Phantom of the Opera
The set design for Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.
I have enjoyed the performing arts from a young age and loved tarvelling to London to watch a show on the west end.
Every play designed to impress the audience and improve their experience no matter where they sat in the theatre.
However, reviewing all the shows I have watched from War horse to Matilda, Phantom of the Opera was unbelieveable.
Phantom of the Opera first previewed on the West End stage in 1986 and is still running to the present day. It is the longest running broadway show, completing over 10,000 performances (11/02/12), and is the second longest running West End show after Les Miserables.
The beautiful stage set design is iconically known across the world. From eccentric costume design to 250kg of dry ice being used per peformance, the Phantom of the Opera never fails to impress. The great design of the show is a combination of incredible seamstresses and fashion designers and additionally the set design which helps the audience understand when and where the play is set.
Within the play, there are 22 scene changes. They are designed to the utmost perfection. In 2010 and 2014, I was lucky enough to perform at Her Majesty’s Theatre with my drama school. We were told that absolutely no glitter may enter the venue, this is to ensure maximum effect when they perform the opera. The scenes are set to provide a gloomy dramatic effect but if there were any glitter on stage it could completely ruin the atmosphere created by the set design.
Each set pushes the boundaries on what is possible. Theatre is getting bigger and better every year. The grand staircase shown in the picture to the left must be carefully designed to hold such a vast number of people, it must collapse in some form to move to and from the stage and it must look like a real staircase. There is no room for error in theatre.
One of the most iconic parts of the set design was the chandelier inspired by the Paris Opera House Chandelier from 1896. Over 6000 beads are used, measuring 3m wide and overall it weighs 1 tonne. It took 5 poeple and 4 weeks to create such a masterpiece.
The Phantom of the Opera set showcases incredible talent. The sets are innovative, extravagant and cleverly engineered. For example: the chandelier must be perfectly engineered.
1. To provide safety to the audience below being securely attached to the ceiling, no loose components.
2. Electrically engineered to have all lights working
3. Manufactured to a high quality
Overall, The Phantom of the Opera is an incredible show with so many talented crew members who have maintained the high standard of performance and stage sets for over 30 years. I hope to visit London again soon to watch the play.
26th January 2021.