is the word they would use for that sort of thing?

Scorp wrote:I like the mysterious effect that gives though. I personally wouldn't change it. As Alan Jay Lerner said, don't question it too much, it just works!

Well, I still want to know who walked through the door or why it opened.

Scorp wrote:True. I like the Hungarian graveyard too, but I'm not sure how well that design would work in the Prince-Bjørnson production given how the principle it follows is to stay minimalist and leave most things to the imagination.

Oh. I had no idea that's how it was. It just seems a bit off to me. But I'll let it slide. For now... Razz

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Re: What would you change?

Post  SenorSwanky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:02 pm

ML6 wrote:Oh. I had no idea that's how it was.
You had no idea about the minimalism of the Bjornson designs? Shocked

I don't like when Phantoms try to sound like Piangi in PONR. For one thing, I've never heard it done well, but story-wise, it makes more sense to me. I like that the Phantom would be bold enough to sing in his own voice, which is what I think has been his plan all along. He has put on this ruse of an opera only to reveal himself in this final moment. He wrote PONR clearly for himself and Christine, not Don Juan and Aminta. He knows Christine is going to realize it's him, and he wants her to. I think he also knows Raoul and the managers are at least eventually going to realize it's not Piangi, and he wants them to. It doesn't quite go to plan, but he obviously knows he'll be able to escape if they try to shoot him, so why bother hiding his voice? He's clearly outfooled the management time and time again, and he knows he will again.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:39 pm

SenorSwanky wrote:
ML6 wrote:Oh. I had no idea that's how it was.
You had no idea about the minimalism of the Bjornson designs? Shocked

I don't like when Phantoms try to sound like Piangi in PONR. For one thing, I've never heard it done well, but story-wise, it makes more sense to me. I like that the Phantom would be bold enough to sing in his own voice, which is what I think has been his plan all along. He has put on this ruse of an opera only to reveal himself in this final moment. He wrote PONR clearly for himself and Christine, not Don Juan and Aminta. He knows Christine is going to realize it's him, and he wants her to. I think he also knows Raoul and the managers are at least eventually going to realize it's not Piangi, and he wants them to. It doesn't quite go to plan, but he obviously knows he'll be able to escape if they try to shoot him, so why bother hiding his voice? He's clearly outfooled the management time and time again, and he knows he will again.

No, I had no idea about the minimal set designs and their reaction towards the audience. Sorry! I live in MI, only seen Phantom live three times, and I learn what I can from other people. So, shame on me.

Well, it can work both ways. As I've said, I've only *seen* Phantom three times, and in those times, the Phantom has masked his voice to sound like Piangi. But when I've heard from others that he doesn't do that, it makes me think of the 2004 film and all the women backstage gushing over him. You've seen it done good, I haven't. And until that time, I'll keep the comparison to the 2004 film in my head.

I'm not trying to sound rude, I'm just a little dismayed that when it comes to *seeing* Phantom, I've only seen it three times. :/

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Re: What would you change?

Post  London-Phan on Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:14 pm

ML6 wrote:
Scorp wrote:No, for a very long time in London the Phantom has been singing a harmony instead of singing the same melody as Christine. It is not as it is on the OLC; it is actually much better. You can hear the harmony that the Phantom sings on the Vienna recording, although in that case they kept it as a duo rather than a trio. But it's the same thing.

I still don't hear a difference. :/ Scorp, you're going to have to explain this to me sometime.

Basicly the phantom sing the harmony but only on the words 'angel of music'. I'm pretty sure it's only done in the London show although it is rarely done in international productions, i know Peter Karrie did it in Canada. There's been a few Phantoms in London that just sang the melody. Theres some live clips on you tube, if you type in Peter Karrie/Earl Carpenter wandering child you'll be able hear it. I won't post a link because as everyone know there not legal. Hope this helps Very Happy

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:57 am

London-Phan wrote:
ML6 wrote:
Scorp wrote:No, for a very long time in London the Phantom has been singing a harmony instead of singing the same melody as Christine. It is not as it is on the OLC; it is actually much better. You can hear the harmony that the Phantom sings on the Vienna recording, although in that case they kept it as a duo rather than a trio. But it's the same thing.

I still don't hear a difference. :/ Scorp, you're going to have to explain this to me sometime.

Basicly the phantom sing the harmony but only on the words 'angel of music'. I'm pretty sure it's only done in the London show although it is rarely done in international productions, i know Peter Karrie did it in Canada. There's been a few Phantoms in London that just sang the melody. Theres some live clips on you tube, if you type in Peter Karrie/Earl Carpenter wandering child you'll be able hear it. I won't post a link because as everyone know there not legal. Hope this helps Very Happy

Ah. I think I'm understanding now. It's a pacing thing, right? I think I get it now. Very Happy

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Re: What would you change?

Post  operafantomet on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:05 am

The lack of doors and Madame Giry/Meg Giry entering from the side in "Notes" is one thing I love! I know some of you like the Vegas door better, but I personally find the non-door concept more in sync with the rest of Björnson's design, and I've always liked that the set for this scene is a desk and a chair, and costumes to die for.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  SenorSwanky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:14 pm

ML6 wrote:I'm not trying to sound rude, I'm just a little dismayed that when it comes to *seeing* Phantom, I've only seen it three times.
I've only seen it four, the most recent just this past December, then October 2005 before that, then April 2003 before that, and the first time December of 1995.

Ah. I think I'm understanding now. It's a pacing thing, right? I think I get it now.
Um, no. They sing in harmony, which means they're singing different notes that when sounded together make a harmony, like a barbershop quartet or acapella group.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  ML6 on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:07 pm

SenorSwanky wrote:Um, no. They sing in harmony, which means they're singing different notes that when sounded together make a harmony, like a barbershop quartet or acapella group.

I get it now.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  MajesticPhantom on Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:39 am

The words on the back of the curtain (as seen during Piangi's death and the "Hannibal" curtain call) are not projected. They are printed on the curtain.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  Scorp on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:09 am

MajesticPhantom wrote:The words on the back of the curtain (as seen during Piangi's death and the "Hannibal" curtain call) are not projected. They are printed on the curtain.

Yeah, that's what I thought. I can't for the life of me remember what it says though. Anyone?

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Re: What would you change?

Post  operafantomet on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:13 am

Scorp wrote:
MajesticPhantom wrote:The words on the back of the curtain (as seen during Piangi's death and the "Hannibal" curtain call) are not projected. They are printed on the curtain.

Yeah, that's what I thought. I can't for the life of me remember what it says though. Anyone?
Isn't it the "défence de fumer" coming down, or am I thinking of another printed curtain?

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Re: What would you change?

Post  Scorp on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:23 am

operafantomet wrote:
Scorp wrote:
MajesticPhantom wrote:The words on the back of the curtain (as seen during Piangi's death and the "Hannibal" curtain call) are not projected. They are printed on the curtain.

Yeah, that's what I thought. I can't for the life of me remember what it says though. Anyone?
Isn't it the "défence de fumer" coming down, or am I thinking of another printed curtain?

That one they use after TOM, right? Is it the same one they use for after Piangi's death? To be honest I don't think I've ever noticed anything other than that written on the curtains they use.

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Re: What would you change?

Post  LisaL on Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:46 pm

I would add the single red rose after TOM, an also I think that the MOTN catch and the Wandering trio should be added to every production. The MOTN catch just makes more sense The phantom is going to have to move Christine at some stage to get her into the boat boat before the next scene and I think to catch just makes it all the more romantic.

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Re: What would you change?

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