Is the Front Row Worth the Price?
It’s been a dream of mine to go and see Phantom of the Opera from the front row. I found a day with an affordable ticket and I was sat right behind the conductor. But is any show worth sitting right at the front? Can the cost really be worth the view? That is what I am going to discuss.
Firstly, this was a new cast. The Phantom (Josh Pitterman), Raoul (Danny Whitehead and Carlotta (Britt Lenting). Kelly Mathison has continued in the role of Christine. I normally do a little review of the cast after the change. I’ve got to admit I loved these three. Josh was so intense in the role and really tugged at my heart. Danny was actually heard in “Wandering Child” which is one of the standards I look for in a Raoul. Finally, there is a guy up there with Nadim.
First of all, when I went into the theatre for the stalls I got to go into the actual theatre and not be jostled round to the side entrance. The bottom floor bar is amazing and classy. There are stunning art works around the walls with some of the original designs and paintings of the theatre back in the past. The bathrooms are huge with attendants. I got a drink and went into the stalls to really enjoy the seat. For once, I didn’t need my glasses because it was so close.
When the show started up, I could really see all the actor’s expressions which really made me feel the story more deeply than I have done before. But I had a bit of a problem that I couldn’t see everything at once. For one thing the conductors head was in the way which I didn’t expect. I couldn’t see some of the detail from the roof. When the chandelier is raised with the music, I didn’t get my usual goose bumps as I didn’t get the whole effect as I couldn’t really crane my neck back. But I got the full effect of the raising the props and going back in time.
I found I got much more drawn into the story having the closer view. There were certain little gimmicks which I hadn’t seen before and I could see the expressions better on the actor’s face. I had more of a chance to review the characters. I feel that this Raoul and Christine don’t really have any chemistry until the second half which is a shame because their singing is on point. I was disappointed as one of my favourite scenes when Carlotta’s voice breaks, I couldn’t really see the Phantom in the rafters. Part of the effect of being in the front row it was meant to give you the impression he was above you but I just couldn’t see him. Though I paid more attention this time to the performance and their panic which made the scene almost new.
When the curtain fell for the second half, one thing I expected from the chandelier crashing down over head was incredible. It came down so fast and low that it nearly skimmed my head. That was something I had wanted to see and then the chandelier had to be raised back up again so I got a great view of that.
I think my favourite scene is definitely the mirror with the phantom coming through. This has always been cool but being about five metres away was even better. “Point of no return” was fun because I could really see what was going on and the final scene was just the best. Josh was balling throughout and had me in tears which is something that I haven’t done at Phantom for a while. The scene is so much more intense when you can see every morsel of emotion on their face and the tears pouring onto the ground. To top it off I could see things stage left which I hadn’t seen before when sat up in the grand circle. To top it off one of the actors popped up where the conductor was and I could really see how he was fooled to nearly shooting the phantom.
I think overall, I had a really good time being in the front row. There were some issues with things being blocked and not getting the full effect of the show. But I got to experience it from a different point of view which really reinforced my love of it. I mean I hadn’t been to see it since February which is a long time for me. I think the front row is good for a treat but I do prefer my cheaper seat up in the grand circle. I think next time I will try the royal circle and see if that is the perfect spot to see the show. But right now, I stand by the grand circle.
In January my favourite cast are reuniting and I will be seeing them perform twice in Athens! Watch out for that story.