Theatre lovers are in for a treat as Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera will be staged at the Istana Budaya for the very first time, beginning 15 June.
After a two-week performance in Singapore, previously in Manila, the 118-strong cast, production crew and orchestra members will transform the Istana Budaya stage into an Opera House set in 1911 in Paris, accompanied by soaring music and spectacular costumes.
Based on French novelist Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, The Phantom of the Opera is about a disfigured musical genius, known as the Phantom.
He haunts the Paris Opera House and is obsessed with his protege, a talented young Soprano by the name of Christine Daaé. He is unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul and then, sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events.
Since its premiere in 1986 at London’s West End, the show is now the longest-running show in Broadway history. It has been performed to over 140 million people in 44 countries in 186 cities, with an estimated gross of USD 6 billion worldwide.
Having won over 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony’s on Broadway, four Olivier Awards in the West End, the show recently celebrated its 13,000th show at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London.
The star of the show, Meghan Picerno, a coloratura soprano voice who plays the lead as Christine Daaé describes her first time watching the Broadway show: “To experience the raw emotions and the brilliant music of Andrew Lloyd-Webber, nothing can compare to when the overture starts. The rock, classical organ (sound)! Your entire body just is covered with goosebumps, and I can’t get that by watching a movie.”
“I very much relate to Christine on so many levels. I find her to be a very passionate, intelligent girl who is growing into a woman. The difficult part for me is the course where we see her (grow) from a girl to a woman. She is vulnerable, she naively gives her love to a man who then manipulates her."
“What is difficult for me is to shed Meghan in 2019 and wear Christine, who is from the early 20th century. We have to remember that this is a classical period piece. I need to remember she (Christine) doesn't have a life experience like I, at 17-years-old, had."
“So to go back to that place of vulnerability and to willingly give my power over to a man. It is difficult sometimes but when you see the journey and the growth, it is incredible,” says Meghan.
Picerno attended The Manhattan School of Music Conservatory in New York and after that, started her career as an opera singer.
“It takes a lot of emotional, spiritual, physical and vocal energy to do the show justice."
“Many of the ‘Christines’ throughout history are from the musical theatre background. So that does set me apart. The colours of my voice will be a little bit different."
“It takes a lot of emotional, spiritual, physical and vocal energy to do the show justice. The fact that we are premiering here - and audiences in Kuala Lumpur have never seen it live - that’s an extra honour, privilege and responsibility."
“We have a great cast. It’s pretty magical when you get a cast of people together, particularly from all over the world. There is a chemistry and things blend (together) - its a sixth sense of communication that's above and beyond something,” she says.
The international cast will be joined by a full 12-piece live orchestra, playing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most memorable music including Think of Me, All I Ask and The Phantom of the Opera.
The musical will be showing Tuesday to Friday at 8:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm and 8:30 pm in Istana Budaya beginning 15 June. Tickets are sold from RM200 (not inclusive of an additional RM4 fee for each ticket) - available at ticketcharge.com.my.