One of my long-term goals had been to watch The Phantom of the Opera. I first fell in love with it when I saw the movie on TV (not a musical). Then I found the CDs of the opera (London cast with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman) and I bought and read the book and fell all the more in love with it. I then saw the newer version of the movie with Gerard Butler in it, but I thought he still looked far too handsome to be The Phantom LOL!!!
I must say that I was a bit afraid of having too much expectations, so I tried my best to not have any expectations at all. The movie with Gerard Butler is actually pretty similar to the opera version, but the difference is that in the opera show, any mistake can be seen right away. My friend who accompanied me to the opera then commented afterwards that some of the props were too old and they were a bit wobbly he he he he...I did notice it during the show, but I was much too immersed in all the drama and intensity of the show.
To cut the story short, I enjoyed the show. It was really dramatic and intense. I love the wardrobe and the props and the singing was perfect, as well. I can't help imagine how difficult it would be to sing, act, and move the heart of the audience. At the end of the show, it was so climactic that I couldn't help crying. The way the Phantom sang his heart out was just so heartbreaking. And yes, I did sing along (silently) with many of the songs he he he he he...
I wasn't exactly planning ahead to watch the second opera, but friends of mine had recommended it to me and because I still had some fund left for it (it's not that cheap to watch the opera if you want a pretty decent seat), I went to buy the ticket a few hours before the show started. This second opera is called the War Horse. I paid around £47 (around €65) for each ticket.
I had seen the genius artwork of the War Horse puppetry through youtube prior to watching the opera. Here goes in case you have never heard of it:
I got a seat at the very back, middle part of the stalls area and I was hoping that nobody would block my view as I'm pretty short. When people started sitting down, I felt a bit deflated when a couple came in and the guy sat in front of me. The guy was rather tall (almost a head taller than the woman) and he was blocking my view. I was almost tempted to ask them to switch seats, you know? LOL!!! But I decided to wait. Luckily for me, turned out there were two empty seats next to that man and next to me, so I moved to an empty seat next to me and it was the best seat ever! Because there were nobody right in front of me, I could get a clear view of the whole stage! WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!
As usual, just like Phantom, the first act (before the break) is the build-up for the second act and the climax. Again I cried during the climax of the show. Very very moving. Both operas are different in how they use the stage. In War Horse, they use less 3D props/backgrounds/costumes, but they make more use of the space between the stage and the audience sitting in the front row, so I saw some of the actors running around in between the stage and the paths behind the audience in the front row. That's why I said I had the best seat ever! I could see everything clearly from the back. In Phantom, none of the actors ran in between the audience.
The Horse puppet and the puppet masters in War Horse were just superb. Brilliant! They really mastered the horses' movements and could manipulate the horse puppets in a realistic way. I also love the guy who played the duck puppet. Very entertaining!
All in all I think both shows are on par with each other (though I'm a bit biased when it comes to Phantom LOL!!!). I don't know if I want to watch the both of them again next time I visit cities that have opera houses, but not because I don't want to. It's more because of the money restriction and because I want to watch other shows, as well.
Additional note: Almost forgot to write that the guy who sat next to me (who was then one seat away from me after I moved) actually started snoring about 15 minutes into the first act. Crazy! It was OK to sleep, but his snoring bothered the couple in front of him. His friend kept on having to tap his shoulder to wake him up. After the break, he never came back! I couldn't help thinking of the wasted money! Oh well...his loss!
Anyway, I'm very thankful that I got very lucky with the weather during my London trip. It rained the first evening I was there, but the days after only got warmer and warmer. The last full day I was there, it was 22'C during the day and the sun was shining brightly. People were sitting outside and sunbathing.
I'll write more about my London trip later, but here's a pic of my ice-cream and the River Thames at the back (yes, it was hot enough to sit in the shade) and a pic of me with Big Ben he he he he...The bad thing about travelling on your own without having a selfie stick is that you have lots of pics of the different places you've seen, but very few pics of yourself LOL!!!!