10 things you didn’t know about The Phantom of the Opera
1. The original version of The Phantom of the Opera has been performed in London since 1986. The world’s most popular musical has been seen in over 30 countries by a total of more than 140 million people.
2. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom had never been seen in Finland before. The Finnish National Opera was only the fifth establishment in the world to get permission to create a totally new production, from direction to sets and costume design.
3. From autumn 2015 to spring 2016, The Phantom of the Opera was seen at the Finnish National Opera by approximately 75 000 people in 57 performances. The originally planned 53 performances all sold out before the premiere. It is the first time this has happened in the history of the FNO.
4. There are three common orchestra set-ups in the world, for 13, 27 and 45 musicians. The largest of these, which the Orchestra of the FNO represents, is the rarest. This is because opera houses are often the only venues large enough to accommodate it.
5. The combined total of performers onstage and in the orchestral pit was 125. Besides 46 orchestra musicians there were 61 singers, 12 dancers, and 6 assistants in different roles. As far as we know, this is the largest ensemble to ever perform The Phantom.
6. Unlike an opera production, a musical requires sound reproduction. For the Phantom, this meant using 137 microphones, 43 of which were wireless. The mixer had 175 channels. 4 sound technicians would co-operate during each performance.
Dozens of quick costume changes took place behind the scenes, the fastest of which happened in just 35 seconds. The performers are serviced by the costume managers like Formula 1 drivers at the pit stop. No wonder, then, that an Italian visitor nicknamed the costume managers ”The Ferrari Team.”
7. The Finnish National Opera costume department produced well over 300 costumes for the Phantom of the Opera. When you count in the shoes, socks, hats and jewellery, the costumes include nearly 1500 parts.
8. Dozens of quick costume changes took place behind the scenes, the fastest of which happened in just 35 seconds. Each quick change was assisted by two costume managers. The performers are serviced by the costume managers like Formula 1 drivers at the pit stop. No wonder, then, that an Italian visitor nicknamed the costume managers ”The Ferrari Team.”
9. Before The Phantom of the Opera, only 4 musicals have ever been seen at the Finnish National Opera: Show Boat (1960–63), West Side Story (1965–66), The Fiddler on the Roof (1986–87) and Sweeney Todd (1997–98).
10. The Phantom of the Opera of the Finnish National Opera was reawakened in autumn 2017 when the production premiered at Göteborgsoperan in Gothenburg.