I saw The Phantom of the Opera at Kansallisooppera in Helsinki yesterday, and it was amazing. Somehow the Finnish National Opera got permission to make their own sets and costumes for the show and to do their own interpretation of the musical. Here are a few photos of the program leaflet to give you an idea (Photos by Stefan Bremer, according to the program).
The sets were gorgeous. I loved the way they did "The Phantom of the Opera" with moving stairs and stone pillars, and the Phantom's lair was one or the most beautiful sets I've ever seen. The chandelier was also very well done, spectral and possessed, floating on invisible strings around the hall. The singing was competent, too. Not up to the London cast, of course, but especially Carlotta and Christine stood out.
There were a few tiny flaws, of course, but mainly just minor quibbles. The Finnish accents of the singers were a bit distracting, and I disliked the phantom's costume. The golden mask looks pretty up close, but you can't actually see it if you're not sitting in the first few rows. So there is a point to the white mask of the original production, I think. The Phantom also wore a weird coat that left his forearms bare and some fingerless gloves. That combined with the long hair made him look like a middle-aged heavy metal fan. Raoul on the other hand was gorgeous. Rather unfair.
They also played up Christine's fear of the phantom, so the sense of wonder and the Phantom's seduction of Christine in the beginning got some dark and unpleasant overtones; it was less seduction, more getting kidnapped by a weirdo in a mask. A sound idea, I guess, but it did take away from the sexual tension between them and kind of killed the love triangle. This made the ending ring a bit hollow for me.
Raoul and Christine.
Here's the Phantom. The detail on the coat is nice, but you could only see it up close.
The show is sold out, but the same production will be shown at the Göteborg Opera in 2017. Details here, if you're interested.