Can I give all you students a BIG HINT in getting tickets? If you go on a weekday matinee, ask for the discount. It's 50%. I got the 7th row center (the closest seat in the theater) for $42 Canadian. I got the ticket an hour before the show, too! All I needed was my school ID.
Anyway, about the show...
It was a Thursday matinee, so there were tons of little kids. I got a little scared because first thing after the lights went out, all of them started 'woofinh' and making those bird whistle things that I can't do. I was a little worried they would behave like that (woofing and such) throughout the whole show.. I needn't have worried though, they were all well behaved except for a little boy who got bored during MOTN and proceeded to move his plastiuc bags around and SOMEONE (an adult) way over to the left of me who did a low moan or something once in a while.
Auction: Very nice. I almost forgot it was Laird as Raoul! All the kids in the audience were like "oooh! wow!" when the chandelier went up.
Overture: Do I need to commment? It's usually the same.
Hannibal: SANDRA MARGOLESE IS GOD! Her voice is unique to the Carlottas I've seen... Not very heavy, but not light either. She doesn't have the *best* Carlotta voice I've heard (and I've heard some of the best ones), but her acting is what puts her over the top. She had wonderful facial expressions. Someone said that Sandra's Carlotta was like Kathleen Battle. Mix in a little Sybil Fawlty from "Fawlty Towers" and Corabeth from 'The Waltons" and there's Sandra's character. Carlotta and pIangi seemed like they were a couple. Carlotta kind of started to go out onto the stage towards the slave master, but then stopped and started asking Piangi his opinion of the slave master. Looked like Piangi didn't care too much for him ;)
Which brings me to a question: Is the 'grabbing' opf the salve master at the end of Hannibal an Elissa action or a Carlotta one? Never noticed the wardrobe mistress brings smelling salts to Carlotta...
Think of Me: A *tiny* bit of flirting with Andre. Looked so cute, because ti sort of looked like she was just flirting to get in good with Andre rather than the 'she flirts with any male human'. During the "Si, these things.." speech, she looked puzzled at first, then VERY pissed. Didn't have as much 'fur rebound' as Kim gets.
Christine's Think of Me: I think Elizabeth DeGrazia has lost a bit of that innocence she had the first time I saw her.
Angel of Music: I have NEVER heard Meg say, after Mme Giry tells her to practice, "Always practicing." I've never heard that before.
Little Lotte: Raoul was trying to hard to talk 'mysteriously'.
Angel Reprise: Rene Simard.. I have NEVER heard the "insolent boy" part done like that. It was wonderful. He just let the anger of the character take over.
Phantom/MOTN: There were two red lights (looked like reflections on the black back wall) that almost looked like cats eyes under the travolator. Never seen them before. Rene has a nice vibrato and lower register. After getting used to Cirana, Ethan and Peter, I didn't like Rene's upper notes so much because they were too 'high' sounding. He was pretty good in MOTN. Didn't have Peter's gorgeous 'be', but his be was very strong and nice. And, since I must always comment on this, the bride doll person did NOT stay as still as Sandra usually does. Plus, there was this little red light on the right bottom of the mirror. No clue where it came from. Also, the mirror looked like it was turned a bit more to the audience than usual. The morning After: Did NOT like how Rene was writing his DJT. It looked like he was either high on drugs or mentally deficient.
Notes/Prima: The one newspaper almost fell and Andre caught it. The managers weren't the BEST I've ever seen, but they were good. Still funny. SANDRA WAS AWESOME! She *used* the umbrella and started jabbing at one of the managers! I have never seen that done before, but it worked so well! When the managers were trying to appease her right before Prima Donna, she had her back to the audience and her arms folded so it looked like she was saying "Ok, I'm not listening to you. But what will you do for me to make me come back?" She turned around after Andre said his thing, and turned her head towards Firmin waiting for what he was going to say. I've seen most Carlottas just stay with their backs to the audience. Kathleen Battle time at the end of Prima! Sandra just had this total look of defiance at the end!
Il Muto: VERY nice staccato notes during the "Poor Fool" part. It sounded to me that instead of making those 'ha's' equal in time, she made the first one longer than the second. Countess and Don Attilio didn't kiss on the lips. They just air kissed it. OK croaks, nothing like Leigh Munro's cat with a hairball! When the COuntess and Serafimo sit up, it was done like the Countess was the one that decided to sit up and extended her arm like "Here's something you can do."
AIAOY: Who cares? The didnt' seem really into the song.
AIAOY reprise: Nice. Rene made it look like he didn't know WHAT to do about Christine and Raoul. Would have been nice to see the facials a bit better, but can't take the mask off *too* soon!
Masquerade: Carlotta and Piangi were together (as in a couple). And they talked very nicely with the managers. Nice to see everyone getting along so well! Rene looked DOWN to find the spots on the stage for where the trap door is! I couldn't believe it! I have NEVER seen a Phantom look down for it! I mean, I understand WHY he did, but I've just never seen it. By the way if anyone can 'get' me Carlotta's Masquerade costume, I will pay you big money ;) Oh, never noticed the lights at the bottom of the stairs twirled around.
Notes II: Noticed halfway through the song that Sandra was wearing the black and white dress from the first notes. Asked her about this and it turns out the understudies don't GET a red dress! She said that she thinks it's because they may cost too much to make or something. Anyway, nice scene! When the 'men' pass the script up to Iforgetwhich manager, Sandra stepped back a little and put her hands up like the script was something gross. Cute. Snide little facial expression from Sandra when she said the "She's backing out" line. The "She's mad" was said more as a "That poor child" than anything else. The facials during that whole "Carlotta feels like staring out into space" part reflected that line and then went to (while everyone else gathered around Christine) this look like she was some little girl who had lost her favourite toy. Nice.
Sitzprobe: We had an understudy for piangi (Kelly somethingoprother) and he was pretty good! After Christine sang her little diddy, Piangi had this look on his face like "Now, I'll show HER what I can do! We'll see who is the better singer!" Sandra was yelling at Reyer beautifully. I do believe I saw Reyer cringe when she went at him.
Wishing: Elizabeth's lost a little of that innocence. She looked tired of the part.
Wandering: Nice. Rene looks like he REALLY enjoys those fireballs!
PONR: I don't think I've ever seen a Carlotta who can't throw those apples nicely! Do they take pitching lessons before they get the role? Never noticed Meg was wearing RED ballet shoes in this scene. Anyway, this song was a little less sexual than I've seen it in the past. Except for the fact that Rene really liked rubbing her breasts when he was behind her. When Christine was behind him, I thought Rene was getting ready to run around the stage with her on his back! The singing was nice.. But there wasn't that tensions that I beleieve should be there.
The FALSE DEATH of Piangi: The ONLY time when I thought Sandra's acting could have a little more. But it's probably hard to pretend your lover is dead when you just were talking to him in the wings! She acted upset all right, but it wasn't as upset as I believed she would have been given the previous scenes interactions with Piangi. Kristina-Marie Guiget (Mme Giry) was wonderful. (When isn't she?) I LOVE the pointing finger she gives to Meg about not going to the celler!
Final Lair: Well, when Raoul was jumping I could SEE the people on the stage right side of the travolater! Hello! BACK UP A LITTLE! Nice final lair.. The lines that Rene sang while sitting on the throne (about it not being his fault or something.. Sorry, mind went blank), was well acted. He did it in a way that made the Phantom seem more like a little boy who couldn't figure out how to get out of this mess and keep what he took. Laird could have struggled a bit more, he seemed almost as uncaring about his fate as David Rogers. The "You try my.. make your choice" line, Rene did it very nicely. He whispered that whole part. Very effective. When he sang to the monkey, i totally understood where that was coming from. He reminded me of when I used to get so very upset at something, I would try to sing a happy song to get out of that upset state. I saw that so very nicely.
What Phantom in Toronto started the "We're going to run and jump into the pit" on the second ovation? They were doing it today.
Anyway, a very nice show if you look at Carlotta and the Phantom, and a "We're tired of the show" looking at Raoul and Christine.