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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 12, 2008
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Phantom Marks Roma Anniversary
March 12, 2008   
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Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Phantom of the Opera is premiering at Warsaw's Roma Music Theater March 15. Theater director Wojciech Kępczyński described putting one of the world's best known musicals as a dream come true. "This will mark the Roma's 10th anniversary coming up this season and it's the biggest challenge we've ever taken on in terms of production," Kępczyński said at a press conference in Warsaw March 4.

Phantom of the Opera is the Roma's second non-replica production of a Lloyd Webber musical after Cats and, once again, Kępczyński is directing. Andrew Lloyd Webber has been overseeing the Polish version personally and the producers, cast, stage settings and costumes have all met with his approval.

More than 300 dancers and singers auditioned with 100 vying for the main role of Christine. The final short list comprised 41 vocalists and 18 dancers. The phantom is being played by Damian Aleksander and Łukasz Zagrobelny and Christine by Paulina Janczak, Kaja Mianowana and Edyta Krzemień. Marcin Mroziński and Łukasz Talik are playing Raoul de Chagny.

Paweł Dobrzycki, responsible for more than 200 stage settings within and without Poland, has designed the sets, and Magdalena Tesławska and Paweł Grabarczyk have designed the costumes. Paulina Andrzejewska-Molak is the choreographer and Maciej Pawłowski is conducting the orchestra of over 30 musicians.

Five hundred people are involved in the Warsaw production, a hundred of them responsible for the props, which are going to require 13 trucks to transport. The chandelier doomed to crash on stage every performance weighs 250 kg. The costumes take up 1,300 sq m of fabric and the curtains 700.

Daniel Wyszogrodzki, the Roma's literary manager, translated the libretto into Polish. "Phantom of the Opera is undoubtedly the greatest musical of all time. The figures alone bear this out," he said at the conference. Phantom was given its world premiere at Her Majesty's Theatre in London Sept. 27, 1986. It opened at New York's Majestic Theater Jan. 9, 1988, where it is still being staged. More than 80 million people in over 20 countries have seen the musical so far. Phantom has notched up more than 50 major theater awards, including three Olivers and seven Tonys, seven Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critic Circle Awards. It has also won the public's most prestigious distinction, the Oliver Audience Award.

A lot of factors have come together to make The Phantom of the Opera the success it is. First, there is Gaston Leroux's (1868-1927) 1910 gothic novel on which the musical is based. Second, there is the musical genius of Andrew Lloyd Webber who outshone himself in this work. Phantom of the Opera has three hours of music, some of the most breathtaking arias in the history of the genre, and group scenes that would have done credit to the greatest romantic operatic composers.

The Phantom of the Opera will be staged every day of the week. Tickets have sold out until the end of May.

Marzena Robinson
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