Thank goodness my sister called Sunday evening to tell me to turn on my TV, or I would have missed three hours of pure enchantment -- "The Phantom of the Opera" at London's Royal Albert Hall starring the awesome voices of Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine, along with a cast and orchestra of more than 200. This fully-staged televised version of what I consider the greatest show of my lifetime appeared on PBS's Great Performances. "Great," indeed; thank-you, PBS.
We have none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber to thank for these endearing lyrics and hypnotic melodies.
I was in awe of every scene, every special effect and every song performed in the sumptuous Victorian splendor of London's Royal Albert Hall. Even the regular breaks for public TV fundraising were entertaining, and a good place to catch my breath.
The PBS special was a celebration of Broadway's longest-running production's 25th anniversary.
According to broadwayworld.com, on Oct. 2, 2011, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Cameron Mackintosh marked the 25th anniversary of their beloved musical extravaganza, "The Phantom of the Opera," with a lavishly staged production at London's legendary Royal Albert Hall that was beamed live via satellite to cinemas across the globe. The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall marks the first time a live performance of the blockbuster musical has been made available for home viewing.
And, if this theatrical spectacle wasn't enough, the final curtain call was followed by a special appearance by the man behind the music, Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, who introduced his "angel of music," Sarah Brightman, and Michael Crawford, the original Christine and Phantom when the show opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in London on Oct. 9, 1986. Viewers were treated to Brightman singing the hauntingly beautiful "Music of the Night."
To top off an already outstanding evening, Webber then proudly introduced past Phantoms, Peter Joeback, John Owen-Jones, Anthony Warlow and Colm Wilkinson. These male vocal powerhouses were joined by Karimloo as they commanded Brightman to "Sing for Me, My Angel!" in a moving rendition of "Phantom of the Opera" that brought tingling goosebumps to every part of my body as Brightman hit those preciously, perfect high notes.
This three-hour special was a fitting tribute to a quarter century of extraordinary success of "The Phantom of the Opera." Every single minute of the time I spent in front of the television Sunday night was time well spent.
Who says there's never anything on TV worth watching?
In case you missed it, "The Phantom of the Opera" at London's Royal Albert Hall is scheduled for rebroadcast 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the local PBS television station -- WMCU-TV.