Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:41 am

Phantom of the Opera, The Majestic, Broadway, New York

August 16th (evening) and 17th (matiné)


PHANTOM: Hugh Panaro
CHRISTINE: Marni Raab (alternate, though principal this week)
RAOUL: Kyle Barisich
CARLOTTA: Michele McConnell
ANDRÉ: George Lee Andrews
FIRMIN: David Cryer
MADAME GIRY: Marilyn Caskey
MEG GIRY: Jessica Bishop
PIANGI: Evan Harrington
BUQUET: Paul Schaefer (u/s)
AUCTIONEER: John Kuether
REYER: Greg Mills

Rest as cast as in the playbill, except Harlan Bengel as the Slave Master.


Hugh Panaro:
Has grown into the role in a most impressive way. I loved him back in 2003, but he did play a more androgyne Phantom back then. This time around he owns the stage in a different way - he's more intimidating, with a darker timbre, he's more masculine, a bit unpredictable, and the way he pronouce all consonants makes his singing very interesting to listen to. And when his Phantom became childish, be it in a vulnerable or spiteful way, he took the role to a new level. He really floored me.

Marni Raab:
I've heard a lot about her. Not all positive. Her voice is often described as shrill. And I can see what they mean. However, I didn't think her voice was shrill. I rather thought it was thin for most of the show, except when she put on a lot of volume - and then it sounded thick. And she didn't manage to blend those well. So singing wise, she didn't floor me. However, her acting... It was amazing. She did some very, very good acting choices. Incredibly nuanced, and an interesting portrayal. Acting wise on my top 5 list, singing wise not quite there. She did, however, have some fine singing moments in "Think of Me" and "Point of No Return". So I'm not quite sure how to rate her. Raab with a grander voice would have been spectacular. But Raab with current voice is a rather good deal as well.

Kyle Barisich
I've heard lots of great stuff about his Raoul. I couldn't quite see what the fuzz was about. Don't misunderstand, he did everything right, and there were moments I mentally checked the "He's a good Raoul" list. But I don't think he put a too personal stamp on the role, nor did he surprise me all that much. But he had a nice baryton, he certainly looked dashing, and there were moments of greatness which I'll come back to.



Taking in the first views of The Majestic felt wonderful. Felt like home, to be honest. For the evening performance I sat in the middle of the stalls/floor, for the matinée I was in the right side box, furthest away from the stage. The second one was about half the price of the floor one. But BOY, did I prefer the box! So much closer to the stage, a bit up to enjoy the scenography more, and also rather private in terms of space. I love you

On to the show.... I've tried to cut down on all nerdy, little details. The review was just way too long. And there's still so much I want to comment on... But I think the essential stuff is there.




Auction and Overture:
Aaaah..... Phantom of the Opera. How I love the opening scene. I tried watching it with Brianne's words in mind, that what we see might not be real, that they're ghosts from the past, and it gav me chills. The auctioneer is like this conductor of dead souls, and I love how everything is in sepia slash b/w and how everything is in slow motion. John Kuether was a brilliant auctioneer, as he so slowly increased the intensity in his way of speaking, until almost bursting in the "...with a little illumination.... Gentlemen!".

The B'way chandelier is so much more shiny than the European equivalents - but it's also more... dangling? The bottom half was swinging freely during the Overture, and the lyre on the side was all askew (which I assume is not how it usually is). The "new" Overture is awesome. I love the more pronounced percussions at the end.

Oh, and I noticed that Madame Giry's auction paddle carries the number 27. Only reason I remember that is that I have been knitting a blanket for half a year now, and each patch is made up by 27 stitches. I'll notice everything 27 from now on... Laughing


Hannibal:
McConnell's Carlotta impressed me from the first notes. Very confident singing, but not shrill or hammering. I immediately liked her. Interesting to see the slightly different colour scheme in the US Hannibal compared to Europe. The European productions use emerald and ruby shades with lots of gold and black, whereas the US have more of a brass/brown tone to it. Still with the bright gem colours, but accented with brass it gets a different expression. Love 'em both. And....

I NEED A US SLAVEGIRL COSTUME! They looked awesome on stage. Also impressive to see how precise the US ballet girls are. Kudos. I immediately recognized Paloma Garcia Lee, she looks adorable.

Evan Harrington was such a good Piangi. His acting was on the spot, and it came as a total surprise that he sung the high note in falsetto. Cute! He also "fell off" the elephant a lot more dramatically than others I've seen, and three times, which made the audience crack up. Lefevre's departure also got a few giggles.

Marilyn Caskey:
Speaking of something completely different, Marilyn Caskey is one of the finest Madame Giry's I've seen. Though her lines aren't that many, she speaks with her body the whole show. And when she puts her eyes on someone, the glance is intense and piercing. She owns the stage in an understated way, and adds lots of small details. I especially loved it when she stopped in center stage, gave the audience a glance, before rapidly turning. She did it at least during the TOM blackout, in Masquerade and in Notes, and it felt like she personally (I.E. her character) disapproved of the audience, or sent out a warning. If that makes sense. Together with Heather Jackson in West End, Caskey owns the Madame Giry part as far as I am concerned.


Think of Me:
Very good first number by Marni Raab, she had been well taught. She's also an incredibly expressive Christine, in ways of phrasing and through her lovely, large eyes. And OMG Elissa skirt! I see now that I added way too little bling to the version I made last year. Like, WAY too little. So gorgeously sparkly! Very lovely cadenza, starting out soft and then gaining full strength towards the end.


Angel of Music:
I noticed many new Degas painting poses this time around, and it just made me love Gillian Lynne even more. However, the last dancer to leave stage failed to reproduce the "Little Dancer" statue, because she didn't lift her chin and put her arms on her back, as the statue does. OK, it's a tiny detail, but when the other poses are done so perfectly, it's too bad the most obvious one wasn't on spot. I'll post some reference photos later.

Jessica Bishop as Meg is so adorable in terms of acting and looks, but why oh why so vibrato heavy? She had a nice voice as such, but in AOM there were moments I weren't quite sure which notes she was singing. Such a pity, as she was so good otherwise. Especially when grasping Christine's hand in AOM, as if she suddenly felt the Phantom's presence but without knowing why or what, and then notice how distressed Christine was as well. Often it's the other way around, that Christine grabs Meg's hand and transfers her nervousness.

Raab's reaction to Raoul's entry was excellent. Her first response (M'sieur?) appeared to be a ballet girl tired of being hazzled by male admirers. But when he continued with "where is your read scarf?", she picked up the letter, read it anew, and recognized who the admirer was. Their rendez-vouz was sweet.

Another lovely Raab detail was when the Phantom's booming voice could be heard. When she excused herself "...my soul was weak, forgive me", she rapidly turned the letter from Raoul and hid it with her hand, making the reason for the Phantom's fury obvious.

Speaking of the Phantom, Hugh Panaro has a most interesting way of articulate the consonants which I found very proper for the character. He also have full control of his voice, switching effortlessly from whispering to booming to luring.


Title song:
The moment when the scene is filled with "mist" and the lights start appearing never fails to give me chills. To me it's one of the most beautiful moments of musical theatre design. Title song was good, bla-bla-bla, really nothing much to add here, except I actually thought they used too much smoke during the song.


Music of the Night:
I noticed an awesome thing which I'm pretty sure I haven't seen anyone comment on (or I've forgotten about it): during the first and second Lair scene, the eyes and mouths of the golden proscenium statues were lit. When they're lit, they look evil. It added such a perfect amount of surpressed feelings and creepiness to the Phantom's home. I've never seen this done elsewhere. I know that they lit the eyes and mouths of the golden angel figures in Copenhagen during the Phantom's curse (another detail I loved), but I've never seen all statues all lit for the two lair scenes and them only. I LOVED it.

Panaro again showed total control of his voice, and again he articulated the consonants. In the past he was lovely to listen now, now he is also incredibly interesting. He also displayed expressive body language. Raab is much more of a blushing Christine than others I've seen, and I got the feeling it was very obvious both Christine and the Phantom were newbies to love. I liked how she was blushing and looking down during the beginning of the song, before being lured in to the Phantom's soft words, and then trying to get kissed several times.

And OH YES the money note was there.


STYDI:
For some reason I noticed how well the Phantom in Mandarine cloak was lit. It looked so.... rich. I also noticed how the Mirror Bride had titled to the left, a pose which was later echoed by Christine leaning away and the Phantom stretching out for her. Very, very nice.

I had expected more fury from the Phantom when unmasked, but his rage gradually grew until "Damn you, cuse you". Which was effective. I also loved how Christine put her hand on the Phantom's hand before giving the mask back.


Notes / Prima Donna
I loved David Cryer's giggly, jolly Firmin. I LOVED Marilyn Caskey. I loved Carlotta. But still I mostly zoom out during Notes 1. I don't know why, but this number always bores me. Didn't fancy the US version of Carlotta's b/w dress all that much either, it's usually what I look at. So I watched the orchestra. And I was NOT impressed with what I saw. Ready for a rant?

Sitting in one of the boxes I had a very clear view of the pit. Most in the audience probably don't. Still, it's not OK to tell apparently amusing stories, eat and drink, and even mock dance and make silly faces when not playing. It didn't help that many of them were dressed in t-shirt and shorts either. Albeit the sound of the orchestra was first rate, I had a feeling of watching a school band practice more than a Broadway orchestra. Whether they like it or not, they are a part of what's going on on stage, and though everyone can't see them there still are many who can. Seeing them goof around broke the illusion the show manage to capture so perfectly elsewise by using the whole auditorium (including the pit) as the Phantom's playground. He should yell at the orchestra, not the dancers! It really isn't OK. As mentioned, they music they produced was first rate, but the goofing annoyed me.

/rant



Il Muto
Fop quartet was very well choreographed/timed. And Raab's Maid/Serafimo were as boyish as could be. McConnell was the cutest Carlotta, but without loosing her attitude. The mock kissing with Don Attilio was lots of small "smooch-smooch-smooch-smooch" cracked the audience up.

Panaro was fantastic as the interfering Phantom, switching between mocking, mimicking and menancing. At some lines he appeared childlike, grinning of joy, "clawing" his hands of excitement, at other times becoming a full-bred furious Phantom. Great acting from the upper row.

Again the precise and synced movements of the US ballet corps impressed me. The ballet was lovely, and funny in the right places.


All I Ask of You
When writing this review I went directly from Il Muto to the Phantom's curse. That sums up my feelings towards the rooftop scene. Well, no... That's harsh. Thing is that I adore the scenery, and when done well I also like how we get a glimpse of Christine's mixed feelings and Raoul's desire to understand. But when "only" sung well it can be boring. One thing which stood out and which I loved, though, was that Christine kneeled together with Raoul when he proposed. Also, Raab's Christine is wonderfully shy when faced with grand emotions, which she had earlier displayed in MOTN. She also showed it for the rooftop scene, which I liked.


I gave you my music
At first only a hand visible, then another, then a hat.... and a white mask. Panaro sung with lov, soft voice for the first lines, between turning the song into sobbing and sulking. He hid under his clothes and tried to cover his ears during the lovebird's distant song, sobbing "No.... no.... Christine....". you can all imagine what awesome contrast that was to the thunderous last lines. FANTASTIC curse scene. If I remember the eyes and mouths of the golden angel statues lit up, as they did in Denmark.

But holy sweet Moses how slow the Broadway chandelier falls. I've seen it in clips, I've read about it, I've heard it. But it has to be experienced to understand just HOW slow it is. Seriously, it's 2011, lots of new technology available. It should be possible to improve the chandelier fall. A lot. Shiny and nice chandelier, though.




Second act to come....

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:26 am

I've never gotten a good enough look into a pit orchestra to notice the musicians during a performance, but that does sound annoying.

Funny you didn't like AIAOY this time because I thought Barisich and Ford did the best one I'd seen.

SenorSwanky

Posts : 1632
Join date : 2009-09-25
Age : 31
Location : Raleigh, NC

View user profile http://www.facebook.com/dustiningalls

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  Raphael on Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:19 am

operafantomet wrote:
Hugh Panaro:
Has grown into the role in a most impressive way. I loved him back in 2003, but he did play a more androgyne Phantom back then. This time around he owns the stage in a different way - he's more intimidating, with a darker timbre, he's more masculine, a bit unpredictable, and the way he pronouce all consonants makes his singing very interesting to listen to. And when his Phantom became childish, be it in a vulnerable or spiteful way, he took the role to a new level. He really floored me.
Despite my insistence that he's WAY too handsome to be a believable Phantom to me, I saw Hugh on Broadway back in '02 or '03 and liked him well enough, although I felt there was a "snarkiness" to his interpretation that evening. Now I'm wishing I could go see him again since his take on the role sounds so intriguing!

Marni Raab:
I've heard a lot about her. Not all positive. Her voice is often described as shrill. And I can see what they mean. However, I didn't think her voice was shrill. I rather thought it was thin for most of the show, except when she put on a lot of volume - and then it sounded thick. And she didn't manage to blend those well. So singing wise, she didn't floor me. However, her acting... It was amazing. She did some very, very good acting choices. Incredibly nuanced, and an interesting portrayal. Acting wise on my top 5 list, singing wise not quite there. She did, however, have some fine singing moments in "Think of Me" and "Point of No Return".
I think she's one of those actors who's been with the show a little too long. When I saw her in the tour back in '03, I thought she did a great job (she was, after all, the first I'd seen to partake in Apple!Porn). But when I saw her in '08, it was like she was sleepwalking through the show - acting and singing-wise. I never thought I'd be bored at a Phantom performance, but I was that night. But it sounds like she's picked things up since then, which is good.

Auction and Overture:
Aaaah..... Phantom of the Opera. How I love the opening scene. I tried watching it with Brianne's words in mind, that what we see might not be real, that they're ghosts from the past, and it gav me chills. The auctioneer is like this conductor of dead souls, and I love how everything is in sepia slash b/w and how everything is in slow motion.
Makes things so much more eerie when seen in that frame of mind, huh? Smile

The B'way chandelier is so much more shiny than the European equivalents - but it's also more... dangling? The bottom half was swinging freely during the Overture
Well, she is getting older, you know. It's only natural that things are bound to start... sagging... a little.

Raab's reaction to Raoul's entry was excellent. Her first response (M'sieur?) appeared to be a ballet girl tired of being hazzled by male admirers. But when he continued with "where is your read scarf?", she picked up the letter, read it anew, and recognized who the admirer was. Their rendez-vouz was sweet.
That's interesting, I've never seen a Christine react in those ways before. Nice addition!

Another lovely Raab detail was when the Phantom's booming voice could be heard. When she excused herself "...my soul was weak, forgive me", she rapidly turned the letter from Raoul and hid it with her hand, making the reason for the Phantom's fury obvious.
I think that might be standard choreography. I believe all the Vegas Christines do it. It's very nice.

Speaking of the Phantom, Hugh Panaro has a most interesting way of articulate the consonants which I found very proper for the character. He also have full control of his voice, switching effortlessly from whispering to booming to luring.
Cool, I really like it when the actor can transition between those extremes smoothly.

Panaro again showed total control of his voice, and again he articulated the consonants. In the past he was lovely to listen now, now he is also incredibly interesting. He also displayed expressive body language. Raab is much more of a blushing Christine than others I've seen, and I got the feeling it was very obvious both Christine and the Phantom were newbies to love. I liked how she was blushing and looking down during the beginning of the song, before being lured in to the Phantom's soft words, and then trying to get kissed several times.

And OH YES the money note was there.
...

Oh, sorry. I misread that. I thought you said the money "shot" was there. My bad.

STYDI:
I also loved how Christine put her hand on the Phantom's hand before giving the mask back.
Another nice touch. Might be pushing the sympathy a bit considering their relationship at that point in the show. Nevertheless, I'd like to see that myself to see how it plays live.

Not cool re: the orchestra. I'd always assumed they dressed up for the performance.

All I Ask of You
When writing this review I went directly from Il Muto to the Phantom's curse. That sums up my feelings towards the rooftop scene. Well, no... That's harsh. Thing is that I adore the scenery, and when done well I also like how we get a glimpse of Christine's mixed feelings and Raoul's desire to understand. But when "only" sung well it can be boring. One thing which stood out and which I loved, though, was that Christine kneeled together with Raoul when he proposed. Also, Raab's Christine is wonderfully shy when faced with grand emotions, which she had earlier displayed in MOTN. She also showed it for the rooftop scene, which I liked.
The rooftop duet is a key moment for me. It's the perfect opportunity (and *only* opportunity, when you think about it) for the actors to sell the romance between the characters to the audience and in doing so establish a strong love triangle. I'm always pulling for them to get that across.

I gave you my music
At first only a hand visible, then another, then a hat.... and a white mask. Panaro sung with lov, soft voice for the first lines, between turning the song into sobbing and sulking. He hid under his clothes and tried to cover his ears during the lovebird's distant song, sobbing "No.... no.... Christine....". you can all imagine what awesome contrast that was to the thunderous last lines. FANTASTIC curse scene. If I remember the eyes and mouths of the golden angel statues lit up, as they did in Denmark.
I like that slow reveal. Haven't seen it done that way in awhile now. And yeah, the Broadway Angel eyes and mouths light up Smile

But holy sweet Moses how slow the Broadway chandelier falls. I've seen it in clips, I've read about it, I've heard it. But it has to be experienced to understand just HOW slow it is. Seriously, it's 2011, lots of new technology available. It should be possible to improve the chandelier fall. A lot.
See, yet *another* reason you have to come to Vegas! Smile

Looking forward to part 2!

TAFKaR

_________________
Proud former member of TMCPMC
Keeper of Brianne Morgan's Masquerade hip-swish
www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Raphael

Posts : 1046
Join date : 2009-09-22
Location : San Francisco Bay Area

View user profile http://www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:54 pm

SenorSwanky wrote:I've never gotten a good enough look into a pit orchestra to notice the musicians during a performance, but that does sound annoying.

Funny you didn't like AIAOY this time because I thought Barisich and Ford did the best one I'd seen.
Yes, I was mighty surprised by the level of goofing down there. I mean, a joke or two is fine, but this was a show of its own. And not to compare everything to Copenhagen, but there both the conductor and the orchestra were dressed to the nines, every night. They also acted along with what was going on on stage. So I am used to look down and see a part of the story there as well. Maybe I'm spoiled. How is it elsewhere? I don't think I've ever had a good view on the orchestra in London, so I can't remember how they do it.

And don't misunderstand, I think AIAOY is an important scene. I actually love the scene when they first enter the rooftop. But I think the actual duet drags out. Whoever plays Raoul and Christine needs to do a very good job, and add a flair of their own, for me to find the scene interesting. So it's more lack of interest than dislike - if that makes sense.

Despite my insistence that he's WAY too handsome to be a believable Phantom to me, I saw Hugh on Broadway back in '02 or '03 and liked him well enough, although I felt there was a "snarkiness" to his interpretation that evening. Now I'm wishing I could go see him again since his take on the role sounds so intriguing!
I won't claim he's be your cup of tea, but I really, really loved what he did with the role. His character is more fleshed out and more dangerous than it was back in '03, I think.

Well, she is getting older, you know. It's only natural that things are bound to start... sagging... a little.
She's a sassy old lady, shaking her arse like that.... Laughing

See, yet *another* reason you have to come to Vegas! Smile
Oh believe me, I WANT TO! I want to so badly. But even the non-Vegas chandelier can be impressive when sent down; in Germany, Spain and Australia they basically throw it down there. Copenhagen wasn't bad either (and they had fun slamming it down on stage as well, so it sounded like a crash - but with those sturdy feet and extra top ring - another sassy lady! - I guess it could handle it). The Broadway one felt like I had time to go buy a soda before it reached stage. They need to speed it up. Seriously.

Glad you guys liked read the review, act two is to come... soon... Smile

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  auctioneer on Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:26 pm

Hi Anea - I'm surprised to read this about the orchestra. Part of the conductor's role is to maintain decorum, after all. We're long past the days of the 1960's (pre-union) pits. From my "normal seat" in London, I have an excellent view of the pit, and I never observe them conducting themselves other than professionally. I'll next see Phantom in NYC in December, so I'll have a look out.
Just curious - you haven't mentioned dear George yet in the review. Just curious - how is his performance in his final stretch?

auctioneer

Posts : 167
Join date : 2010-01-02
Location : Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:54 pm

What do you mean by the musicians playing along with what's going on onstage? Do they react as if they're musicians in the Opera Populaire's orchestra? Very interesting if so. I'd honestly never really given a thought to what the orchestra does other than play the music.

I agree that AIAOY can be boring. It is rare I've been excited by it, but whether they did a good job or I was in the mood for a romantic scene, it worked for me better a few weeks ago than it had before. I do love the song in general, though, when sung well. It's fun to sing as well. When the OLC version comes up on my iPod, I never skip it. Steve and Sarah are amazing.

SenorSwanky

Posts : 1632
Join date : 2009-09-25
Age : 31
Location : Raleigh, NC

View user profile http://www.facebook.com/dustiningalls

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:10 pm

auctioneer wrote:Hi Anea - I'm surprised to read this about the orchestra. Part of the conductor's role is to maintain decorum, after all. We're long past the days of the 1960's (pre-union) pits. From my "normal seat" in London, I have an excellent view of the pit, and I never observe them conducting themselves other than professionally. I'll next see Phantom in NYC in December, so I'll have a look out.
Just curious - you haven't mentioned dear George yet in the review. Just curious - how is his performance in his final stretch?
It's almost unfair he's not mentioned. Some cast members are just so good and so solid in everything they do that it's hard to mention extract just a few things from their performance. But on the other hand, it's not fair to mention them at all. George Lee Andrews is such a person. Why he was let go is beyond me, he was fantastic. I promise to include him in act 2.

What do you mean by the musicians playing along with what's going on onstage? Do they react as if they're musicians in the Opera Populaire's orchestra? Very interesting if so. I'd honestly never really given a thought to what the orchestra does other than play the music.
Yes, they more or less acted as the orchestra of the Opera Populaire, and the conductor as the conductor of the Opera Populaire. But of course, the latter was most obvious, especially when communicating with Reyer in Hannibal and with Carlotta and André in "Il Muto". It was a nice little detail which I loved. And for some reason I though it was done elsewhere as well.

But guys, I really don't want the orchestra detail to be the main part of the review. I loved the Broadway production! I was just so surprised by how goofy they were in the pit, it was out of character for the whole production, as everything else was so professional. I would love to hear what's the case in London, though. Do they dress up? And I would also be interested in hearing if I caught the Broadway orchestra on a "bad" day or if they're really always as relaxed as that.

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  auctioneer on Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:35 pm

In London, it depends very much on the conductor. I know that when Anthony Gabriele was there, he very much acted the part (when the chandelier was shaking in Il Muto, for instance, he would turn around and look panicked; he would communicate with Philip Griffiths [Reyer] during Hannibal; he would also speak directly with Andre pre-ballet). Other conductors basically ignore what's going on onstage. As for the musicians themselves, they are oblivious to what is happening onstage (keeping in mind that many of them have been in the pit for 25 years). I've noticed that the pit musicians never read or play games, etc - because about two minutes before showtime, the cellphones/blackberries dissapear, and as soon as interval starts, out they come again! They obviously have strict rules to which they adhere. Even while the performance is on and some players have long stretches without playing, they sit there and do not distract themselves in any way. Remarkable, really, when you think about how much discipline that takes!

auctioneer

Posts : 167
Join date : 2010-01-02
Location : Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  phantomgirl110 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:45 am

operafantomet wrote:Jessica Bishop as Meg is so adorable in terms of acting and looks, but why oh why so vibrato heavy? She had a nice voice as such, but in AOM there were moments I weren't quite sure which notes she was singing. Such a pity, as she was so good otherwise. Especially when grasping Christine's hand in AOM, as if she suddenly felt the Phantom's presence but without knowing why or what, and then notice how distressed Christine was as well. Often it's the other way around, that Christine grabs Meg's hand and transfers her nervousness.
I'm surprised and more than a little sad to read this. She was fantastic every time I saw her, the best singing voice of any Meg I'd ever heard up to that point (and still the second-best I've ever heard). I was amazed by how clear and strong her voice was; it was the first time I remembered actually being able to hear Meg during "Notes/Prima Donna" and even the rehearsal of Don Juan. I wonder what's changed...

Did she go up en pointe on the word "perfect"? In San Francisco she'd sing "Really you were"--pointe--"perfect!" and it was ridiculously adorable.

phantomgirl110

Posts : 246
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 28
Location : San Francisco Bay Area

View user profile http://freewebs.com/little-meg

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:53 am

phantomgirl110 wrote:
operafantomet wrote:Jessica Bishop as Meg is so adorable in terms of acting and looks, but why oh why so vibrato heavy? She had a nice voice as such, but in AOM there were moments I weren't quite sure which notes she was singing. Such a pity, as she was so good otherwise. Especially when grasping Christine's hand in AOM, as if she suddenly felt the Phantom's presence but without knowing why or what, and then notice how distressed Christine was as well. Often it's the other way around, that Christine grabs Meg's hand and transfers her nervousness.
I'm surprised and more than a little sad to read this. She was fantastic every time I saw her, the best singing voice of any Meg I'd ever heard up to that point (and still the second-best I've ever heard). I was amazed by how clear and strong her voice was; it was the first time I remembered actually being able to hear Meg during "Notes/Prima Donna" and even the rehearsal of Don Juan. I wonder what's changed...
Maybe it's just my taste. But I really couldn't tell what she was singing in "Angel of Music" because of her vibrato. That's not to say I didn't like her, I liked her a lot. I just wished she'd tone down the vibrato.

Did she go up en pointe on the word "perfect"? In San Francisco she'd sing "Really you were"--pointe--"perfect!" and it was ridiculously adorable.
She did. She had many of these cute moments where she added something extra. I also think she was an excellent dancer, moreso than most Megs I've seen.

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:04 pm

For some reason the second act takes forever to write. Probably because I wanna include every little detail, and then I realize it's too much and remove stuff, and then the coherence is lost, and then I have to re-write... So instead of driving myself nuts for something which really isn't too big a deal, I'm posting parts of it until I'm done with the whole thing...


Intermission
Oh yes, I did indeed buy a T shirt, two caps and the last two brochures. Oh yes, I did. My first Phantom clothes ever, folks! I also strolled around a bit to see how the theatre looked on the inside. Loved the upper bar, with the Carlotta drink! But alas, I had no time to taste it... Nor photograph it. What's up with the NO PHOTOS ALLOWED ANYWHERE INSIDE THE THEATRE rule? It was so strict around the bar and the souvenir stands, whereas few cared if people flashed away inside the auditorium. Should have been opposite.

Though, two girls asked the usher if he could take a picture with them and the chandelier. He was like "eeerrrm, no... No photos are allowed here." Then they turned to me and asked if I could take it instead. Like, while the guy was still here. I'm thinking no?



Masquerade
Almost a bit sad the light house only blinked gently a couple of times to tell people to get into the auditorum for act 2. The auditorium must have been half empty by the time Entr'acte started, which is kinda sad. But then again, they only lower the lights in the second half, so I guess it's partly intentional. And very historically accurate...

The managers kept luring around the stage for a long time, before "discovering" eachother. George Lee Andrews got lots of laughs for his skeleton costume, and the audience also applauded when the staircase came to view. Haven't experienced that in a long time, it made me very happy. And it really is a fantastic sight.

The Broadway cast is in such a good shape, I must say. Everyone was so on time, so energic, so graceful, so professional. Oh and I had forgotten the US lyric for Masquerade is a bit different than West End, cool to hear.

AND THE COSTUMES!!! Eye candy de luxe. Meg's costume really caught my eye. Partly because Jennifer Bishop is a very graceful dancer, and partly because of the fabric of her jacket. It looked more lavender/black than pink, and I think it had a leopard pattern. I'm used to hot pink, or even light burgundy and purple, so this was different to see. I'm 99% sure it was this costume, from early US days:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v323/reiseaudun/designmasque/megusearly.jpg

It was also interesting to hear how Barisich's Raoul spoke-sung the duet lines, make me pay more attention to his singing. Again I liked Raab's "blushing bride" appearance, especially when she sung "Look, your future bride".

Funny tidbit: during the second performance, Raab appeared to come wrong into the pirouette before the final lift. So she held her hands up towards Barisich, clearly mouthed "I can't!", and they both started giggling. Especially him, he didn't seem to understand what went wrong. They kept smiling during much of the staircase scene, but not to the point where it become obvious to the general viewer. I found it cute.

Red Death was awesome. The US costume is majestic, and Hugh Panaro knew how to move that jaw. No gaping jaw, as in West End (or have they fixed it by now?). I was way more impressed by the disappearance than I thought, as I could not tell if he still ran off stage, or used a trap door.

Barisich's Raoul really chased Madame Giry, so she realized she had to tell him at least something. And once again I was just so mighty impressed by Caskey. She's so expressive, yet so restrained, and hearing her mumble-sing about those faint memories brought a new softness to her character.


Notes II / Twisted every way
The grand moment: my first glimpse of the Wishing dress. It was just as beautiful as expected. Except the train was all askew, laying on the right side of the bustle. It was like that for both performances, and I almost suspect it was either ironed wrong or that a supporting band had snapped. Peculiar.

Nothing extraordinary happened during Notes II, except Marilyn Caskey really articulated that she had another note which made everyone groan, which in turn got lots of laughs. Caskey's Giry was in general intense and mysterious, I'm just totally loving what she does with the role.

The Christine/Raoul moment in Twisted Every Way was wonderfully tender.


Don Juan Rehearsal
Harrington's Piangi didn't only get the key of his line wrong, he also changed the rhythm a bit. I loved how man in bowler hat LOLed without shame, which made Carlotta seriously snarky. Again McConnell impressed me with her clear, strong voice, which could be heard through the chorus and orchestra without sounding shrill. She rocks.


The Graveyard
I loved how Raab sounded thoughtful in almost every word of the WYWSHA intro, and also in the beginning of the song. I also loved how she glanced at the proscenium statues during "Passing bells and sculpted angels....", so she kinda made those a part of the graveyard. Again I wished she had a grander voice, as I adored her acting in basically the whole show.

I didn't know the cross was so covered with ivy, the opening was not viewable at all. Very cool. The grave also only appeared to have "DAAÉ" written, no year? Again Panaro floored me with switching between modes of singing. For the first time I thought Barisich stood out. His Raoul really fought for Christine, and raged against the mocking Phantom. At times the Phantom almost appeared childlike - a child who's stolen someone else's toy and is daring them to get it back, mockingly. At other times you felt the rage of this dangerous grownup male hurt by the world. I loved how Panaro's Phantom managed to switch back and forth between them, and making it a complete and believable character.

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  IamErik771 on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:25 am

Sounds like an awesome show! Great to hear how Hugh has matured in the role... hopefully I'll get to catch him in the show sometime. It's too bad Jessica's Meg didn't do it for you. When I saw her in the Tour, she had a really pure, clean tone; I agree with Mandy that she was the second-best Meg I've encountered. Perhaps she had an off-night, or picked up some bad vocal habits (which would be a real shame). Great to hear that Kyle made a good Raoul -- I found him rather wooden when I saw him, but maybe I just wasn't used to his style, or else he's changed it up to be more dynamic in the role since joining the Broadway cast. Interesting to hear about the orchestra and conductor playing it that way, as well... I'd be interested in finding out more about what was going on there.

Anyway, yes... Awesome review of what sounds like a superb performance! Very Happy

IamErik771

Posts : 319
Join date : 2009-09-22
Age : 28
Location : Hawaii

View user profile http://iamerik771.blogspot.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  SenorSwanky on Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:35 am

operafantomet wrote:I loved how man in bowler hat LOLed without shame
They've been having the person in the Auctioneer/Attilio track do that for years because Greg Rahming also did it (better than Keuther, I think).

SenorSwanky

Posts : 1632
Join date : 2009-09-25
Age : 31
Location : Raleigh, NC

View user profile http://www.facebook.com/dustiningalls

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:41 pm

Last batch of the review. Slightly incoherent, but here you go....



Don Juan / Point of No Return
Had an excellent view of the "Policeman in Pit". He pretended to almost aim at people close to him, studying them, which was hugely appreciated in the front rows. I like when people make something out of this tiny role.

The Don Juan costumes were gorgeous - so glittering and lush. I wish they were photographed more. Again McConnell stood out - good stage presence and strong voice. Ooooh, and Meg's costume. Loved how the various coins/chains made a nice razzling noise, and it flowed so nice when she made her little pirouette.

Harrington's Piangi/Don Juan actually explained the plot better than most I've seen. No, he didn't change the lyrics, but there were something about the way he pronounced it, like it really was a dialogue.

Raab sung gorgeously in the intro of the song, gave me high hopes for the rest of the scene. And though I know the "Italian accent" thing both JOJ and Panaro do annoy something, I tend to like it. I also liked how it contrasted Panaro's usual singing, as the stress on the consonants were completely gone as "Italian" and was gradually introduced throughout the song.

And oy this was a steaming hot number. Once again Raab ddid the "blushing bride" thing, and I loved how she looked down and almost blushed when Don Juan sung "...in pursuit of your deepest urge....". Her Christine appeared to notice that *something* was wrong, without being able to pinpoint what. She kept sending Don Juan glances, and she also looked into the wings (=at the managers) a couple of times. I dig her acting. And for PONR she also sung very well.

When the Phantom was revealed his attitude changed from sensual and self secure to pleading for love. Panaro's voice control, gliding through the notes, whispering, thunderous, was really, really impressive. I haven't heard him thus good before. During the unmasking, Raab put her hand on his chest, and it looked intimate without it looking like she was about to give him a hug as others have done (I love the latter as well). I got the impression her Christine only meant to rip off the mask, and she looked horrified when she stood there with a wig as well.

I was surprised to see both Meg and a ballet girl run to open the curtain where the dead Piangi is - is this common in the US. I've honestly never seen it before. Neither were good screamers either, but I know that is asking for a lot... I also missed more reaction from Raoul. I'm used to Tomas Kofod yelling and trying to run after Christine, being held back by the managers. Barisich's Raoul mostly stood there, confused. I think this, if anytime, is the time to be worried about one's fiancée!


Down once more
For some reason the second boat scene always impress the heck out of me, set wise. I always forget how gorgeous the smoke-and-candle filled scene is. And oh yes, another money note knockout from Panaro. It was also cool to see the Aminta-with-blue-cloak live, I think it's only done in the USA. Elsewhere it's the Aminta costume only.

And haha, I love that the audience still gasp when Raoul leaps from the travelator.


Final Lair
Raab's Christine was still very sympathetic towards the Phantom, though she appeared to be a Christine/Raoul gal. She feared him, but still tried to reach out - if that makes sense. Her compassion was touching in "A face which earned a mother's fear and loathing....", walking towards him, with a hand stretched out. Mia Karlsson did the same in Copenhagen, it always touched me. Especially when the gesture is interrupted by mental!Phantom raging.

I almost burst out in laughter when Panaro threw the "mirror bride" on the floor. The kinda naked mannequin landed on the floor with her legs framing her head, and she sure showed the audience her.... best...

The lasso worked without glitches, and looked very believable from where I sat. Raoul struggled with his lasso, Christine tried to protect him from the many violent attempts of the Phantom, and for once all three voices stood out. I don't know if it was the vocals or the sound system, but it sounded really good.

The kiss was a great moment in the performance. During the first kiss, the Phantom helds his arms in a V shape, wanting to embrace Christine without daring, shaking. During the second kiss he slowly started to embrace her.

For a moment it seemed the Phantom was to hurt Raoul, and when he closed in to him, Raab's Christine screamed "NOO!" and fell on her knees, hiding her face, afraid of what she was going to see. And when she looked up, Raoul was free. Yet another lovely acting detail from her. Or maybe it's standard in the US, what do I know, I've just never seen anyone do it like that before.

Barisich's Raoul looked like he wanted to attack the Phantom when he told the lovers to get out of there. He stumbled towards him, but was soon enough chased out of there.

While the boat glided away, Raoul placed himself almost over Christine and kissed her passionately, I've never seen it done thus sensual before. In the mean time, Panaro gave a heck of a final note and got thunderous applause.



What can I say? I was totally won over. Both performances I saw were top notch. They were tight, touching and simply awesome. If I were to compare the Broadway production to the others I've seen, I wanna say they in general "paint with a broader brush", if that expression makes sense. Things are in general bolder and bigger. As such I've found other productions more playful, or more personal. The Broadway one seemed more polished, more "watched". But it's not meant as a negative comment towards either of the lovely productions I've visited. I I love you the Broadway production as much as the others, and I am very happy I decided to go see it twice. I was centimeters away from seeing Mary Poppins instead the second day, and I would have loved that too. But seeing Phantom twice really made me take in the full experience at The Majestic. The cast, the costumes, the atmosphere... oi!

And I'm so glad I never mentioned that I had drunk half a bottle of wine before the first performance and bawled like a baby from first sound of the orchestra could be heard and halfway out in Hannibal.... Laughing

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  Raphael on Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:10 pm

operafantomet wrote:And though I know the "Italian accent" thing both JOJ and Panaro do annoy something, I tend to like it. I also liked how it contrasted Panaro's usual singing, as the stress on the consonants were completely gone as "Italian" and was gradually introduced throughout the song.
I like it too, since it transitions between Piangi's voice and the Phantom's better. Story-wise, it seems to make more sense.

And oy this was a steaming hot number. Once again Raab ddid the "blushing bride" thing, and I loved how she looked down and almost blushed when Don Juan sung "...in pursuit of your deepest urge....". Her Christine appeared to notice that *something* was wrong, without being able to pinpoint what. She kept sending Don Juan glances, and she also looked into the wings (=at the managers) a couple of times. I dig her acting. And for PONR she also sung very well.
That's cool. Sounds a lot like how Kelly Jean Grant played it on the tour. It's a refreshing variation on the part Smile

When the Phantom was revealed his attitude changed from sensual and self secure to pleading for love. Panaro's voice control, gliding through the notes, whispering, thunderous, was really, really impressive. I haven't heard him thus good before. During the unmasking, Raab put her hand on his chest, and it looked intimate without it looking like she was about to give him a hug as others have done (I love the latter as well). I got the impression her Christine only meant to rip off the mask, and she looked horrified when she stood there with a wig as well.
And I like this even more. The second unmasking can go any number of ways and I rarely see one that seems to work properly in terms of plot progression/character context.

For a moment it seemed the Phantom was to hurt Raoul, and when he closed in to him, Raab's Christine screamed "NOO!" and fell on her knees, hiding her face, afraid of what she was going to see. And when she looked up, Raoul was free. Yet another lovely acting detail from her. Or maybe it's standard in the US, what do I know, I've just never seen anyone do it like that before.
I remember Lisa Vroman doing that on tour with Brad Little. As the Phantom grabbed the candle and pointed it towards Raoul, she'd gasp/plead "No!" as she shot an arm out at him, and when the Phantom screamed out and swung the candle at Raoul, she'd cry out and turn towards the audience with her hands over her face. Then, only after the Phantom started his next line would she turn around in surprise to see that Rapul was okay. One of my favorite interpretations of the scene, thanks for reminding me! That little extra moment of tension is something that the Vegas spiked cage denies their production.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the broadway production, Anéa Very Happy Your review makes me want to go see it again!

TAFKaR

_________________
Proud former member of TMCPMC
Keeper of Brianne Morgan's Masquerade hip-swish
www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Raphael

Posts : 1046
Join date : 2009-09-22
Location : San Francisco Bay Area

View user profile http://www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  Scorp on Mon May 07, 2012 10:37 pm

Raphael wrote:
operafantomet wrote:

Marni Raab:
I've heard a lot about her. Not all positive. Her voice is often described as shrill. And I can see what they mean. However, I didn't think her voice was shrill. I rather thought it was thin for most of the show, except when she put on a lot of volume - and then it sounded thick. And she didn't manage to blend those well. So singing wise, she didn't floor me. However, her acting... It was amazing. She did some very, very good acting choices. Incredibly nuanced, and an interesting portrayal. Acting wise on my top 5 list, singing wise not quite there. She did, however, have some fine singing moments in "Think of Me" and "Point of No Return".
I think she's one of those actors who's been with the show a little too long. When I saw her in the tour back in '03, I thought she did a great job (she was, after all, the first I'd seen to partake in Apple!Porn). But when I saw her in '08, it was like she was sleepwalking through the show - acting and singing-wise. I never thought I'd be bored at a Phantom performance, but I was that night. But it sounds like she's picked things up since then, which is good.

If she picked things up, she dropped them all again pretty quickly, because I second the utter boredom experienced when watching her, so much so I fell asleep. A thin voice, no attempt at all to act, an air of fatigue and annoyance about having even to be on stage; it was as if she were playing the mirror bride rather than Christine. I get rather riled by the fact that there must be thousands of young talents out there who would kill to perform this role on the Broadway stage, and instead they get passed over for this complete dud of a performance. She's not the worst Christine I've ever seen, but she is most certainly in my bottom five.

_________________
In Hal Prince we trust.

Scorp

Posts : 1308
Join date : 2009-09-21

View user profile http://phantomslair.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Tue May 08, 2012 6:02 am

Scorp wrote:
Raphael wrote:
operafantomet wrote:

Marni Raab:
I've heard a lot about her. Not all positive. Her voice is often described as shrill. And I can see what they mean. However, I didn't think her voice was shrill. I rather thought it was thin for most of the show, except when she put on a lot of volume - and then it sounded thick. And she didn't manage to blend those well. So singing wise, she didn't floor me. However, her acting... It was amazing. She did some very, very good acting choices. Incredibly nuanced, and an interesting portrayal. Acting wise on my top 5 list, singing wise not quite there. She did, however, have some fine singing moments in "Think of Me" and "Point of No Return".
I think she's one of those actors who's been with the show a little too long. When I saw her in the tour back in '03, I thought she did a great job (she was, after all, the first I'd seen to partake in Apple!Porn). But when I saw her in '08, it was like she was sleepwalking through the show - acting and singing-wise. I never thought I'd be bored at a Phantom performance, but I was that night. But it sounds like she's picked things up since then, which is good.

If she picked things up, she dropped them all again pretty quickly, because I second the utter boredom experienced when watching her, so much so I fell asleep. A thin voice, no attempt at all to act, an air of fatigue and annoyance about having even to be on stage; it was as if she were playing the mirror bride rather than Christine. I get rather riled by the fact that there must be thousands of young talents out there who would kill to perform this role on the Broadway stage, and instead they get passed over for this complete dud of a performance. She's not the worst Christine I've ever seen, but she is most certainly in my bottom five.
I think I just saw her in an inspired moment. All reviews I've read after August last year totally butcher the lady. "Kills the energy", "sleepwalking", "zombie" and "want my money back" is frequent comments.

I consider myself a seasoned fan, and I totally mean what I wrote with Marni Raab's acting being great when I saw her. If THAT is what Mayerhauser & co judge her by, I can see why she's still in the show. But judging from reviews this is not how she typically appears on stage. And if she's ruined the experience for SO many people there is no reason to keep her around. There really isn't.

Very sad you didn't get to see the "oldies" in supporting roles, especially Marilyn Caskey as Madame Giry. Easily the best Madame I've seen, only rivaled by Heather Jackson. But you've might seen her previously?

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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  Scorp on Tue May 08, 2012 6:49 am

Is Marilyn Caskey not in the show? Because I thought I saw her this time round; I can't be bothered to check my Playbill. I liked whichever Mme Giry I saw.

I saw most of the oldies last time I went to the Majestic. I much preferred Jeff Keller and George Lee Andrews to the current managers; shame neither are there any more. Marni should have taken lessons from them; despite being around for ages, they were still professional enough to give first-rate performances.

_________________
In Hal Prince we trust.

Scorp

Posts : 1308
Join date : 2009-09-21

View user profile http://phantomslair.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  operafantomet on Tue May 08, 2012 5:54 pm

Scorp wrote:Is Marilyn Caskey not in the show? Because I thought I saw her this time round; I can't be bothered to check my Playbill. I liked whichever Mme Giry I saw.
I think Cristin J. Hubbard is the current Madame Giry. But I don't know if Marilyn Caskey still performs, as understudy or holiday cover or similar. Might be.


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

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Broadway August 16th + 17th 2011 (Panaro - Raab - Barisich)

Post  Sponsored content Today at 8:35 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum