Monday, September 17, 2012

'Phantom,' a dream come true

"Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams. Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before."

As the clasped hands of the casts raise their hands and took their final curtain call for the night, as the familiar melody of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s genius fills the packed theater, I was surprised to find my sight blurring. Tears began to sparkle, flowing shamelessly on my face. It was a dream come true. The Phantom in front of me. Erik, the Phantom that was and is always me.

As we settle ourselves inside the theater, one my friends commented that most of the biggest fans of the Phantom of the Opera are either hopeless romantics or those who have repeatedly fallen victim of the vicious curse of unrequited love. This left me contemplating.

I first knew of the story of Phantom years ago in the pages of a book in high school. Curiosity turned into obsession and obsession became love. I searched for materials bearing “Andrew Lloyd Webber,” “Michael Crawford,” Sarah “Brightman” and the rest. Then came into my possession its music score. I immediately fell in love with it especially the character of Erik, the ghost of the Opera Populaire. Wickedly, I immediately saw myself as the Phantom.

I supposed it was his genius when it comes to music that I related so well. I was a very young musician then. At 17, I was already playing this haunting part in the organ, sneaking at the school’s music room. The intro after which the Phantom and Christine disappeared going to the vast underground lair beneath the opera house:

Upon reaching adulthood, curiously, I found myself wearing the same mask as the Phantom. Disfigured, a lone creature in a world of unending night, I gave my music to a person whom I thought the only one that can make my song take flight. You know the story. I wasn’t chosen and I had to let go of everything and disappear just as that person and the Raoul he chose are beginning to sing the melody of their togetherness.

Madness and brilliance. Magic and painful truths. I did not have the slightest hint that I would get to experience the surreal world of the Phantom. I am poor, and so I knew even then that I wouldn’t get the chance to travel in Broadway or in London to watch the musical I always dreamed of. But last Sunday night, the dream became a reality.

Everything was perfect that night. I gasped as the chandelier soars high above the theater ceiling. I marvel at familiar music and melody I’ve been singing and playing since I was young. I sobbed during the part when the Phantom sang that very simple “Christine, I love you” only to cry again when he sang “it’s over now the music of the night.”

For me, it's never about the grand costume, the sophisticated ballet, the fireworks and beautifully laden stage set. It’s the old story of broken romance, the cunning deceit, the genius, madness, the mystery, cruelty, denial, betrayal and man’s ultimate search for acceptance and of course – love. It is the way the Phantom’s music speaks those word my heart quietly sings. Old yet always in place.

So maybe there really is a hint of truth to what my friend said. It is the musical of the hopeless romantics, the drama of the denied, of the unloved. But what made the Phantom’s story special is the sacrifice he showed in the scene of Final Lair. He seeks redemption. He seeks that normal life he'd never known. Despite admitting he was the angel in hell, he wants to be saved, for someone to actually care and look in his eyes with no more pity but love.

An apology for I couldn’t put into any more words the surreal experience, the magic that has befallen me watching the Phantom. It’s probably the same mystery of le fantome de l’opera casted more than 25 years ago that made it the longest running theater musical ever conceived – inexplicable. That night, I left the theater with a little trace of sadness. Although not really. I did not really believe that the music of the night was finished. After all, love never dies, right?


Author's note:

Although quite impossible for them to read this, I would like to thank those people who made dream come true. You don't know how much happiness you brought to a boy dreaming of becoming the phantom in a white mask.

To the people behind the bringing of this epic musical into the Philippine stage, my warmest thanks.

3 reaction(s):

Mac Callister said...

Bigtime si DB balita ko ang mahal ng tickets nyan a!!!

Saw the full musical on video. Napaiyak ako nun, siguro lalo na kung live! U are lucky to see it!

Francis Balgos said...

I'm no musician..
But I'm so taken with this musical too.
I grab whatever recordings I could find, and don't ever try to compare who plays the part of Christine, or the phantom.. it still the same old story i'll never get tired off.
The musical scores are always unbelievable.

Bino said...

ikaw na ang nakapagphantom of the opera! astig!


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