Sunday, January 02, 2005

First, a word to 'nette who has suffered a Series of Unfortunate Events, apparently all on the same day: please take good care of yourself and get well soon!

Today was my last opportunity to oversleep for a while and I made good use of it. We had a simple kopi tiam breakfast downstairs so Q-tip finally got a token outing after many days' confinement.

Went to watch "The Phantom of the Opera" in the afternoon. Watching it on film is quite a different experience from the 'live' performance. There's nothing like the feeling you get when you have to dress up appropriate to the price you paid for a ticket and go to the Theatre to watch the stars singing the songs you're so familiar with in person. There is the expectation that anything can happen as opposed to expecting recorded perfection.

But the movie makes for clearer storytelling, a bit better exposition of the events taking place and in the involvement of the various characters concerned in the narrative. For example, I never understood why the chandelier didn't fall straight onto the audience seated directly below it, but the movie showed that the main support for the heavy chandelier was a length of cable that stretched from the stage to the centre of the domed roof of the theatre from which the chandelier suspended. Hence when the chandelier gave way it followed the cable back towards the stage like a pendulum rather than dropping like a stone. The movie also gave ballet mistress, Mme Giry, a more direct role with her inside knowledge of the Phantom; and some gorgeous locations like the eerily serene graveyard and the ostentatious hall with the grand sweeping staircase of the opera house.

Director, Schumaker, goes all out to make his film as sumptuously rich and lush with set and costume design, tinging the basic colour scheme of black and white, light vs darkness conflict, with glorious golds and reds. There's a bit during the masquerade that contrasts all this splendour with the rough, drunken revelry of the poorer members of the opera troupe who remain behind the scenes, invisible to the lords and ladies wearing masks to amuse themselves. There's a Masters' thesis in here somewhere, I'm sure of it.

And of course the music, beautiful, moving at times. A double-whammy for me as it evokes nostalgia for me as well, being that the Phantom was all the rage in TO in the late 80's. It enjoyed a hugely successful run at the then newly-restored Pantages Theatre. I still have memories of friends who were so crazy over the show they played and sang to LPs (CDs weren't popular then) so often they memorized the whole thing, though no one else was dumb enough to test this claim.

Right. So back to college tomorrow after a nice, long break. In the words of the 7 dwarves, "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go..."

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