“Phantom” – An Alternative

April 6, 2014 — 34 Comments

Maury Yeston is an American composer and lyricist whose works include the Broadway musicals “Nine” ( 1982 ) and “Titanic” ( 1997 ) both of which were acclaimed by the critics and won Tony Awards for best musical and best musical score. But today I would like to introduce you to a lesser known musical written and composed by him “Phantom”.

I love to perform the songs form the “Phantom” and recently during my recitals in Preston and Warrington I was able to perform “Home”. This is a beautiful song which was sung by the character of Christine Daae. I hope that you enjoy it …

After the success of “Nine” Yeston was asked by Geoffrey Holder to write a musical based on the novel by Gaston Leroux “The Phantom Of The Opera” as he had purchased the rights to the novel in the USA. Though Yeston was initially sceptical of how a horror story would transfer to stage as a musical he completed the task. He decided to make the character of the Phantom more like that of the Elephant Man or Quasimodo to enable the audience to connect and feel for the Phantom as the story developed.

Maury-Yeston

Maury Yeston

Unfortunately for Yeston and the musical he had written Andrew Lloyd Webber also decided to produce a musical based on the book as the rights for using the book became public domain in England. The Lloyd Webber production was a hit in the UK and as he announced that he intended to take his show to Broadway the funding for the production of Yeston’s “Phantom” subsided.

Phantom_musical

The musical never made the Broadway stages but did eventually get produced in Houston Texas by the Theatre Under The Stars in 1991 with the title “Phantom”. The musical which is more like an operetta was seen in over 1000 productions worldwide and Maury Yeston always refers to his work as “the greatest hit never to be produced on Broadway”.
Yeston’s interpretation of the of the original book is captivating in its use of the music and lyrics to build your acceptance and eventual sympathy for the character of the Phantom.

Preston-5th-2014

Me, Elizabeth Lawton and Russell Lomas

Preston-April-2014-001

Edmund Crighton and me at St George’s Church, Preston

Preston-April-2014-002

Me and Robert Feeley at St George’s Church, Preston

34 responses to “Phantom” – An Alternative

  1. 

    ‘Titanic’? As long as he didn’t compose that song by She-Who-Should-Be-Drowned…

    • 

      Hi Martin, no Yeston’s version was a musical theatre ‘Titanic’ not the worldwide blockbuster number 1 ‘My Heart Will Go On’. James Horner/Will Jennings version was the world’s best selling single of 1998.
      I do sing it but from the original score which is different from Celine’s version, although I can be tempted to belt that out at Karaoke 😉

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. 

    Great !! you ‘re face is very expressive…..but, why don’t you mouv your arms ?

    Very good work !! have a nice week

    • 

      Hi Pascal, I do tend to stand very still in recitals to concentrate on just the vocals and facial emotion, do you prefer more movement? We’re told sometimes too much hand/body gestures can distract people, and that we should focus the energy into the tone of the voice. When I sing this on a stage I act out the piece. I have to review my learning in ‘critical commentary’ and it would be interesting to hear what the audience thought. I must write to the organisers WACIDOM and Edmund Crighton at St George’s Church for feedback.

      I hope you have a fabulous week too I’m at work helping with the year-end audit preparation but I have the Easter weekend off.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Hi Charlotte. In fact, your hands begin to move and you block them and it creates stress ….. I think if you let go it gives becaufe fluidity is a natural movement …. But it’s personal Maybe ….. also, as I’m used to the language of signs, I find that normal hand and arm is in motion during the singing …. ;-))
        On the flute as you block several times in your hands. And yes you have to work your French property, except the first sentence, you still do Italian. I would do you a sound file.

        Good luck, keep well your course, you’re super awesome! I’m proud of you and I’m sure all those who know you are too. Full of energy and force my Charlotte!

      • 

        Thanks for your feedback Pascal, I must speak to my teachers about movement in recitals.
        I took one year of Italian lessons last year but I haven’t tackled French yet so the sound file would be very useful. I ordered a French starters book that came today and I will watch the DVDs this weekend 🙂
        Merci beaucoup
        Charlotte

  3. 

    Lovely Charlotte. I enjoyed the song very much. Learned something new about the show. Did not know two versions were around. Will wonders ever cease.

    • 

      There are some beautiful songs in both versions of the musical for a soprano, I enjoy singing Andrew Lloyd Webbers songs too, but the score in Phantom for Christine Daee is just beautiful, ‘Home’, ‘Melodie de Paris’ and ‘My True Love’ are some of my favourite musical theatre songs.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. 

    I am predisposed against another ‘Phantom’, being a fan of the Webber version. However, this has such a fresh approach – and you have sold it to me. Challenging end-notes.

    • 

      I’m a big fan of both ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and having seen it live in London ‘Love Never Dies’ both shows are amongst my favourite musical theatre productions I’ve seen. Oh yes those end-notes are very challenging.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. 

    Very nice. I enjoyed the song.

  6. 

    Brava! Well done, as always Charlotte. I had never heard the song before today – it’s quite a lovely melody.

  7. 

    Very beautiful rendition, Charlotte.

  8. 

    You’re building quite a resume, Charlotte. You’d like to sing on Broadway as well?

    • 

      Hi Eric, when I was at school I used to learn between 20 to 25 pieces each year for different plays, functions, competitions, etc. now technique, thorough understanding and pronunciation is getting more important and exacting I have to work on each piece for longer but I’m pleased I have a wide reaching back catalogue if you like, because sometimes I can choose older repertoire and work it with more knowledge/understanding now.

      Any time Broadway wants to invite me I’ll be ready 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    Interesting background on the repertoire – I didn’t know there was anything “phantom” out side of Andrew Llyod Weber. Now, the real question is – have you ever sung any Jesus Christ Superstar?

    • 

      I’ve sung ‘I don’t know how to love him’ but it’s one of the major musical theatre shows I’ve not been a part of. I love it though, is it one of your favourites?
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Very delightful performance, I enjoyed it and watched carefully, read all the comments and pondered what I may contribute to the conversation. I realized it is not a conversation you wish for, but a response, so my response is….You have brought yourself to the ready place, not just the appearance of the star on stage , but the capacity to step there. Your postings speak well for you.
    Nicely done Charlotte!

  11. 

    beautiful song….really enjoyed…..

  12. 

    I never knew there was another musical version of the Phantom of the Opera… you learn something new every day. I’ve actually never seen the other version either (though I have heard some of the music), but I have read the book and I can see why it inspired both composers. Now I kind of want to see both.

    • 

      Hi Stephanie 🙂 The live staging of The Phantom of the Opera is sublime, the sets are just a brilliant use of space, I enjoyed the new modern touches in Love Never Dies too. There is a DVD available of the first Phantom with Gerald a Butler as Phantom that’s excellent too. I’d listen to the music from a Love Never Dies a bit more before watching it because it is so beautiful.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    Lovely. Like Pascal, I’d enjoy seeing you move a little more freely even in recital, just see/hear your voice reaching us through to your finger tips.

    • 

      Thanks Hilary, it’s definitely given me something to discuss with my teachers at school. I usually get commenced for how still I am 🙂 but perhaps with an audience I need to think more about body language certainly with hands and arms.
      Best wishes have a lovely weekend,
      Charlotte

  14. 
    Son of Sharecroppers April 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Your voice is so very lovely. This is a delight.

  15. 

    Wonderful article and a haunting performance. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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