“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.” – Victor Hugo
Typically, someone would wear a veil for modesty and a mask for deception. So both are things used to cover the face and more often than not, high moral behavior is connected with the former and immoral behavior with the latter.
It’s all about choices and consequences.
Of course one might argue that not all who wear veils are moral and not all who wear masks are immoral. Life experiences taught me two things: the intention behind the choice is what counts and the challenge lies in finding it out.
This is one of the ways I learned how to do so.
When it comes to ‘masquerade’, there is no greater story than The Phantom of the Opera, a musical by Andrew Llyod Webber based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. It has performed in front of more than 100 million people around the world.
The musical opened in London’s West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It is the longest running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February 2012, the first production ever to do so.
One day in 2007, I couldn’t be more grateful to learn that this musical was going to perform in Singapore. It was not their first performance there and it was not the last one either. They came back several years later and performed in another theater in Singapore.
Seeing musical performances is one of the things I love after watching the movie ‘The Sound of Music‘ when I was a kid.
The Phantom of the Opera was the first one I saw and I have seen many other shows since then. Therefore, this blog is the first of many musical reviews to follow. It will not be all of them, just the ones I love.
Needless to say, I didn’t have to think twice before making the decision to go see The Phantom of the Opera even though I had to fly to Singapore from Jakarta back then. After seeing it, I must say I am glad my journey to witness the mesmerizing world of theater started with this musical.
The show was held in the Esplanade theater, one of the major theaters in Singapore, which is a familiar place to me thanks to the many art and cultural performances I saw there over the years.
It is quite a big theater with world-class performing spaces. The Phantom of the Opera musical in 2007 was held in the Concert Hall of Esplanade with a state-of-the-art acoustics. According to its page on Wikipedia, there are only five other halls in the world with that kind of facility which is very cool. I wish there were one in Jakarta but that is worthy of another blog.
During this musical performance, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the theater and that was fine with me. When it comes to performances like this, I prefer buying the books of the shows because of the complete information I can find in them. I usually check them during one of the breaks between the shows.
The performance itself was a wonder in a dream-came-true kind of way. The cast, orchestra and special effects were magnificent! Together they delivered such a wonderful show.
Every time the Phantom came out on stage, they played a part of music with the lyrics ‘The Phantom of the Opera is here…’ and I could feel the chill on the back of my neck which does not happen often.
It was THAT good!
One could see the level of professionalism of the people who worked hard to make the show happen, be it on stage or behind it. It was a true standard of Broadway. The sets and costumes were breathtaking and my favourite part was the the Masquerade ball scene. No wonder it is the longest running show in Broadway!
A story about that old thing called ‘love’.
This blog, however, is not going to be a story spoiler by sharing the entire parts of it. Instead, I recommend you to read the book or go see the show to know more. What I can share is what I learned from it: the consequences that may happen when one decides to wear a mask (or a veil or what have you) to cover the truth.
When one wears a mask to cover the truth for whatever reason, good or bad, and does it for so long, chances are big that one might lose oneself in the entire process. It is possible to get used to the newly created person and forget the real one underneath the mask. Since what goes around comes around, we can’t possibly count on finding something truthful by NOT being truthful.