"All I Ask of You"

I FINALLY finished ‘Atonement!’ It’s only been, oh, probably three months since I started it. it certainly didn’t end how I thought it would, but that’s the mark of a good book, not? Anyway, I set a self-imposed deadline of tonight, as tonight is movie night and I want to watch ‘Atonement.’

But more about that later.

As for right now, “The Music of the Night” is lulling me to sleep tonight.

I went and saw “The Phantom of hte Opera” last night with my family. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first; us musical snobs are like that, you know. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom’ is the bane of many musicial buffs’ existence. To them (and sometimes me…) it’s cheap music, full of saccharine melodies, constantly repeating themes and little imaginative scoring.

Personally, ‘Phantom’ is not one of my favourite musicals; not by a long shot. The plot has too many holes, the comedic moments seem out of place, the music is memorable but each piece sounds like the other, and so on. My favourite musicals? ‘West Side Story, ”Kiss Me Kate,’ and ‘Candide’ (though whether ‘Candide’ is a musical or an opera or even an operetta is the subject of much debate). Hands down.

But back to ‘Phantom…’

Did I enjoy it? YES! Despite all of my reservations and preconceived notions, I enjoyed it a lot. The singing was good (and downright amazing in some parts), the characterizations were spot on (minus a few contrived moments – yes, I’m talking to you guy who played ‘Raoul’), the costumes and sets were unreal (especially the whole boat scene in the First Act) and the orchestra/synthesizer was solid (yes, that’s a slight dig at musicals’ increasing preference for electronics over real instruments).

Would I recommend it? For sure. It’s essential viewing for any person who professes to love musicals. But just remember: ‘Phantom’ is not the be-all and end-all of musicals; it’s not even Webber’s best work (and I’m NOT talking about that horrid thing called ‘Cats’). There are SO many more musicals out there, many of which you’ll agree far surpass ‘Phantom’ musically, dramatically and lyrically.

Nevertheless, I haven’t been able to stop humming various bits of melody from ‘Phantom’ all day. And I bought a ‘Prima Donna’ T-shirt as a souvenir. *Sigh* Even a self-confessed musical snob has her guilty pleasures…

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