Back in college, it was a guilty pleasure to visit museums in and around Metro Manila by myself. Sounds geeky, isn’t it? But I have always felt that there should be a sense of intimacy when looking at and into art and history.
The last time I visited a museum alone was almost a decade ago, and what best time to rekindle an old habit than this October when the Philippine National Museum is offering free entrance until October 31st in lieu of its tradition of waving entrance fees during the celebration of the National Museum Week
“Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan. Alamin ang sariling kasaysayan.”
Due to a series of unfortunate events, with a sprinkle of pride, I missed the Philippine leg of the Phantom of the Opera. And for a self-confessed fan, it means and hurts a lot.
But no, I’m not going to post whines and rants here. I’m not denying how bitter I am for missing my biggest literary love. The pain is just too much but I would rather regress than linger on what-might-have-beens and i-should-haves:
- I’m a big fan of the book and not really the plays, nor the movie versions for that matter. Though I find Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version an excellent, excellent piece of work and would never think twice to pause and listen to All I Ask of You, there’s just something with reading the book as opposed to watching its adaptations that’s uniquely captivating. Perhaps in reading, the imagination plays a more central role. I have this notion that when the imagination is at play, it is when the senses are truly at one with every other. Theaters and movies, are more for seeing and listening only.
- Gaston Leroux is the author of the original Phantom of the Opera but his version is not my favorite. My favorite is the version of Susan Kay (see cover below).Susan Kay’s version, to me, by ‘inserting’ chapters from Erik’s pasts, gave more rationality as to why Erik or Phantom is the way he is and in turn make you feel for him even more. Susan Kay laid out the broad spectrum that is in between good and evil, and depicts the regions where one cannot distinguish from the other.
I could very much relate to Erik/Phantom and have once described him in a reaction paper as “everything i am and yet everything i am not”. That was the magic of that piece. It was a carnival or ironies, of dilemmas, and juxtapositions. Not one character or scene was presented in singular dimension. For is it not how real life is? Is it not how we are as humans? No matter how we pretend that we are certain of our choices, we are always in the middle of dualities; of left and right, of right and wrong, etc.
I was dying to stand in ovation and clap my hands. I was dying to shout ‘Bravo, bravo!’ That would have to wait for now. Until the time when, again, the Angel of Music sings near.
Sarah Brightman was renowned for her role of Christine Daae but Nicole Scherzinger did give a wonderful version: