I have to have seen Phantom of the Opera four times in London, I have the movie version and the 25th Anniversary stage production and when it comes to the Hippodrome in Birmingham in the Fall all things willing I will be right in line to get tickets for that. So when I heard about the sequel I was thrilled. Unfortunately it finished its stage run before I was in any position to get tickets and go see it for myself. I was very upset about this. I mean it was an Andrew Lloyd Webber - I have never seen one of them have so little stage time. Then I heard that the Australian production was being filmed and would be coming to DVD.
For anyone who doesn't know what its about. Here is the synopsis from the Love Never Dies Website.
The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love – Christine Daaé. Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. So, it is with excitement she accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan; to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… not knowing what is in store for them….
Now anyone whose seen the original Phantom of the Opera production will tell you that at the end the Phantom escapes the opera house and vanishes but to where. This is finally answered in the sequel aptly named Love Never Dies because the Phantom is still chasing the heart of his once pupil Christine Daaé. I only partly understood in the original why she didn't completely return his feelings - mostly because he was nearly completely without morals in his pursuit of her. Still the sequel paints a picture of her perfect fairy tale marriage to the Viscount as not being anything like what she had hoped for. It just goes to show where love in concerned that things are never simple.
One thing I really loved about the original was the music. Who couldn't! I've heard at least three people sing the Phantoms part and have always been just as entranced by his "Music of the Night" as I was the first time I ever heard it. I sometimes listen to that sound track when my mind is stuck and I need to just revel in a relationship more complicated than the ones I am trying to write. Full of dark seduction and the contrasts between right and wrong, like and dark, love and infatuation.
The only thing I am sad about is that it doesn't appear to have a happy ending. Not that the book its based upon (The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth) has a particularly good one but some of the character assassination that takes place to make the production just a little bit more dramatic for the stage astounds me. I feel sorry for poor Meg Giry who is dealt an awful hand in this sequel. I suppose the only way to see if it does or doesn't increase the wow factor is to just sit down and watch it through till the end, reserving all judgements till them.
To find out more check out the official website - http://www.loveneverdies.com/