Cameron Mackintosh’s highly anticipated new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera returns to Sydney and will be playing at the iconic Sydney Opera House for the first time.
Blake Bowden who plays the role of Raoul explained that this production has been described as the ‘new’ phantom and that audiences can expect to see some enhancements to the show.
“It’s still the same story and it has all the same bits. You’ve got your gondolier moments, the chandelier, all the costumes and everything that you’d expect. I think what they’ve done with this production which is really clever is, unlike the original production where the phantom is this kind of ghost, they give him a much more real world presence which adds realism to the love triangle between Raoul, Christine and the Phantom.”
Bowden, who has starred in many stage shows including South Pacific, Fiddler On The Roof and The Book Of Mormons, is adamant that winning the much sought after role of Raoul in Phantom Of The Opera has been the highest achievement in his career.
“Absolutely, in terms of the classics, and to be honest it’s a big coup to be playing in this show for the very first time at the Sydney Opera House. It’s the perfect venue. To be imagining the phantom living under the harbour in the bowels of the Opera House is pretty amazing. It’s a huge, huge career highlight for me.”
This is an immense production which boasts a cast and orchestra consisting of 65 performers. Bowden is enjoying working alongside Josh Piterman and Amy Manford who play the Phantom and Christine respectively.
“Josh and I have been chasing each other in our careers for a long time. We’ve never worked before on stage together and we’re great mates. Amy I only met in the audition. She is such a bubbly wonderful person and it’s so lovely to work with her. She is insanely talented and so beautiful! It’s easy to fall in love with her!”
When asked why Phantom has mesmerized audiences worldwide for over 35 years and will continue to do so Bowden paused momentarily.
“It’s the musical score as it’s exquisite and so beautiful to listen to. It’s also the story about the phantom, the ultimate outsider. He’s such a genius but he’s been shunned by society all his life. The love he feels for this woman and the love she feels for him. Ultimately she is torn. The story keeps bringing audiences back as it’s relatable – we’ve all felt like outsiders.”
And what message would you send to readers of this publication who have never seen, but are contemplating attending a performance of Phantom?
“Do not delay, buy a ticket as this production doesn’t come around too often. It’s brand new, it’s epic, it’s huge! The sets, the costumes, the full orchestra. If you go to Broadway, you don’t get this full experience and I honestly believe it’s been Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Cameron Macintosh’s dream to bring Phantom Of The Opera to the Sydney Opera House,” concluded Bowden.