Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

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Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:14 pm

Hi all! I would like to contribute here with my review, but before I start, let me just clarify this - I am not from England, nor is English my native language, so SORRY for my awful grammar. I hope It won´t spoil your reading.

I went to see this non-replica version after I saw the original in London twice, so I might not remember every single detail to be able to write what was different, however I will try my best:)

All and all, I can only recommend Hungarian Phantom. It felt completely different, but in a good way! I heard and read lot of mixed reviews, so my expectations weren´t high, but in the end I am glad to write It was worth a little trip to Hungary!

Cast-
Victor Posta - The Phantom
Renata Krassy - Christine
Nagy Sandor - Raoul

Prologue/Overture - this was my only major disappointment of otherwise beautiful evening. scene is similar (only instead of monkey playing the cymbals there is musical box in a shape of Opera house). but the dramatic moment of restoring the chandelier somehow faded, because the rising happens only inside of proscenium.

Hannibal - the same opening with La Carlotta, choreography is slightly different, costumes too, but the feeling was very similar to the original. I will write about the performances later but must point out the swing was doing GREAT job!

Think of me - Christine doesn´t start her aria shyly. She sings it confidently from the very beginning. Raoul is watching her from the box situated on the LEFT side. There is no shawl play, instead Christine makes some moves with her hands, it look dreamy and nice. Cadenza was wonderful. The actress is brilliant singer really.

Angel of music - Christine´s dressing room is on the other side of the stage. The mirror is centered in the room and to me It looked bigger than in London.

Little Lotte - I loved Raoul and Christine´s interaction in this scene. She is genuinely happy to see him and then all of a sudden scared. Then she quite hesitated when The Phantom appeared. Then under his spell she slowly approaches towards the mirror.

Phantom of the Opera - journey seems quite different. There is a LOT of smoke (we were seated in the third row stalls and still could smell it:( but whatever, it is live theater )
Christine faints in the end of the title song right after singing her high notes. She is placed in some sort of table (?) and lays there during whole MOTN.

Music of the night - Christine seems to be in more of a submissive role here, just laying on the table, conscious but in some sort of trance. Phantom actually touches and caress her face much more than in original. He seems fascinated with her as if he can´t believe she is really there with him. You can feel the erotic tension here. In the end Phantom shows Christine some sort of display. Inside there is a replica of him and her. When those androids (or how to call it) start to make mechanical movements, she, of course, faints. He picks her up and put her carefully in the swan bed.

Stranger than... - She didn´t approach Phantom, instead Phantom went to sleeping Christine and then she ripped his mask off. Whoa, very emotional scene! Phantom is actually (yes, i don´t like this either) CRYING!!!

Magical Lasso - The only song from this wonderful musical that I simply can´t stand and find it redundant so I didn´t pay that much attention to it, on the other hand, thanks to that I could clearly see the other side of the stage with Phantom taking Christine up to the surface:-)) this moment I usually miss in London.

Notes/Prima Donna - pretty much the same (Carlotta is only dress in red)... still there is one big change - instead of mere voice over you can actually see The Phantom as a reflection in the mirror in manager´s office as he is reading his commands.

Il Muto - eheh, Carlotta is literally croaking in this scene which was funny. ballet dancers are without their props (u know what i mean, the things they are holding while dancing) there was unintentionally funny moment when Buquet comes down hanging on the rope. It is clear that they used doll. pity that the doll seems to be double size of average human body:-)

Why have you brought... /All I Ask of You - wonderful staging on the roof of Opera house, with moon fading in the far back. You can see Phantom all the time. He is ducking motionless on the top of the roof looking broken when he sees Christine with her lover.

All I Ask Reprise -Phantom rising and angrily bringing down the chandelier. Again this was lowdown for me, because chandelier comes down only in proscenium. so no chills in the audience...

Entrance - there is one thing that is probably international - rudeness of people who are loudly talking during the entrance. I hate it so much! I had to give angry look to two old Hungarian ladies sitting behind me. They were happily chatting. come on people! that opening music is part of the show no matter the stage is empty. show some respect to the musicians!

Masquerade - Andre/Firmin in the masks of owls:) WTF moment, but funny nonetheless:-)

There are no mannequines used in the scene, but it doesn´t feel empty at all. after a while, stairs goes behind and people start dancing. choreography is much more complex than in the original. also Christine is more dancing than just running through the crowd of masked people. what was interesting, there were several masks similar to phantom´s and in one moment it looked like Christine is dancing with Phantom! In reality it was only another mask. this brought hint of menace to the cheerful scene. I liked it a lot.

Notes II. - Again, phantom is present during reading his commands as a mirror reflection.

Rehearsal of Don Juan - All the same, only with piano situated on the left

Wishing... - Huge difference - no big cross in the center of the stage, but couple of graves. there is a grave of Garnier beside the Daae´s, nice touch:-)

I preferred this staging to London´s to be honest. It was more intimated and with Phantom being closer to Christine It was thrill to watch. He is hiding behind the grave. His cape slightly brushes Christine. He hungrily rise his hands towards her, then runs to the upper level of the stage and starts his usual lurking. Throwing fire balls on Raoul remains all the same.

Don Juan/Point of no return - Totally different costumes. Not to my liking. I particularly disliked Christine´s weird Disneyish pink dress. But otherwise this scene was one of the top moments of whole show (at least for me) u can see that Christine knew from the beginning that the man dressed in black was not Passarino. Still she plays her part. Both of them are very sensual here and much more in physical contact than in original. The unmasking moment is really strong and you have to feel for Phantom.

Down Once More /Final Lair - Ok, here comes the time to stop and write about Phantom´s disfigurement. London´s make up department should learn from their Hungarian colleagues. This Phantom looked scary as hell! Half of his face looked like skull and from my point of view there was no trace of glued prosthetics at all. and I was sitting really close to the stage! well done!

Again there is no bribe in Phantom´s lair, but kind of mechanical dolls of the Phantom and Christine behind the glass display. He (the doll) is putting a ring on her finger and as Christine sees this, she looks disgusted.

The kiss is shorter and Phantom dares to hug Christine in the end instead of only waving his arms up and down. after the kiss things went bit too rush to my taste. phantom is very curt, quickly frees Raoul and sends them away. when Christine comes back to return the ring she is struggling to stay. Just moments before the finale Phantom wears weird black robe with high collar (looks like count Dracula in it) and turns back to the audience. When Meg comes, she finds only empty costume, Phantom is gone. She picks up his mask then show it to us in her right hand, then picks up red rose and show it in her left. then she slowly put both mask and roseon the ground aaaaaand THE END.

Curtain Call - I thought it is worth mentioning. There was no standing ovation but never ending clapping which rhytmically graduated from very slow to very fast. I am not aware of this habit but then this was my very first time at Hungarian Theater so... I don´t know. maybe it is common here.

My notes: I didn´t mind foreign language since I know libretto word by word:-) but for those who don´t, there is a panel with subtitles on the top of the stage.

I also want to give a praise to all the cast members. they were simply phantastic with no exception!!! in London I saw combo Gina beck/D.Shannon/S. Bailey and Sofia Escobar/S.Davies/W.Barrat. Well, this Christine was by far best. She was not just some pretty naive girl, she played her role in more layers so you could feel she is really thorn between two very different men. Victor Posta has great physiognomy - very tall and very thin, great Phantom. In some scenes he appeared genuinely broken, in others he was powerful and scary. And Raoul - handsome boy, not that arrogant as Bailey´s Raoul, nor that flat as Barratt´s Raoul.

Vocally, great trio!!! I hope to come and see the Hungarian Phantom again some day.

P.S. Beware of ordering your seats. It is really bargain compare to West End prices so I recommend to order front or second row stalls or dress circle. the view is good from any seat as this is quite small theater BUT the rake is practically non existing so if u will be unlucky like me (with tall man sitting in front of me) u will have to lean to the side to have clear view.

P.S.2: In a couple weeks I am planning my fourth visit of POTO - this time in HM´s Theater in London. I might be putting another review here soon then. thank you for reading and again sorry for any grammar mistakes. bye all












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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  MasqPhan on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:40 pm

I loved your review! No worries, it was very, very easy to read. You have really good English.
Great to hear all these details on the Hungarian version of the show.

Curious about the Phantom being seen in the mirror during notes. Are the characters aware of his image being there?

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:57 pm

to answer your question - no, they are not. only audience can see that.

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  Klavirista on Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:30 pm

Great review, mona lisa! Very Happy

What about theatrical souvenirs? Programm, cast recording or something like that?
Would it be hard to buy a ticket without good knowledge of Hungarian?

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:18 pm

Thank you, Klavirista:)
well, all theatrical souvenirs were on sale in the lobby. we were little bit in rush so I only managed to grab one programme, but from what I remember they also had T shirts, mugs, CD with Hungarian cast and some cute little silver masks (badges probably?)

And don´t worry. I don´t speak Hungarian at all and still had great time watching it! I don´t think they altered anything plotwise. maybe some bits in dialogues but nothing crucial to the story. so Hungarian shouldn´t spoil your enjoyment. after all It is the music that makes you want to see the Phantom again and again, isn´t It?

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:21 pm

p.s. here is where I ordered mine. page is bilingual!

http://www.azoperahazfantomja.hu/jegyinformacioe.html


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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  Klavirista on Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:49 am

Thanks for your reply, mona lisa! I'm trying to learn Hungarian, but without great success yet Laughing So online booking is the solution.

I wonder if they will release the second Hungarian cast recording, like Korean? It will be interesting to compare...

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  operafantomet on Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:19 pm

Thank you for a very interesting review! I'm so envious of you getting to see it in Hungary.

I agree about a second recording. I remember there were talks when the first double CD was released that they would release a kind of "best of" CD with various singers doing the various numbers. With multiple Christines, Phantoms and Raouls it's hardly fair only some of them got to sing on the CD. But nothing ever happened, and there's been many doing the roles since that. Kinda doubt it would happen now.

Mona Lisa, I share you dislike of that Hungarian Aminta costume. I don't even understand what they were trying to achieve by giving her that 90's Barbie dress. The overall set is kinda cool, why not give her costume a Moorish vibe to match the set?

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  EarlFan on Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:16 am

Thank you for an interesting interview mona lisa. Very Happy I've never seen the production in Hungary so I enjoyed reading about the changes they've done and how it's different from the London production.

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:52 pm

EarlFan, you are very welcome:) It was pleasure to write. It´s a shame that Hungarian production doesn´t get any promo. like on the FB official page of POTO for example. I don´t think there are many people out there who know that they still run the show at Madach Theatre.

Operafantomet, Christine´s costume was indeed lowdown for me (and don´t let me start about her matching pink shoes, hehe) on the other hand I really enjoyed Phantom´s costume. Especially the hat (wider and more stylish than in the original) and also his black/violet vest and really skinny trousers. now I might sound as 15yr old, but man he looked hooot:-)))

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  AlwaysChristine on Sun May 01, 2011 10:00 am

Hello, I´ve seen Phantom many times in Hungary. I´ve seen all Phantoms, Christines and Raouls. The other cast was most of the time the same.
I love the production, but not the costumes. I like the set.

In May they have some shows. My favorite Cast there is Sandor Sasvari and Andrea Maho.
The last time I´ve seen it, I saw 3 different casts and it´s fascinating how different they act.

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  operafantomet on Tue May 03, 2011 7:14 am

SweetChristine wrote:Hello, I´ve seen Phantom many times in Hungary. I´ve seen all Phantoms, Christines and Raouls. The other cast was most of the time the same.
I love the production, but not the costumes. I like the set.

In May they have some shows. My favorite Cast there is Sandor Sasvari and Andrea Maho.
The last time I´ve seen it, I saw 3 different casts and it´s fascinating how different they act.
Well, I agree about that. The sets are really cool at times, and the casting has been excellent. But I don't like the costumes either. Which is sad, as the costume design is beyond fantastic. It's just so poorly executed on stage. Compare the design for the Elissa costume versus what is seen on stage. I think the elegant lines and drapes from the design is all gone in the finished costume.



If I ever get the time, money and inspiration I will try to make an Elissa skirt close to that design. I think it's seriously funky. I don't think the bulky skirt worn on stage does the costume sketch any justice.

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Is anyone going to see Phantom in Budapest anytime soon?

Post  Devon on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:39 am

I see Phantom is playing at the Madach Theater in Budapest again and was wondering if anyone was going? (wish I could go!) I have tried emailing the theater several times and have never received a response. I very much want a souvenir program from there so if anyone is planning on going and would be willing to pick up one for me (I would send funds via PayPal), please let me know! Thanks!

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:09 pm

Devon wrote:I see Phantom is playing at the Madach Theater in Budapest again and was wondering if anyone was going? (wish I could go!) I have tried emailing the theater several times and have never received a response. I very much want a souvenir program from there so if anyone is planning on going and would be willing to pick up one for me (I would send funds via PayPal), please let me know! Thanks!

hey there! I am going to see the show again on Oct 22nd. no problem to pick one souvenir programme for you, you don´t need to give me money, really. Just remember to let me know before I go, ok?

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  Devon on Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:13 am

mona lisa wrote:
Devon wrote:I see Phantom is playing at the Madach Theater in Budapest again and was wondering if anyone was going? (wish I could go!) I have tried emailing the theater several times and have never received a response. I very much want a souvenir program from there so if anyone is planning on going and would be willing to pick up one for me (I would send funds via PayPal), please let me know! Thanks!

hey there! I am going to see the show again on Oct 22nd. no problem to pick one souvenir programme for you, you don´t need to give me money, really. Just remember to let me know before I go, ok?

mona lisa: Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where will you be sending the program from? I would at least like to pay for shipping expenses....I will "PM" you when it gets closer to that time. I'm so excited, I've been wanting a program from that show for quite awhile now! :-) :-)

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

Post  mona lisa on Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:03 am

you´re very welcome:-) I´ll be sending it from Slovakia, so PM me then

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Re: Hungarian Phantom (Az Operaház Fantomja) 20th Jan 2011, Budapest

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