The world’s most popular musical, The Phantom of the Opera, makes its Dubai debut this month. But just what is it that makes Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ghostly tale such an enduring favourite? 

On Wednesday October 16, the famed The Phantom of the Opera makes it’s debut at Dubai Opera, starting a 24-date run at the iconic opera house. So what can guests expect?

It’s a bold claim, without doubt. But if any show could realistically claim to be the world’s most popular musical, it’s Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

An undisputed heavyweight of the genre, since making its debut back in 1986, Phantom, as it is more colloquially known to its cast, has broken record upon record.

Broadway’s longest running show, with more than 13,200 performances since its opening night 31 years ago, Phantom has notched up audiences in excess of 145 million people in 166 cities across 35 countries to date, bringing in an astonishing Dhs22billion in the process.

Based on the novel by French journalist and mystery writer Gaston Leroux, the show tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House, before becoming enraptured by the talents of a young soprano, Christine. Having lured her in as his protégé, the phantom falls madly in love, then descends into jealous madness upon learning of Christine’s love affair with the opera’s patron, Raoul.

What follows is certainly not an exercise in understatement – with huge operatic numbers, a full corps de ballet, a dramatic unmasking of the disfigured ghost of the opera house and even a famous crashing chandelier, Phantom is as overblown and dramatic as its name might suggest.

But with previous cast members including theatre stalwarts Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, and a star-studded movie adaptation having drawn talent including Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Simon Callow and Minnie Driver, Phantom’s biography so far packs some serious star power.

Now making its debut at Dubai Opera, the latest production is one of the biggest shows currently on the world tour circuit, and arrives in the UAE on the back of rave reviews in venues running from Manila and Singapore to the UK. Prepare for drama – and don’t forget to duck when that chandelier makes its entrance…

The Phantom of the Opera stars

Meet the award-winning actors treading the boards of Dubai Opera

Claire Lyon

Playing: Christine Daaé

Australian actress, singer and recording artist, Claire Lyon will reprise her 2012 role as female protagonist Christine Daaé in Dubai. Claire has starred in a number of international productions of prestigious Broadway musicals, including playing the role of Miss Dorothy Brown in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance.

Jonathan Roxmouth

Playing: The Phantom

With a number of famous roles under his belt, Jonathan is well known in the musical theatre scene and has featured in a number of the world’s best-loved musicals including The Lion King, Cats, and Beauty and the Beast. When he takes to the stage later this year, he will make history as the first ever ‘Phantom’ in the Middle East.

Phantom by numbers

7  Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1988

13,200  Performances across the world

6,000 – Number of beads that make up the huge replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier that crashes on stage during each performance

2 – Number of hours it takes to apply The Phantom’s make-up, wigs, prosthetics, lenses, and microphones each day

2,230m – Length of the set’s famous curtains replicating those at the Paris Opera House

Phantom of the Opera, Dubai Opera, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai, October 16 to November 9, from Dhs250. Tel: (04) 4408888.

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Images: provided