Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-loved The Phantom of the Opera is onstage now at Durham Performing Arts Center under the direction of Laurence Connor. And, whether one has seen the show countless times before or is a newcomer to the classic story, this production is definitely one to watch.
For those not familiar with the story, it focuses on Christine Daaé (Eva Tavares). Christine starts out as a ballet dancer for the opera company where she works. However, the secret singing lessons she’s been taking with the mysterious Phantom of the Opera (Quentin Oliver Lee) quickly catapult her to more major roles.
Christine also finds herself coming face to disfigured face with the demanding Phantom, who soon sets out on a reign of terror at the opera. Lee, it must be said, does a wonderful job of bringing the Phantom’s menacing, scary nature to life, while still managing to get across some of the character’s vulnerability. He is always intriguing to watch onstage and has a rich, booming voice that instantly captures the audience.
Quentin Oliver Lee and Eva Tavares star as The Phantom and Christine in the current tour of The Phantom of the Opera (photo by Matthew Murphy)
Incredible special effects, like a sparking chandelier, ghostly voices that seem to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once, and plenty of loud sound effects at just the right times also add into the spooky delight of the show. However, the beautiful music and elaborate costumes serve as a nice counterbalance to all the darkness- a dichotomy that mirrors the message of the show itself.
Equal parts sexy and spooky, this production is one that all will enjoy.