Vanemuine PotO

Estonian Phantom of the Opera - some details

I’m in train from Helsinki. Thought to write down some little thoughts and moments from Vanemuine’s PotO before I have time to forget… It’s such an interesting production and though it’s not perfect, I really liked it! I can see how this direction may divide opinions and some fans would probably hate it, but it worked for me.

These thoughts are in the order they pop up in my head. Hope you can follow my train of thought.

- This production was so clearly Christine’s story. Mademoiselle Christine Daaé of the Opera. Maria Listra was absolutely, absolutely fantastic. Both voice and acting - and perfect beautiful Christine looks on top of all that, too. I’m in awe.
- I loved it when after Raoul’s “Christine, don’t think that I don’t care”, he tried to kiss her - and she pushed him away and left the scene. Yes!
- I L-O-V-E-D the Final Lair kiss. It wasn’t a huge romantic kiss on the lips like in the original. Instead, she kissed him on the deformed cheek, much like in the book. It was so powerful, much more so than the original kiss, at least in my opinion.

- Overall, the Phantom was a mad genius meets a pitiable creature mix here. A lot less suave and sexy than how I’ve perceived the original. Creepy/sad.
- Christine mainly feared him and was only intrigued by him when he managed to convince her he’s a real angel, like in the graveyard. I didn’t feel Christine had any romantic/sexual feelings towards the Phantom. I quite liked that. It made her decision to choose him to save Raoul at the end very poignant, for me at least.

- The Phantom sung Christine to sleep during Music of the Night. She actually woke up and held her ears when he started playing the organ!
- The Phantom had a white flower on his lapel during Final Lair, to match her wedding dress. It was such a nice touch, I think.

- The costumes looked much nicer onstage than in photos, at least in my eyes. Not perfect, but better-looking than I thought they would be.
- The Phantom had a leather jacket. A little silly, maybe, but I liked that. His wardrobe was a bit boring, though - it was his only costume, if you don’t count the Point of No Return cloak. No Masquerade costume for him!
- Remember the Phantom’s clunky-looking mask? It looks bad onstage, but it seems that’s for a reason. At the end, the Phantom disappeared in a really nice curtain trick and left his mask on his throne. Instead of Meg finding it, it was suddenly set on fire. That looked great and I honestly prefer the ending without Meg. So no wonder if the mask doesn’t look that good - if they have to make new one for each performance to burn…
- The deformity seemed rather realistic somehow, and pretty icky, but it was a bit difficult to see from the fourth row already. I wonder if the people in the back saw anything at all.
- The production was mostly ok visually, but it had some rather underwhelming moments too. Like the Phantom sitting in a pouch in front of the rooftop angel, like a baby kangaroo. And a really small and slow chandelier.

- There were some adlibs/additions here and there. I didn’t catch most of them since I don’t speak Estonian, but the Phantom going “welcome onstage, Monsieur Buquet” just before Buquet was hanged was something I understood.
- Monsieur André broke the fourth wall a bit to yell at the actual conductor for not starting the ballet fast enough.

- Stephen Hansen (The Phantom) did a little happy dance during the very enthusiastic curtain call. Hee!