World of "The Phantom of the Opera"


   The music reaches the audiences' ears at first, and then the weird yet glamorous Phantom comes out onto the stage all of a sudden. Some of you who haven’t seen "The Phantom of the Opera" on the stage may perhaps know of that tune. The bloodthirsty killer in the underground of the Paris Opera House, featured in books, films and musicals, has been loved all over the world for a long time. Let me zero in on the charm of its musical version now being performed in Tokyo by Shiki Theater Company.




 The original work, "Le Fantôme de l'Opéra," was a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux first published in 1909. Phantom’s face is terribly ugly and his temper is violent. He loves Christine, a dancing girl. Phantom teaches her how to sing beautifully in hopes of growing her to be a prima donna. But Christine suddenly falls into love with Raul, her childhood friend. What will be in store for their love triangle?




 The story itself depicts its own grandiose world based on the eternal theme of love. And still more, its setting of the Paris Opera House makes it dynamic and gorgeous. Speaking of the Opera House, it is a neo-baroque architecture built in 1875 in tribute to the empire of Napoleon III. It was designed by Charles Garnier, who also did the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco. Having 2,167 seats on five floors, it was one of the largest buildings in France in those days. This writer has seen both the film and musical adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera and found the latter more interesting and fascinating because the audiences can feel as if they were watching the drama actually in the Opera House in Paris.



 Many musicals were born from Leroux's original. The work done by British composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber may well be called the definitive edition. Avid musical fans may know that he also composed the songs of other hit musicals like "Evita" and "Cats." Webber cinematized "The Phantom of the Opera" in 2004. By the way, his second wife is Sarah Brightman, an English classical crossover soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer. She sang the theme song "Stand Alone" when "Saka no Ue no Kumo," a long historical novel written by Ryotaro Shiba, was dramatized and broadcast by NHK from 2009 to 2011.


 ガストン・ルルーの原作から多くのミュージカルが誕生しているが、決定版となったのはイギリス人作家のアンドリュー・ロイド・ウェーバー版である。ミュージカル・ファンなら、彼が「エビータ」「キャッツ」も手掛けた作曲家であることを知っているだろう。2004年には彼自身のプロデュースによって「オペラ座の怪人」は映画化もされている。ちなみにウェーバーの2人目の妻は、司馬遼太郎の長編歴史小説「坂の上の雲」をNHKがテレビドラマ化した際、その主題歌「Stand Alone」を歌ったサラ・ブライトマンである。


  The performance by Shiki Theater Company comes to a close on June 15. Why don’t you visit the Dentsu Shiki Theater in Shiodome near Shimbashi to get intoxicated with the world of The Phantom of the Opera?





(Written by: Sakurako Ogami)