Archives For Phantom Of The Opera

A strong childhood memory for me is watching The Phantom of the Opera with my parents on a Sunday afternoon. We would sing along with the 2004 film adaptation of the musical starring Gerald Butler and Emmy Rossum. To me, it is a beautiful film, with sparkling costumes and sweet moments of intimacy between the Phantom and Christine.

This Tuesday I was invited to watch a friend Eleanor Sanderson-Nash perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. Ellie and I shared the stage in Mansfield Park, whilst working for the Waterperry Opera Festival and we were also students at the Royal College of Music.

Ellie is one of the company’s ‘Swings’. A Swing is a member of the company who understudies several chorus roles, this involves memorising multiple parts (or as they call it in the biz “tracks”), which can involve different vocal harmonies, entrance and exits and actions. It is a very demanding role and needs an artist who is not only talented but one who is organised, able to remember multiple tracks and able to accommodate flexibility within their scheduling, (as they may the called upon with short notice). It was great seeing her rock her stuff on Tuesday!

Ellie also took me on a backstage tour before the show began. I was able to stand on the stage, see iconic props and moveable set such as Christine’s dressing room, Phantom’s organ, and boat, the life-size masquerade props – which click into the stairs to give the impression of raucous party-goers and of course the iconic, and very large, Elephant from the Hannibal rehearsal scene.

I was interested to find out that this show has a team of 130 people involved (cast, crew, and orchestra). The Show has been at Her Majesties Theatre for over 30 years and because the theatre is historically listed it still uses many old-fashioned techniques to manually change the sets. In modern theatres, these changes are normally done by a computer but at this theatre, stagehands are positioned at particular pullies with specifically timed queues to ensure the show runs smoothly. There are truly many phantoms who create this magnificent show, who the audience never gets to see!

Eleanor Sanderson-Nash in her costume for the Hannibal Scene

I had a fantastic time seeing a different side to this show that holds a special place for me in my heart. Go to see it if you’re in London you won’t be sorry.

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I am looking forward to returning to Rochdale in Lancashire again this summer to perform in a lunch time recital with Russell Lomas. I love to perform in these recitals and I get a lovely warm reception from the audiences who attend. I have several others in the diary for over the summer break and will keep you all informed during the coming weeks.

One of the songs that I have been working on this year is “Endless Pleasure, Endless Love” from Handel’s opera Semele.  I was beautifully accompanied on the piano here by Russell Lomas in Warrington.

One date to keep free if you are in the Cheshire area is Sunday August the 10th. I have been asked, along with four other soloists, to join the Tideswell Male Voice Choir again this year for their Gawsworth Hall summer spectacular. Dennis Kay has asked me to sing two new songs from “The Phantom of The Opera” during the first half of the show and then perform the songs that I sang last year from “Les Miserables” in the second half.

It is a wonderful venue with large open gardens which make a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon picnic before the show starts at 18:30 pm. Having attended school in Knutsford, Cheshire I love to perform here as it is close enough to bump into old friends and catch up with them 🙂

If you want to book tickets they are available on Gawsworth Hall Website

Gawsworth-Poster