With the arrival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies in London's West End, we catch up with some of the ladies who have graced the stage in the classic original, The Phantom of the Opera, and find out a bit about the women behind the man behind the mask.
And what a line-up we have! Our ladies from the past are Rebecca Caine, who took over the role of the heroine Christine from Sarah Brightman in London and went on to become the original Christine in the Canadian production, and Margaret Preece, who played the role of Carlotta in the West End in 2000, and went on to provide the voice of the opera Diva in Joel Schumacher's 2004 film adaptation. Our quartet of incredible talent is completed by Gina Beck (Christine) and Rebecca Lock (Carlotta), who are currently wowing audiences on a nightly basis at Her Majesty's Theatre.
When did you first see Phantom and how did it make you feel?
GB: I first saw Phantom in Edinburgh in 2000; my then-boyfriend bought us tickets as he was at university there. They were in the nosebleed seats and sadly I had forgotten my glasses, so I couldn't see much! I loved the music though, and the way the Phantom and Christine walked along the ramps on their way to the lair, very exciting!
RL: I saw Phantom for the first time in 1997, I think; I was in Martin Guerre at the time. All I really remember was that I wanted to wear the frocks and have Christine’s hairdo!
MP: I saw it in the early 90s with my parents at a midweek matinee - I was singing with English National Opera that night at The Coliseum and thought it would be great fun to play The Diva, so was thrilled when I eventually did!
RC: I saw a matinee right after the show opened and thought, ‘That’s for me!’ Legit soprano roles don’t come around often!
Three words to describe your character and the way you choose/chose to portray her...
RC: Back at the beginning of the show we were very much made to play her only one way. I found it releasing to do the show in the Canadian production after I had been in the London show, and make a fresh start with Hal, Gillian and the rest of team. I was given more freedom than I had the first time I did it, and was allowed to play it more passionately than had been the norm up till then, which I think comes across on the Canadian cast album. Now as you can see from Gina's performance, it's not a problem to play her with a thought process and a wider range of emotion.