Through His Eyes
Shakespeare said, “The eyes are the window to the soul,” and after my weekend excursion to see “The Phantom of the Opera,” I believe the Bard of Avon was on to something. The performance was beyond fantastic – a superb cast, amazing sets, awesome special effects, melodious orchestra – and most of all, I got to see it with my youngest son. Ross has loved “The Phantom of the Opera” for years, and to see it performed live was his dream. When I discovered the Broadway tour was coming to Charlotte, North Carolina, I decided this was an opportunity I should go after with a club. And I did.
We sat in the second row! Second row! The orchestra pit was so close I could have spit on the musicians, but that would have been extremely unladylike and apt to cause untold difficulties. I did however, sneak a couple of pictures of the stage, even though the ushers were telling everyone no pictures were allowed until intermission. There is indeed, safety in numbers, and there were so many cell phones pointed at the stage within point-blank-range, it was impossible to see who was snapping.
Then the lights went down and the orchestra started, and that’s when I began to watch the performance – through Ross’s eyes. Every emotion, every sensation shone in his eyes. Spellbound from the opening line, I would swear he didn’t breathe until the intermission. I will never forget his face when the first chord of the theme song burst forth like the sunrise. His face transformed, and I saw again, the little boy who once looked at a spider web like he could not believe there was such a wondrous thing in the world.
Lost in the music, Ross was carried away by the phenomenon unfolding in front of him. A musician himself, he knew much more about “The Phantom of the Opera” than I could understand. He knew each song and recognized the beauty of that perfect moment when art and music come together. I watched him ride a wave of emotions, savoring every note of each song. And when the giant chandelier suspended over the audience came crashing down (extremely close to some heads), and literally exploded “fake” glass all over us, Ross squealed with delight. I know he will never forget the thrill of that moment, and I will never forget how it jumped from him to me like an electric current.
Throughout the performance, I was thankful I had fostered his love of music, encouraging him to be in the high school marching band. All three of my children are musicians, and my daughter a high school band director. I believe with all my heart the gift of music lasts forever. If you could have seen Ross watch “The Phantom of the Opera,” you would believe it too.
The story is a timeless romance – the beautiful and talented woman (Christine), loved by her childhood friend (Raoul) goes from the unnoticed understudy to the star of the opera because the phantom, a hideously disfigured man, who haunts the opera house has visited her in her dreams, thereby mysteriously developing her talent. Known as the phantom of the opera, he falls in love with Christine and kidnaps her, taking her back to his lair in the hopes she will grow to love him. Even though the phantom is responsible for her amazing voice, when she sees him without his mask, she is repulsed. Meanwhile, Raoul leads the search for Christine, who in the end must choose between the phantom or Raoul. Does she love him? Perhaps, in the end she does, but she cannot love a hideous monster.