Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Night At The Opera

I'm back. I did tell you that I would write about my night out later. My earlier post was written while I ate my breakfast, but it soon became apparent that after a long and enjoyable day yesterday, four hours sleep wasn't enough so I went back to bed to get a few more hours with my head on the pillow. And now I am back.

While we were lunching yesterday I had talked with Mr Smiley about how much I had enjoyed going to see Les Miserables again after a break of many years. I said that I was considering going to see if I could get a discounted ticket for another of my favourite shows and Mr Smiley asked that he be permitted to pay for it.

The management of the West End theatres do not want empty seats in their theatres if they can help it; the consequence of this is that if you want to see a show that day, you will probably be able to get a discounted ticket. If there is more than one of you and you want to sit together, this will probably reduce your options of available seats. However, if you are looking for just one seat, then you will have far more to chose from and may even manage a greater discount because of the difficulty of selling single seats. The first of the ticket sellers that I visited was only offering me a £2 discount on the best ticket that they had on offer (five rows back and to the right of the stage in the Royal Circle) so I gave it a miss as I was sure that I could get a better deal somewhere. And in Leicester Square, I got it. A 25% saving on a ticket for the front row of the stalls, just a couple of seats off the centre of the stage. Definitely a bargain.

And the show was ...
... Phantom of the Opera.

I am sure that even if you have not been to see the show you will be aware that one of the highlights of the show is at the end of the first act when the chandelier comes crashing down from the ceiling of the theatre onto the stage. When the show was first staged, the centre seats of the first five or six rows of the stalls were removed from the theatre so that no-one was sitting directly under the path of the chandelier's 'fall'. Today, there is no such squeamishness, so the centre seats in the first few rows have been reinstated and as I was sitting in Seat 7 (of 20) the chandelier was just inches away from me when it came crashing down. It was exciting, but I knew it was coming; the young American couple sitting beside me in Seats 8 and 9 were not expecting it and therefore it was even more dramatic for them.

It was wonderful to be able to spend a few hours enthralled by the wonderful performances of cast and orchestra. To be so close to them that it was though they were performing just for you. And to be lost in the wonderful music; the thrilling organ music when the chandelier rises to the roof of the theatre during the auction scene at the start, the caterwauling of Carlotta, the gentle songs Christine and Raoul, the aggressive songs of the Phantom, and the amusing songs of Messrs Firmin and Andre. Amazing.

To say that I enjoyed my evening, and consequently my belated birthday, would be an understatement. Many thanks Mr Smiley, I really do appreciate your friendship, and your kindness in giving me this pleasure.

No comments: