Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Andrew Lloyd Webber Announces Sequel to Phantom of the Opera

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has been busy working away at a sequel to his 1986 hit, The Phantom of the Opera. The sequel, entitled Love Never Dies, will premiere in London this fall and is slated for production in Toronto and Tokyo shortly thereafter.

Love Never Dies is set in Coney Island (of all places), and features an older Christine, her husband Raoul and son Gustav. Christine agrees to a "one night only" performance and everything goes terribly wrong...

I fell in love with Phantom of the Opera when I was fifteen. I heard the soundtrack to the musical at my friend Alisa's house and was entranced. After that I even managed to get my hands on the original book by Gaston Leroux, which I highly recommend, even though it's quite different from the musical. The book has a very recognizable Victorian Gothic quality to it, and reminds me a lot of Bram Stoker's Dracula (the writing style is very similar).

I'm looking forward to the new show, though I have my reservations about the Coney Island setting (which will probably be delightfully macabre). The music has already been recorded on a concept album, though no word yet on when the album will actually be available for sale. The word is that it might be released before the premiere, but I rather doubt it.

What do you guys think about a sequel to Phantom of the Opera? Would you be excited to see it? Are you worried that Andrew Lloyd Webber will damage the legacy of Phantom of the Opera with a sub-par sequel? Please weigh in.

You can read more about Webber's upcoming production on broadway.com.

Image courtesy Wikimedia.


Maggie May said...

I hadn't heard of this- interesting. As is your profile: I'm a writer and obsessed with literature of all kinds, but especially classic. Also, you are beautiful! Nice to 'meet you'


Margaret said...

Thanks, Maggie! Nice to meet you too!

Anonymous said...

Hia Margaret, I think you would like the 3 previous posts about Speke Hall- a tenant Leyland decorated them in A+C style which still remains. "Pomegranite" in the library, "Trellis" in the corridor around the courtyard, and varnished over in the bathroom and "Willow" in the drawing room.

I like the idea of a sequel to Phantom, but I'm not at all sure about the Coney Island setting.

Rowan said...

I hardly dare confess that, not only have I never seen Phantom of the Opera, I've actually never wanted to either in spite of all the rave revues. Another confession is that I don't like to see plays or musicals moved from the original period that they were set. My daughter took me to see a modern versuion of the film Romeo and Juliet years ago and it didn't do a thing for me. So a Coney Island setting doesn't sound very appealing - the original was set in Paris wasn't it?

Gillian L. said...

Thank you for sharing this news. I love the Phantom of the Opera as does my husband who first introduced me to it.


Thorsprincess said...

Oh, my,
It is hard to imagine the Phantom divorced from the French opera setting--with all the lovely Louis Napoleon Empire stuff. Whyever would Raoul and Madame go to Coney Island? Brighton makes just as little sense. I suppose they fell on very hard times. It seems terribly sad, but I suppose ALW can pull off a good musical, if anyone could. Thanks for the news!

Tracy said...

Hi, Margaret! :o) Like yourself, I feel in love with Phantom as a teenager--what great years discovering classical, opera and show music! It is exciting about this new Phantom sequel and I would be curious to see it--trying to keep an open mind. The departure from the French setting and relocation to Coney Island at first seems a bit laughable. Joke, right? But with so much of the economic downturn affecting the world of classical music, along with other realms of music (so many orchestras folding, cutting back, etc.), perhaps the current times reflect how this new sequel is being treated. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds and is presented. I wonder though that it will have any of the same sparkle and fascinations a Phantom though. Still, most things have their own value. :o) Hope all is well with you---nice to get back here and read. Happy Days ((HUGS))

Gregory Hubbard said...

Whoa! "Love Never Dies" ??? It is, quite simply, a very bad idea. First, why create a sequel? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! And why Coney Island? As you noted, there were many comparable English and French seaside resorts that would have made more sense. Christine, her husband Raoul and their son Gustav?!!!! Why does any of this need a sequel? More blood and gore? More profitable for the composer with an American audience? Perhaps to cash in on the popularity of vicious murders in TV police dramas? If he needs a Raison d'ĂȘtre for a new opera, why not create something new, such as one based on the very real horror story from the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair?

And the much vaunted music? Turns out some of the most memorable melodies were lifted from Puccini and other’s works. This wasn’t like the similarity in structure and dramatic handling of Handel’s Symphony 104, the last of his “London Symphonies,” and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Phantom uses the complete lifting of melodic lines. Many composers quote one another, or create variations on another’s compositions. However, these quotes are deliberately obvious or credited! Not so with ALW! He has ridiculed the charge, but sadly it's true. No amount of self-righteous indignation covers that. And this isn’t the first time he’s been guilty of melodic theft while taking credit for the songs as though they're entirely his.

Worst of all, The Phantom is badly flawed as a play. Its plot has holes the size of a tractor trailer. Please read the libretto. Without the sets jumping up and down, and melodramatic blood and gore in front of you, the plot’s holes become obvious. If he’d followed the book closely, it would have been far superior to the scenic lemon I sat through. It is the first production I’ve seen where reviews thought the sets were more impressive than the music.

Gregory Hubbard
Sanford, Maine

Margaret said...

Well, Gregory, I must disagree with you about the libretto. Most operas/musicals are terribly silly.

As for the plagiarism, many great authors and composers (whole sections of Chaucer's work are lifted from Boccaccio, as are many of his storylines). Nearly all of Korngold’s music was ripped off from classical composers, but I don’t think that they would mind. It doesn’t change the fact that his interpretation was new and exciting.

There's no need to acknowledge the influence of classical composers, since there is no enforceable copyright on their work (although it is always nice when composers DO acknowledge their influences, since it saves me from spending hours trying to remember which composer they've been borrowing from).

Western music is based around a 7 note scale and there are a mere 26 letters in the alphabet. Some combinations are more pleasant than others, and are bound to be repeated. Is that such a crime?

That being said, I know many people that I greatly respect who can’t stand Andrew Lloyd Webber for a variety of reasons (my dear husband is mystified by love for Phantom of the Opera). But if you like Puccini, can you honestly argue that the librettos for Tosca or La Boheme are any less silly?

Sarah said...

Wow, that's interesting. I have to admit that I usually dislike sequels- they drive me nuts and they rarely hold to the spirit of the original work. Despite that, I still see or read them just out of curiosity. It will be interesting to see what Webber comes up with...

maggie rose said...

The thought of a sequel makes me very nervous. Could there ever be a phantom as sexy, charismatic and heartbreakingly sad as Gerard Butler's phantom, unless he and Emmy Rossum stayed as the characters they originally portrayed, I won't even consider looking at it. As for using Coney Island, set designers can do wondrous things, so that wouldn't bother me at all.
ALW's creation still has me in tears about 10 minutes into the film, and I have actually worn out one disc and now have another, I watch it so often.