Az Operahaz Fantomja Oct 22nd, 2011

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Az Operahaz Fantomja Oct 22nd, 2011

Post  mona lisa on Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:09 am

Hello all! I just got back from Budapest! Since my impressions from seeing “Az Operahaz Fantomja” are still fresh I would like to write them down for all of you who are not familiar with this non-replica production. During past two years I´ve became quite fond of this musical. Have seen it 3 times in Budapest, 7 times in London (next week will be my 8th) and and I was even fortunate to interview some of cast and crew members of POTO for my university thesis. That being said, I´ve became quite critical as well. Instead of reviewing I will point out few significant pluses and minuses of Hungarian production. Just keep in mind, It´s only my subjective opinion and If you read this, I am really SORRY for my English. I am from Slovakia and still have some gaps there

So here it goes:

Pluses:
Andrea Mahó – actress playing Christine – I believe she was also present at cast recording and she still plays the part nowadays. Amazing voice, really good actress, she was by far better than the Phantom or Raoul yesterday!

Masquerade/Hannibal dance – Madach Szinhaz (theatre) has unique choreography.In some scenes it works well, in some not. What I really like is Hannibal “slave dance” which looks rich even if being placed on smaller stage then in London. In Masquerade they put several characters in disguist of Phantom. That makes the scene so much more interesting! Christine is dancing among them, being lurked by them and you just keep wondering which of them is real phantom. Nice idea!

Graveyard – AMAZING set. You feel like you are looking at the real cemetery. There are two graves – Daaes and Garniers. Christine is singing her WYWSHA at her father´s grave. And the Phantom is right behind her, hiding behind the tombstone. He makes his presence clear in the beginning of Wandering Child, moving around Christine like a predator, then flee away from the scene. His movements are fast and erratic, quite menacing actually.

Mirrors – during Phantom´s voiceovers in the manager scenes, he appears in the mirror above the fireplace. Unseen by characters on scene, but seen by the audience. Nice idea as well

Phantom´s costume and deformation – seeing it several times from the front row seat, I must say I prefer it to London´s. The hat, the coat, the leather pants and boots, it all looks very smooth, elegant and… I don´t know, just phantomish? (well all except of PONR costume but I´ll be there in a minute, haha)

Victor Posta´s look – I can´t really say I enjoyed his voice, not after hearing last four performances sung by JOJ, but this man has perfect body for the role! Very tall and slender, and he can use it in his acting brilliantly!

Curtain Call – you have to see it to believe it!! People clapping rhythmically with gradual tempo, my hands were hurting by the time the curtain call was over. The reaction was wonderful and cast seemed to be very touched by it.

Minuses:

Gabor Bot as Raoul – I didn´t believe him for a second that he is the vicomt and passionately in love with Christine… very average

Chandelier – well, chandelier itself is beautiful piece of set, but the opening scene won´t give you any goosebumps really as it rises only in proscenium. The same lack off affect occurs in the end of act I. BUT… to be fair, Madach Szinhaz hosts several other musical production and concerts, so it is perfectly understandable they simply can´t implement such theatrical effects here just for one production.

Costumes (except of Phantom´s) – it has been mentioned many times that costumes in Hungarian POTO are not very impressive. The worst is PONR chorus costumes – totally out of time and place, with slight resemblance of bad TV sci-fi from 80-ties. And although Andrea Mahó did her best in seducing Don Juan (aka Phantom) here, she looks like cheap Lolita in her pink Mattel dress. Ugly, ugly, ugly…

Ridiculous amount of dry ice – you are not able to see half of the journey to the lair because of this!!!

Music of the Night/ Stranger… - Christine is constantly fainting/waking up, basically just laying on some sort of table that mysteriously emerges from the ground. I didn´t get it first or second time, nor yesterday. What was the point?! Why did they change it into this?! Than, I the end of MONR, everything goes black, actress playing Christine rushes into the boat by herself. There she pretends to be sleeping and when Phantom approaches, she rip of his mask. At this point you expect an animal rage from him. But there is none. Maybe it was just Posta´s bad interpretation, I don´t know. Anyway it kind of spoiled whole scene for me.

Buquet´s doll – It by no means looks like human body

Ok. This is all I can recall. I am sure there was much more, if you have any questions regarding specific scenes, feel free to ask. Just one last thing – I really recommend sitting at front row. The stage is not very high and you will feel in the middle of action. Just avoid seat 11 as it is right behind the conductor. I was sitting next to it and had absolutely fabulous view

P.S. Although this version obviously doesn´t beat the original. I would still recommend it to anyone who will have a chance to visit Budapest


Last edited by mona lisa on Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Az Operahaz Fantomja Oct 22nd, 2011

Post  operafantomet on Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:42 am

Thank you for another interesting Budapest review! The Hungarian production is still high on my list of stuff I want to see.

About the graveyard. I agree, it looks so eerie and rich. I love it. I noticed they put Garnier in there, and though it is a nice nod to the architect of the Paris Opera it's not quite in sync with the story. One thing is that the architect was buried in Montparnasse Cementry inside Paris, while Daddy Daaé was buried in Perros some 500 kilometers outside Paris. Another aspect is that Garnier died first in 1898. So I like the nod, but if would be so much cooler if they found one who died in say the 1860s AND was buried outside Paris. But it would of course not be as obvious a reference to the audience.

But the set in general, with the graves and the moon and how the Phantom hides, is very beautiful.

I also agree about the MOTN staging. Christine do faint a lot... and I think the song has lost its mesmerizing moments because it wants too much from the blocking. And that... erm... table rising from the ground makes me think of a hospital more than an underground lair...

I'm so impressed Andrea Mahó is still playing Christine. She is indeed the one in the cast album, and she is lovely. How many are alternating in the role nowadays? Two? Three?

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

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Re: Az Operahaz Fantomja Oct 22nd, 2011

Post  mona lisa on Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:06 am

operafantomet wrote: I'm so impressed Andrea Mahó is still playing Christine. She is indeed the one in the cast album, and she is lovely. How many are alternating in the role nowadays? Two? Three?

(at least) three I believe. I´ve seen Renata Krassy, Barbara Fonyo and now Andrea Maho playing the part

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Re: Az Operahaz Fantomja Oct 22nd, 2011

Post  AlwaysChristine on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:58 pm

Thank you for your review! I love the hungarian production so much!
Andrea Maho is the best Christine here.
I´ve seen also all three Christines, Phantoms and so on...

It´s so great to see the difference between all actors and actress.
There was a time I´ve seen all in 3 performances in 2 days.

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Re: Az Operahaz Fantomja Oct 22nd, 2011

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