Mexico's Phantom

Saulo Vasconcelos has the distinction of being the first man to ever portray the title Mexico.

by Eleanor Lem

Q: First off, how did you get the role?
A: I was at Sao Paulo (Brazil) auditioning for RENT, for the role of Collins. And this musical director, Isaac Saul, asked me to sing "The Music of the Night". I thought 'Why does he want me to sing this? It doesn´t have anything to do with RENT!'. So I sang and
Saulo Vesconcelos
Saulo in "Music of the Night"
he told me if I would like to be part of the cast of The Phantom of the Opera in a Mexican production. I said "Of course!!!!" And, after a few days, I was at Antwerp singing for Christie Blodgette and Arthur Masella, who approved me, after lots of auditions. What is funny is that I NEVER imagined that I was going to be the Phantom itself (perhaps Raoul). When they told me I was going to do the Phantom, I was amazed! What a dream!

Q: Do you find this role challenging for you at all? If so, why?
A: OF COURSE!! First, the vocal lines are just amazing.You have to sing very low and high notes, falsetto, etc... And always produce a very intense tone (that show I've worked it out). Then you have the acting which demands so much energy and stamina! You have to be very well prepared physically and mentally to produce a good result. Always concentrated and willing to really catch the audience´s attention (which is just fabulous, when you do it). And there is the entire season waiting for you. So, it means you have to be prepared not to lose strength through the shows, which is also challenging.

Q: Usually there is a lot of tension backstage when it is premiere night. Did anything go wrong during the first week of show?
A: Oh, no. Just a few normal accidents. You know, in the week of the premiere there are still some details to be fixed. Fixed by the actors, the conductor, the orchestra, the stage managers. So it is quite normal that some strange things happen...

Q: Describe your thoughts on The Phantom.
A: Erik is a very gentle guy, when things are just going as he wishes. But he is also a wild animal when people try to challenge him. He is deeply in love with Christine, but he almost never touches her; he seduces her with passionate whispers... He is a guy that never, ever felt love, compassion and tenderness in his life. So, he doesn't know how to express himself when he feels these emotions; he becomes confused, scared and violent, because he doesn´t know another way to react... He is a lovely psycho!!

Q: Do you have a favorite moment in the show? What is it? Why is it your favorite?
A: Yes, the scene at the angel. That scene may not be the best to the audience but, for me, it is surely the best one. When I get up from the small chair, which is in the Angel, and see 2,400 people looking at you
Saulo Vesconcelos
Saulo and Phans
almost paralyzed, some of them generally impressed, because they didn't expect you to come from there, you feel a very powerful sensation of having the audience in your hand. Also the scene at the end! I always sing looking in the eyes of somebody from the audience, and see their face completely concentrated on the music, the scene... That's also very nice!

Q: By the end of a performance, how do you feel?
A: TIRED, very tired. But happy, satisfied...

Q: To conclude this interview, do you have anything to say to your phans?
A: Hello guys! Thank you for your support all around the world. It is a real pleasure to be here in Mexico, working on the Phantom's production, and I would like to say thanks to all! I am very lucky to be here, working with so many good actors... I would like to wish you a great 2000!

Eleanor's page about Saulo.