A Visit To The Theatre To See ‘Hamilton’

February 11, 2018 — 35 Comments

 

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On Thursday I had the opportunity of going to see ‘Hamilton’ at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London. I went with my brother and his friends to the Matinee viewing at 14:30. It was exciting as I was a jump-in for the ticket, so I didn’t know much about the show other than it had been well received in the media.

This musical theatre show is about one of the founding fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton, whose drive and ambition lead him to become an American war hero and George Washington’s right-hand man. It was quite an empowering story to watch because it demonstrated what successes can be achieved if you keep working hard and persevere. However, the show also demonstrates the personal costs that this lifestyle can incur. The Hip-Hop musical highlights explain that he was born out of wedlock, then orphaned as a child, and despite these challenges sought higher education when he was in New York beginning to make his connections to the American Revolutionary War.

As a student of Opera, I was keen to see what parallels there were in this piece, especially because it attracted such a large audience, I wanted to see what I could take from the production and apply myself to my own work or future collaborations with composers and producers. It was interesting to see that the story was told mainly through rap, instead of spoken dialogue and then further developed through songs, duets and ensemble pieces. This is very similar to the common structure of opera. Instead of the rap, Opera uses recitative, semi-sung music that allows the progression of the story. The songs could be directly compared to arias because they were sung by a soloist, they enhanced the narrative by focusing on the key emotions felt by the character at that moment in the story. Creating empathy between the audience and the players. I would be very interested to hear from people whether this kind of musical storytelling is easier to connect with than opera? Is it because there is a more modern beat and rhythm behind the rap. (If you are interested you can access the album on Spotify)

I was very impressed by the high energy level of the performers and their ability to rap, sing and some of them dance. It was also brilliant to see a truly diverse and talented cast.

Hamilton

35 responses to A Visit To The Theatre To See ‘Hamilton’

  1. 

    While I have heard of the show, and that others has enjoyed it, it was interesting to hear your take. I loved how you compared opera to rap. Hoping you get to experience being in something this different during your career. I feel you could bring such electricity to the performance.

    • 

      I’d love the opportunity Annette; the future fascinates me. I have to have loose plans to keep moving with changing pathways. I’m a complete dreamer, and that energises me when I need a boost.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. 

    Hi Charlotte, sounds like a lot of fun, I’ve heard that it is a wonderful show to experience.
    Darlene

    • 

      I had absolutely no expectations at all, it was my older brother and all his friends that had organised it and one couldn’t make it…so…not being one to turn down a good offer I had a treat.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. 

    That was so cool that you had an opportunity to see Hamilton. I’ve heard there is a long waiting time (year).

    I saw an interview with the main person. If my memory serves, I believe he intended to be different than typical opera style by doing story telling with Rap.

  4. 

    I also liked the way you made comparisons between ‘Hamilton’ and classic opera. I’m afraid I hadn’t heard anything about ‘Hamilton’ before – I live such a sheltered life!

    • 

      I hadn’t heard much about it either Clare, my brother said it won the Pulitzer Prize and loads of Tony awards. It’s been getting great reviews from everyone, very different than what I’ve seen on the West End before.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. 

    Wow, very interesting thank you Charlotte – Personally, I think that if empathy is put in place, the differences in style and rhythm whatever they are is not a problem because when you go to a show, it’s It’s all about discovering something different from what you already know. – All the best for you

  6. 

    It has taken the US by storm. Plays to full houses on Broadway and on tour, I have a nephew and a grandnephew that are Head Props and Assistant on the #1 touring show, They love the show. I really can’t say I am into the music from it.

    • 

      I think it is pretty much booked up to June in London but I’ve heard there are £10 lottery seats available. Are they touring in the States or all over? It’s always great when the whole crew are into the production.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. 

    wow wow wow….you grew to the craziest heights… I am so impressed. Geez. Kudos. Also cool to see you got to see Hamilton 🙂

    • 

      I’ve got to convert this into the real world this year, gliding out of my student nest in July! It was a real stroke of luck for me, I think my brother got the tickets ages ago and when his friend had to back out, he knows I love musicals so…fab to hear from you, hope you’re doing great.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  8. 

    Charlotte, sounds like you really enjoyed the show.
    It’s fabulous that you experience so many different things in your life,
    Love it 😘

  9. 

    I haven’t seen it. There have been rave reviews here in the USA. It is doing quite well. Good for you to take in other types of operas and experience the differences and maybe incorporate some of the details into future performances of your own. Hugs xx

  10. 

    I haven’t seen it, but I’m glad you were able to come away with something you could relate to in your own craft.

    • 

      I’m always learning GP. Stage presence and spatial awareness of cast members is a particular favourite thing of mine to observe while still just enjoying the spectacle and not being too judgemental of everything.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. 

    Interesting experience. My own view of opera-with-beat is that, in common with most modern music, it is designed to provide musical popcorn-and-hamburgers for a generation too lazy to do the listening needed to develop a proper appreciation of more sophisticated music. Like classic novels in a condensed comic-book format.

    • 

      This is why I so much love being involved in performances for children and babies catch them young – but converting people in mid-life has got to be a big goal, we can’t just allow this beautiful music to die out through lack of effort on our part to entertain and stay relevant but present challenging work and bring new audiences gradually in. I believe festival opera companies are doing a great job in opening this up to more people in even remote locations.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Catching them early will certainly contribute. If only it could get to the situation where a lot of the music of choice of the majority included a good deal of ‘serious’ instrumental music and song, instead of the garbage constantly pumped out.

  12. 

    Dear Charlotte,
    Great to see you were able to catch up on the history of the United States, very happy you were with your brothers. Have a blessed day my Beloved.

    • 

      My youngest brother has just gone for his first job interview, a full day of tests and meetings/interviews and he was offered the job to start when his degree finishes so that was great news this week. So perhaps he can treat me to a show the next time I’m up in Glasgow 😄.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    Yes, I think for most people musical theater is more accessible than opera. Musical theater is more contemporary. Opera is historic, and as a cultural classic, needs to be preserved, properly. However, a fusion with contemporary musical theater story telling, popular music and opera could be just what’s needed. As rap music has brought more people into the world of the theater, it has brought theater goers into the world of rap. The same would go for Opera giving and receiving.

    • 

      I like contemporary opera, I was Eve in Jonathan Dove’s The Walk from The Garden a couple of years ago and Scottish Opera have his opera Flight on this week which is set in an airport lounge, I wish I was up there to see it. I think there is room for all operas as long as the singing and acting is good.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  14. 

    Hamilton is a hot ticket in terms of a show here. The national touring company’s show, in Denver, comes in March. In a matter of minutes, the shows (matinee and evening) were sold out. It was the same way when Phantom of The Opera (w/Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman) came through the very first time.

    Opera, however, is sometimes successful in Colorado, and other times, not so much. Denver has Opera Colorado, the only opera company. Colorado Springs, closer to where we live, the opera company folded in the 1960s. Their last show was the Barber of Seville, which my third-grade class saw in a special matinee performance for the local grade schools. Every once in awhile, Opera Colorado stages their summer festival here. Though there’s lots to do in the summer, outdoor-wise, they do manage to sell out their two weeks.

    • 

      It’s great these shows are selling out. I love it that the children were taken to the opera matinee. Such a shame the art form died out in that way but summer festival revivals are a great way to bring life back into Opera in areas that just can’t sustain a full year round opera house.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

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