Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

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Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Jennie on Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:50 pm

I'm taking the liberty of starting a new thread for the Japanese production of Phantom, because it is so very different and unique in a number of ways that I discuss in this post. I know there is a general thread for international productions, but I really think that the show in Japan merits a thread of its own. I have also posted this review over at phantomoftheopera.com.

Anyway, I've been fortunate enough to see the stage show in Nagoya in Japan this summer (19th July).

Here's my review with my reflections and perceptions.... There were quite a few things that were different to other productions I've seen (in England and Denmark) and some things that I really missed. This isn't to say that any version is better or worse than the others, but they're different.

“Bearers of meaning”

When you watch a musical, the story is transmitted on several levels simultaneously. At least four that I can think of. First of all by the text, the words tell a story. Then we have the music, the melody that reinforces the text. The visual appearance of the different characters also transmits a message to the spectator, as do their gestures and body language in general. The music itself also has different “sublevels”. Is it loud, or soft? Is it in a minor or a major key, making it sound wistful or cheery? Is the pace brisk or languid? What instruments are used? The deep booming of a mighty organ that makes our insides wobble? The cheeky sprightliness of oboes? Or the romantic sweep of cellos and violins?

Which of these four components is the strongest “bearer or carrier of meaning”? It depends on how the sender and receiver match each other. If you don’t understand the language, the text won’t have much of an impact on you. If you dislike the melody, you won’t be receptive to the music.

My experience of Phantom in Nagoya was coloured by how I perceived the actors, I judged them both on their looks and on how they acted. There was definitely some kind of glitch in how I received the message they sent out, and how I received it. But I’m not sure if that’s because they didn’t transmit what I expected them to, or whether it was because I couldn’t perceive what they were transmitting.

General:

The acting wasn’t as naturalistic as in Europe. At times movements looked very choreographed and deliberate.
At one point Raoul said something to Christine and she almost bowed obediently, very much in the polite Japanese fashion.

Some details are fuzzy in my mind, and some I noticed were definitely smoothed over. Perhaps because they were uninteresting to this non-European audience. Several visual gags were missing, such as for example when the slavemaster cracks his whip after the managers during “Hannibal”. Piangi had no trouble climbing up on the elephant’s back, something that the Danish Piangi bungled.

Everything seemed bigger. The stage was bigger than at Her Majesty’s in London or Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen, so they could upsize the props. They had the biggest mirror and the biggest Il Muto bed that I’ve seen so far.

The Chandelier

Had a different personality in Japan. During the overture it rose from the stage with smooth precision and floated effortlessly up to the ceiling. It “crashed” slowly and politely onto the stage at the end of the first act, with hardly any swaying beforehand, even if it did flicker according to schedule. In Copenhagen the chandelier made much more fuss about getting up there... first it slowly moved out from the stage after lifting slightly, then it figuratively creaked, swayed and groaned its way jerkily up to the top of the auditorium. It was making an effort and sure letting us know about it.

No live music!

There was no live orchestra, and I was quite taken aback by the tacky synthesizer “woo woo wooo” muzak during the auction. Not in the least spooky and I was thinking WTF. Fortunately we got the flash and the bang and blare of the overture, which took my mind of that part. But I don’t know if it was the lack of a live orchestra, or just bad acoustics, or a not good enough loudspeaker system – the sound of it all did not blow me away like it did in Copenhagen last year. I think that the Ny Teater has spoilt me – it’s a smaller auditorium than the theatre in Nagoya, and I think the sound system had been recently revamped there too. The theatre in Nagoya is housed in what looks like a corrugated iron warehouse from the back, and is totally modern inside, no frills. Comfy chairs, and good views from all seats, however. But not the atmosphere of an old red velveted and gilt Opera House...


The Phantom Masayuki Sano

Definitely more “operatic” than others I’ve seen....er... heard. He sang very well. But he was more performing the songs that acting the story, most of the time. Nothing wrong with that, it's just my observation. I've heard Phantoms who have sang less well, but have compensated for this in other ways. His voice was full and deep and rich, I think it’s the “darkest” or lowest Phantom I’ve heard so far, but am not sure. His body language and whole style was different, to other Phantoms, and his STYDI crawl was absolutely terrifying.

Christine Mika Takagi

I’m ashamed to admit I can’t remember her voice very clearly. I’m sure she sung well and accurately but I didn’t connect with her. She “broke through” to me a couple of times, though, but overall she does not stick in my mind. She and the Phantom were not interacting with each other in the duets, MOTN, DJT, but played their parts very separately. As opposed to for example Mia Karlsson and Preben Kristensen in Copenhagen in spring 2009.

Raoul Tatsuro Iida

Or “Laoul” as “Klithtene” said a couple of times. Perhaps she did say “r” but it wasn’t very clear to me, and came across as “l” the times I noticed it. Or perhaps something in between the two. I missed the rolling guttural “R”s you find in French and in Danish. The Phantom’s “Christine” didn’t ring out as clearly in Japanese as in other languages either. Anyway, Raoul was a dashing young man who flashed his charming smile generously at the audience and Christine. Full of life and self-confidence, with a thin Errol Flynn moustache. Am I ever going to find a Raoul with a real French moustache??

Overall he was very protective of Christine, kept physically close to her, and she nestled happily in his shadow.

Piangi

Diminutive in stature, his personality did not make a great impact on me, even if he did some fabulous eyebrow waggling during his “Hannibal” aria. His voice was incredibly wobbly, this was a character who had definitely passed his best before date.

Carlotta

I think this is my favourite Carlotta so far. She didn’t have the big and loud traditional diva persona, but she made the men scuttle like cockroaches all the same. Her singing was truly terrible. She sang just very very slightly off-tune, she was *almost* on pitch, but not quite. So she made a good job of being a bad singer. She was mischievous and impish. During Prima Donna, she waggled her fox fur tails at the audience, flirted with us, blowing kisses and winking in a very exaggerated fashion. During DJT she bit in the apples and tossed them to others in the cast who accepted them with delight and winked at her – there was a great sense of collusion between her and the others in the cast, as if THIS particular diva was in fact rather well-liked by her colleagues.

Madame Giry

She didn’t come across as very forceful, and looked far far too young for the part. I’m sorry, but I find it hard to swallow a Mme Giry who looks younger than her daughter. She was a mere slip of a girl. Wallis Simpson at fifteen, perhaps.

Meg

made no great impression on me either way, sang sweetly, but not remarkably. Her blonde curly hair clashed noticeably with her dark eyes, she was the character whose “non-western” appearance I noticed the most because of this I think.

Auction and overture.

As the audience settled in, a “gaslight” in a metal cage burnt brightly on the stage. When the houselights went down, the “flame” also went out, leaving us in darkness. The sharp knock of the auctioneer’s hammer just before the light came on again made me jump. I’ve always wondered what was under the drapes labelled “cygne” and think it must be Raoul in his wheelchair.... Drape behind the chandelier is transparent, with a floral motif in dark green and red.

Auctioneer’s voice very deep and deliberate. The movements of the auction staff slow and grave. They were all incredibly slim, tall and slender, willowy, graceful in movement.

The men in the elephant held a loaf of bread, I didn’t notice any card-playing nor any bottles, like in Copenhagen.

Raoul’s voice not wobbly and old-sounding like Tomas Ambt Kofoed in Copenhagen. Sounds normal.

Think of Me

Some interesting glances and interaction between Christine and Mme Giry during this, and at the beginning of TOM. Looked as if there was a genuine connection and affection between them.

Christine fairly even, and doing quite well from the very beginning, but oh how awkwardly the lyrics scan to the music! I can pick out certain words, but don’t know what they mean. It would have been nice to know more Japanese. Sweet scene between Meg and Christine, oops, they sang “Antchel of Muthic”, these occasional anglicisms make me jump!

Mirror scene

Christine neatly changed from slippers to heels, but very daintily and carefully so she didn’t flash her ankle, or legs like Mia Karlsson in Copenhagen.

Raoul didn’t grab the champagne bottle from his friend, rather his friend put it into his hands, he holds it almost awkwardly as if he doesn’t know what to do with it.

And no no no, where is the deep throbbing of the organ as Christine passes through the mirror. The sound in the theatre really let me down. “Antchel of muthic” again from Christine, Phantom has a better pronunciation. He sounds.... barrel-chested is a word that I've noted down.

Darn, I miss the live orchestra here, the recorded soundtrack just does not do it for me.

Crossing the “bridges” / travelators going down to the Lair, Christine makes a graceful movement backwards with her hand (“Alas my mother and the hearth of my childhood home” kind of thing), pausing until the Phantom tugs her again. She does that twice. The sleeve of her dressing gown is very pretty. Oops, “Phantom of the Opera” from Christine.

MOTN

Phantom does the hair smoothing, but the clothes adjusting isn’t so obvious. He *knows* his clothes fit nicely thank you very much and he doesn’t need to check them. He hung his cloak very carefully and deliberately over the bows of the gondola, almost as if saying “now you stay there because I am going to need you later”.

Phantom drapes himself diagonally against the portcullis, Christine has a dance step approach, does a graceful twirl in front of him, but it’s not a natural(istic) movement. To me it came across as learnt by rote, and not felt from within. As if she was counting “1, 2, 3 raise chin, pause, on second beat of fourth bar do twirl, move away right foot first” kind of thing.

Overall, the MOTN isn’t the intertwining of P & C that I’ve seen elsewhere.

When Christine faints he isn’t even surprised, makes no gesture of surprise or attempt to catch her, nor does he hover over her anxiously wringing his hands, but walks calmly over to the carefully draped cloak and lays it over her in a graceful swoop.

Stranger Than You Dreamt It

Can’t remember the mask-stealing and interaction very clearly, but the Phantom’s crawl across the stage was remarkable. He was truly broken and crippled, almost semi-paralyzed by the loss of his mask, an integral part of himself. He wasn’t whole without it. When Christine stretches him the mask, he takes it with both hands (Yay Japan! I noticed it) and when he’s put it on, he leans over her reaching for her with both hands, and that was a Moment! A Moment when he MIGHT have just grabbed her and given her a whacking great kiss. In my vivid imagination...
Again, the lyrics scanned awkwardly in parts. To my foreign ears. Particularly noticeable as the Phantom dragged himself across the floor. Oh so painfully.

Punjab Lasso

Buquet looked quite young and not grotty enough. While the ballerinas did listen to the gruesome tale, they didn’t really interact like they did in Copenhagen, where Buquet’s description was interrupted by little claps and squeaks of “eeew” from the “ballet rats”. Ballerinas tutus had pointy edges, looked different to what I’m used to.

Il Muto

Don Attilio did not hold that long note, and Carlotta didn’t pull a disgusted face behind his back after he’d kissed her hand... it’s funny how I remember omissions, and not so much what actually did happen.... Christine’s “maid” did some very energetic leg-kicking on the bed, which of course was much larger on this big stage than in Copenhagen.

Rooftop scene.

Can’t recall anything especially remarkable about the R/C duet. What?? The Phantom wasn’t in the angel? Boo! He came out from behind a statue or vase or something on the stage. Bummer. The material in Christine’s cloak was very shiny and shimmery, can’t remember if I’ve noticed that elsewhere. Oh the Phantom is totally shattered by the discovery of Christine’s betrayal, his voice cracking, but switches back to malevolent bombast when he hears R/C in the distance declaring their love. I got a real stab in the chest to hear his pain. Ba ba boom streaks of blue lightning flash against the backdrop.... eeww, no, that’s wrong, it clashes with the colour scheme. Me not like.

Masquerade

R carries C in a nice twirl. Monkeying around was there, but I missed the live cymbals from Copenhagen. R held Christine against him, her head against his chest (aaaw) like you would hold a child that you want to protect from seeing something frightening.

Somehow the Phantom’s descent down the staircase wasn’t terribly ominous, and the lighting was wrong because the skull face looked strange. And his trousers looked different, as if he was wearing braces and they were too short or something. I may be imagining things, but I think other Phantoms have had more pouffe to their pants. The cloak was definitely a disappointment, not magnificent enough. Or was it just the way he held himself? Tossing of script, confrontation, tear off ring, and boom disappear all according to schedule. Bigger trapdoor here than in Copenhagen. Oh lord I must stop banging on about Copenhagen.

Twisted Every Way

Christine was definintely having a hard time saying no. At the end she ran out and screamed something that sounded like “sha”. But she seemed almost more scared by the people around her than by the thought of the Phantom. Carlotta had a splendid time when the managers grovelled. Flirting happily with the audience, and quietly confident in herself. Winking absurdly and exaggeratedly at her devoted fans.

WYWSHA

Up until this I’d been lukewarm about Christine, but something happened during this scene. She broke through to me, and I could feel her longing and sadness. Heartbreaking. Even if she had to squeeze a lot more words into the song than I’m used to hearing.

This stage was big enough to hold a gravestone with DATES! It said Daaé 1841-1870. And the little gate in front of the stone opened as the Phantom lured Christine to come to her angel of music. English words again, they made me jump. Again, the fireballs ain’t what they used to be when they set fire to scenery and actors alike... Argle, not the blue lightning flash again, it clashes! C was quite active in protecting Raoul, putting herself in front of him etc.

PONR

Some nice horseplay between Carlotta and the rest of the carousers at the feast, she bit the apples and tossed them to her admirers who caught them with gusto and appreciation.
Christine’s dress didn’t have any flounces on the front part – is it always like that ... didn’t rub the apple against the dress. She was wooden in this scene, stood around like a doll some of the time. The Phantom was restrained and unreactive on the bench, whereas in other productions he’s been writhing in ...er.... agony perhaps. C realized it was the Phantom when he grabbed her hands against his chest so that she was stuck, this gave a sensation of contained physical violence. But when I compare this scene with Copenhagen I wonder if the actors were going through motions they didn’t perfectly understand, that were foreign (scuse pun) to them. Or their signals and interaction were on a frequency that my antennae couldn’t pick up.

I don’t mean to complain about how Phantom was performed, but to my western mindset there were things that were different and interpretations that didn’t reach through to me. There is no doubt in my mind that the story carried through to the rest of the audience, however. Several spectators were sobbing unreservedly at the end.

Final Lair scene

Phantom’s deformity not horrific from where I was sitting. Wispy hair, pale face and skull, but not very visible.
Raoul spun around several times as if well and truly strung up high…. Ripped right sleeve and left half of shirt front hung out of trousers, seems to be the standard “Raoul in the Lair costume”.

Christine’s pleading with the Phantom was a graceful pose. Precisely and delicately performed. She did hug him thoroughly and kiss him thoroughly too, though. Raoul turned away at the second kiss. Phantom’s hands never held her, they did shake a bit, but not very much.

She left the Lair and the Phantom without any regrets whatsoever, and when she came back to return his ring it wasn’t clear how she handed it over.

Phantom's “I love you” is sung in English, which startled me. He held the large veil like a baby, hugging it against him. At the end he was truly broken.

I enjoyed the show, but didn’t “live with it” as I have done at other performances. But there is no doubt about the impact on the audience, a number of people were sobbing for quite a while afterwards.

A different ending in Japan

In Europe, the actors take their bows, and get called back a number of times. Finally the curtain doesn’t rise again and the audience stops clapping and leaves.

In Japan, after the third curtain call, the cast all started waving to the audience, happily and politely. The audience waved back, breaking off the applause. One by one the cast members walked off the stage, waving. The last to walk off was the Phantom, and his gloved white hand was the last I saw as the heavy curtains closed across the stage.[/quote]

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  justin-from-barbados on Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:20 pm

Was looking through some photos on the japan site recently and they are a few shots of the theatre (they are tiny) I can see what you mean about no frills, a real black box. But does it have a balcony?

ALso looking at the Japan book on the show, alot of the sets seem bigger, mainly because the stage is usually much wider than it is high. Her Majesty's & Denmark tend to be about the same width and height, so things like the bed in Japan seem huge.

And in those same pics of the theater I noticed there is no pit so no orchestra. Can you imagine the uproar if they tried that in the UK or the US Very Happy

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Jennie on Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:13 pm

Yes, it does have a balcony, I was right in the middle of it, on the second row.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  IamErik771 on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:21 pm

This was fascinating to read... Many thanks for posting your observations! I think most (if not all) the Japanese productions have done without a live orchestra. In the 3 live performances I've seen clips from, the tempo of the music was always exactly the same as in the cast recordings; you could probably set your watch by it if you were seeing the show live. The only variation I've really noticed in the timing is how long they hold certain "money notes," like the B-flat in "Think of Me" or the high notes in MOTN. (By the way, is "Think of Me" still done in the OLC/movie key, or have they moved the main bit of the song up like in every other country's productions?)

I'm currently working on translating the Japanese lyrics for the show -- so far, I've done all of Act 1 except "Notes" (which, as you might guess, is quite challenging). The differences -- sometimes very minor, and sometimes huge -- are really interesting to ponder. Since words in Japanese usually have more syllables than their equivalents in English (and most other European languages), the translator(s) had to be quite creative in trying to convey a similar general meaning. In a lot of cases, they've picked words that can have multiple meanings; for example, in MOTN, the first line of the final verse ("Watashi ni yudanete hoshii" -- "Floating, falling, sweet intoxication" in the English libretto) translates to either "I want you to trust me" or "I want you to devote yourself to me." Which meaning you apply to it can affect how you view the relationship between Erik and Christine, so I suppose it gets the audience to put a bit more thought into it rather than just passively watching.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Jennie on Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:12 pm

The interpretation of the lyrics of MOTN sounds fascinating, it's often impossible to translate the words straight over between different languages, and I imagine that Japanese is particularly challenging. Are you planning on posting your translation? It would be interesting to know more about the Japanese text content and to discuss the multiple meanings...

I can confirm that they needed to squeeze in a lot of words in some of the songs - the singing was almost like a manic sowing machine with a needle working madly up and down.

Also, in STYDI I felt that a lot of the lyrics scanned awkwardly, there were were a few "ng" sounds that sounded very stretched or stuck in the middle.

I can't say whether TOM was transposed, I am not that at home in the music, technically.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  IamErik771 on Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:05 am

Yes, I do plan to put my translation online... A friend has offered to let me use her website for that, so when it's ready, I'll post a link. Very Happy

I agree with the "manic sewing machine" comparison in certain parts. My favorite is Piangi's bit in "Don Juan" -- the "when you met, you wore my cloak..." line. Laughing Have you gotten to see or hear any of the other Japanese Phantoms? If so, how did Sano compare? I've only seen a couple clips of him on YouTube, and they were from a gala performance of selected songs from the show, so I don't think I could grade his acting based on that.

One thing that bugs me about some Japanese Phantoms (and occasionally performers in other shows) is their habit of putting on a slight American accent to sing the role. Yuichiro Yamaguchi and Osamu Takai did it, and so did Kiyotaka Imai (only his was a bit less overt, thankfully)... I have no idea why they do it, but I find it rather distracting; isn't it enough that we're dealing with a British musical set in 19th-century France, sung in Japanese, without worrying about seemingly random American accents popping up? (Sorry; 'tis a pet peeve of mine. Embarassed)

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:33 am

IamErik771 wrote:One thing that bugs me about some Japanese Phantoms (and occasionally performers in other shows) is their habit of putting on a slight American accent to sing the role. Yuichiro Yamaguchi and Osamu Takai did it, and so did Kiyotaka Imai (only his was a bit less overt, thankfully)... I have no idea why they do it, but I find it rather distracting; isn't it enough that we're dealing with a British musical set in 19th-century France, sung in Japanese, without worrying about seemingly random American accents popping up? (Sorry; 'tis a pet peeve of mine. Embarassed)
Luckily that's one thing I don't notice at all... Laughing But I agree that it sounds uncalled for. Didn't you comment of some of the German Phantoms doing the same?

But is it true the Japanese productions has always performed without an orchestra? I can't believe it! I would think someone would have commented on it earlier. And what do they do if something goes wrong on stage?

In a way it's odd that the Japanese has such an individual flair, while the Korean production(s) is a lot more like how we know it here in the West. The countries are so close and share many cultural aspects. And yet their productions are so far apart (well, as far as they can be, in terms of being replica productions).

_________________
JOSEFINE TO THE PHANTOM:
You come off as... somewhat... rough...

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  IamErik771 on Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:55 pm

operafantomet wrote:Luckily that's one thing I don't notice at all... Laughing But I agree that it sounds uncalled for. Didn't you comment of some of the German Phantoms doing the same?

No, I'm pretty sure that was Count-Alexiel-Ravenswood. I don't know nearly enough German to identify accents. Laughing But yeah, it is really weird. Yuichiro Yamaguchi in particular seems fond of it -- he also did it as Der Tod in Elisabeth, Count Von Krolock in Tanz der Vampire, and Maxim de Winter in Rebecca, though thankfully, he had a standard Japanese accent back when he played Raoul in POTO.

I've heard some justification for why certain "outcast characters" like Erik, Krolock, Elphaba in Wicked, and Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde can be played that way -- the idea that they might be foreigners or immigrants can add to their separation from "normal" society -- but it's still rather strange to me. Apparently, it was a fad in the '90s for Japanese pop singers to sing with faux-American accents, so I'm guessing that's where it came from. Some shows make the variation in accents more reasonable and culturally relevant... for example, in Les Misérables, the Thénardiers have a lower-class dialect, sort of the same way that most UK Thénardiers have a cockney accent. And as the revolution builds and the battles start, the students start to develop a feudal-era Samurai dialect, which seems rather fitting. (Unfortunately, most Eponines end up having an American accent.)

Oddly, the only role where I liked the faux-American accent was Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, where it was absolutely hilarious to listen to. Yep, Gaston is American, apparently... are they implying something there?

lol!

But is it true the Japanese productions has always performed without an orchestra? I can't believe it! I would think someone would have commented on it earlier. And what do they do if something goes wrong on stage?

Yeah, I have no idea how they made that work. I've never heard of any mistakes going on in the Japanese productions, but then again, I suppose Phans from the US and Europe don't get to see the show there very often. I'd be very surprised if they really do have a "no mistake" record.

In a way it's odd that the Japanese has such an individual flair, while the Korean production(s) is a lot more like how we know it here in the West. The countries are so close and share many cultural aspects. And yet their productions are so far apart (well, as far as they can be, in terms of being replica productions).

That's a good point; I hadn't thought of that. Maybe because the first Japanese production opened in 1988 when the show was still sort of being developed, whereas the first Korean production was in 2002 when everything had been pretty much standardized worldwide? Or maybe it has something to do with the long political and cultural rivalry between the two countries... It would be interesting to find out.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Jennie on Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:19 pm

IamErik771 wrote:[color=green]Yes, I do plan to put my translation online... A friend has offered to let me use her website for that, so when it's ready, I'll post a link. Very Happy

I agree with the "manic sewing machine" comparison in certain parts. My favorite is Piangi's bit in "Don Juan" -- the "when you met, you wore my cloak..." line. Laughing

IamErik771, I've listened to the 1999 recording and wow yes Piangi really had to squeeze in a lot of words into those few bars of music!

Have you gotten to see or hear any of the other Japanese Phantoms? If so, how did Sano compare? I've only seen a couple clips of him on YouTube, and they were from a gala performance of selected songs from the show, so I don't think I could grade his acting based on that.

Just today I was able to listen to the 1999 CD all the way through, for the first time (family was out) and wow, whoever the Phantom is on this one, he's formidable. What a voice, and what a presence! I had to sit down and just listen. Don't know who he is I'm afraid, all the text on the CD and leaflet is in Japanese....


One thing that bugs me about some Japanese Phantoms (and occasionally performers in other shows) is their habit of putting on a slight American accent to sing the role. Yuichiro Yamaguchi and Osamu Takai did it, and so did Kiyotaka Imai (only his was a bit less overt, thankfully)... I have no idea why they do it, but I find it rather distracting; isn't it enough that we're dealing with a British musical set in 19th-century France, sung in Japanese, without worrying about seemingly random American accents popping up? (Sorry; 'tis a pet peeve of mine. Embarassed)

Accents can be terribly disturbing, but I can't remember noticing anything like that...

As for things going wrong technically.... with a pre-recorded soundtrack. In Japan, everything always seems to work flawlessly. I cannot imagine anything going wrong there ever. But please let me know if you've seen anything.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  IamErik771 on Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:55 pm

Jennie wrote:Just today I was able to listen to the 1999 CD all the way through, for the first time (family was out) and wow, whoever the Phantom is on this one, he's formidable. What a voice, and what a presence! I had to sit down and just listen. Don't know who he is I'm afraid, all the text on the CD and leaflet is in Japanese....

Nice! The Phantom on that one is Kiyotaka Imai, and I agree that he's awesome. I also really love the Carlotta in that cast.

Accents can be terribly disturbing, but I can't remember noticing anything like that...

As for things going wrong technically.... with a pre-recorded soundtrack. In Japan, everything always seems to work flawlessly. I cannot imagine anything going wrong there ever. But please let me know if you've seen anything.

Yeah, they do pride themselves on avoiding mistakes in most areas of Japanese life, so I bet theatre is no exception. That's probably the reason for avoiding things like the angel statue being raised and lowered (having the Phantom stand on a Pegasus statue instead for the rooftop scene), and for having the chandelier fall slower than most other productions -- they really don't want any screw-ups.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Vicomtesse de Chagny on Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:38 pm

That is weird... Why do an American accent when singing in Japanese? Especially when playing a European character... I'm glad to say I've never noticed any of it, and I've been listening quite a lot to Yamaguchi lately. Though not PotO for some reason. I'll go and fix that now. ^^

IamErik771 wrote:Yeah, they do pride themselves on avoiding mistakes in most areas of Japanese life, so I bet theatre is no exception.
Indeed. Just look at the history of the Shinkansen trains... Since the opening in 1964 there's been only been one de-railment (caused by nothing less than an earthquake) and even then no casualties, and their punctuality is crazy. Within six seconds of scheduled arrival time. Shocked

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  IamErik771 on Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:25 pm

Hehe... My translation site is finally up and ready! Here it is!

Thus far, I have Act 1 posted, but Act 2 will be coming soon. (The translation's been done for quite a while; it's just getting it online that's a bit time-consuming, plus some occasional last-minute corrections.) Come check it out, and don't forget to leave a comment in the Guestbook! Or reply some more to this topic, if you'd prefer... Hey, why not both? Very Happy

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  MasqPhan on Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:11 am

Nice work with the translation site. I like being able to see the different meanings in the songs in the various language translations. I didn't get to read through it all right now but I hope to very soon. Smile

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Klavirista on Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:22 pm

Wow! I like Japanese cast recordings very much, and now I can understand what songs mean! Thanks, IamErik771! Very Happy

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  IamErik771 on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:20 pm

Thank you both! Very Happy

Act II is now complete, and I've made some additions to the "Translation Notes" page as well. Check it out! Cool

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:57 pm

I haven't read through it yet, but thank you so much for sharing this with us. Very Happy

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:15 am

"Phantom of the Opera" just finished a successful 6 month run in Kyoto on August 28, 2011, and before that an (I think) 1 year run in Nagoya. They're heading back for Tokyo, where they open in mid October. Here's some pics from the final curtain call in Kyoto:






ETA: stunning official Japanese teaser for the show:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoobUamc1jA

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  SweetChristine on Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:23 pm

operafantomet wrote:"Phantom of the Opera" just finished a successful 6 month run in Kyoto on August 28, 2011, and before that an (I think) 1 year run in Nagoya. They're heading back for Tokyo, where they open in mid October. Here's some pics from the final curtain call in Kyoto:






ETA: stunning official Japanese teaser for the show:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoobUamc1jA

Wow, wonderful! Japan loves and lives the Phantom!

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:10 pm

For those interested, Phantom of the Opera is now back in Tokyo. It re-premiered there in October, and will play until the end of April 2012. Or at least, that's how long they're booking for. They have a wonderful old-school web site, here: http://www.shiki.gr.jp/applause/operaza/main.html

And I WANT THIS HOODIE!!
http://gdsk.jp/shop/goods/goods.aspx?goods=01280-00

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Bunvendor on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:24 pm

Shame that the angle sculpture brooch doesn't seem to be available, it looked really nice.
Looking through the pictures, that japanese wishing dress...not good.
OG

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  MasqPhan on Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:00 am

They have a gorgeous website. Love the opening page design. Does anyone here read Japanese? Google translate isn't working for me in the shop section. Would love to know if any of those items are available as I keep seeing zero. Love the red shirt and the hand towel. Wonder if they'd ship international without scary shipping rates....

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Loettchen on Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:49 am

Really, REALLY thinking of going to this on my way home... Come on, guys. Convince me. It's worth the money, right?

Speaking of the shipping, I heard there was trouble getting things shipped internationally, but I haven't tried it myself. Maybe that's not true anymore.

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:04 am

Loettchen wrote:Really, REALLY thinking of going to this on my way home... Come on, guys. Convince me. It's worth the money, right?
You really want me to convince you? Like, really? Cause I'll do it in a heartbeat...

And I think that goes for phantomlove and Jennie, who's seen it in Japan as well. Very Happy

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Devon on Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:22 am

Loettchen wrote:Really, REALLY thinking of going to this on my way home... Come on, guys. Convince me. It's worth the money, right?

Speaking of the shipping, I heard there was trouble getting things shipped internationally, but I haven't tried it myself. Maybe that's not true anymore.

You...need....to....go! There, you are convinced! :-)

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Loettchen on Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:31 am

Heh heh, thanks guys. It's still up in the air, but I was wondering if the people who have experience seeing the show in Japan have tips or warnings. For instance, how good/reliable/expensive is transportation to the theater? Is it feasible for me to see it one evening and leave from Narita airport the next afternoon? Any problems with language barriers?

My friend asked me, "But if you don't speak Japanese, how will you understand what's going on in the musical?"

"Oh," I replied, "I don't think that'll be a problem!" Very Happy



EDIT: Well, my ticket is booked! So, assuming no catastrophes, I'll have an update soon!

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Loettchen on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:12 am

I'm happy to say that everything was a success! Got to Japan and back safely. Saw the show! It was a bit of an adventure just getting to the theater, but I think that made it more memorable! It was such an interesting experience, so I'm really glad I went ahead and splurged on it.



That Raoul bear was kind of tempting. Some interesting merchandise overall, in fact, but too expensive for my budget, sadly.



Me. You gotta have proof, right?

I'll post a review in the review section. I understand now what people were talking about when they said the show has a certain lack of emotion. At least it was definitely true of the actors I saw. Which is not to say there wasn't acting! It was especially interesting for me to get to compare it to the Korean production!


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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  Devon on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:21 am

Loettchen wrote:I'm happy to say that everything was a success! Got to Japan and back safely. Saw the show! It was a bit of an adventure just getting to the theater, but I think that made it more memorable! It was such an interesting experience, so I'm really glad I went ahead and splurged on it.



That Raoul bear was kind of tempting. Some interesting merchandise overall, in fact, but too expensive for my budget, sadly.



Me. You gotta have proof, right?

I'll post a review in the review section. I understand now what people were talking about when they said the show has a certain lack of emotion. At least it was definitely true of the actors I saw. Which is not to say there wasn't acting! It was especially interesting for me to get to compare it to the Korean production!



Glad you had a great time! Can't wait to hear your full write up on the show. :-)

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:12 am

Loettchen, wow!! First and foremost I'm so happy you went. I think you would have regretted it if you didn't. I'm very much looking forward to read the review, especially how it compares to the Korean production.

I agree about the souvenirs. They sometimes list them in the souvenir brochures and/or website, and there's just so incredibly much to choose from! And some of them are so distinctive... Japanese. Love it.

Cool pictures too, especially that huge poster.

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Cast List for Japanese Production

Post  Devon on Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:33 am

Just wondering if anyone on the board knows who is playing The Phantom, Christine, and Raoul in the Japanese production? I have the brochure but alas, cannot read Japanese so am not sure who's who! If anyone could give me a cast list of these three roles, I would really appreciate it! :-)

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Re: Phantom of the Opera, the stage show in Japan

Post  operafantomet on Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:42 am

Devon wrote:Just wondering if anyone on the board knows who is playing The Phantom, Christine, and Raoul in the Japanese production? I have the brochure but alas, cannot read Japanese so am not sure who's who! If anyone could give me a cast list of these three roles, I would really appreciate it! :-)
Usually they have a cast list written in both the Latin and Japanese alphabet in the front (=our back).

Anyhow, a quick run-through of the cast list in the Japanese POTO site gave me this:

PHANTOM: Daisuke Oyama
CHRISTINE: Mika Takagi
RAOUL: Ryota Suzuki
CARLOTTA: Aya Kawamura
MEG: Yuria Nishida
MADAME GIRY: Aiko Toda
ANDRE: Morito Masuda
FIRMIN: Akira Aoki

http://www.shiki.gr.jp/applause/cast/operaza.html

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