On the whole Crotchety Man doesn’t like musicals. I have seen a handful, either on stage or as a film, but they usually leave me cringing with embarrassment for the writers, the cast and the poor, long suffering audience. There are exceptions: Hair had some good songs and a decent storyline; The Little Shop of Horrors gave us both an excellent story and some very palatable songs. Then again, I miaowed “so long” to Cats at the end of the first half and Les Miserables just made me unconsolably miserable.
I haven’t seen The Phantom of the Opera and I don’t know his music but this latest instalment in the Hubzilla Recommends series shines a dramatic blaze of light into the dank dark halls of Lloyd Webber land.
Too often classical concerts and songs from musicals lumber along like lifeless husks, drained of all vitality. This video shows it ain’t necessarily so. From the moment The Prague Cello Quartet plant their instruments on the dusty stone floor we can tell they mean business. They fix us with a Dirty Harry stare as if to say, “Listen to this, we’re gonna make your day”. And then they set the scene for a ghostly story, stroking their cellos as if they are each cradling a .44 Magnum.
They play with such power and panache that we are mesmerised. We jump when they stamp their feet. Our pulses race when they shift up a key. A shiver runs down the spine as they introduce us to the phantom, a shadowy figure in a stark white mask. “And this”, say the Quartet, “is just the overture. Wait till you hear the rest of the story”.
You can read the full story on Wikipedia but you won’t find a better story teller than The Prague Cello Quartet. With that cast even Old Man Crotchety would be tempted to go.