Friday, August 23, 2013

Suitcases & Must Go's: The Phantom of the Opera, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Image source: Sistic Website

I was in Singapore last month for my cousin's wedding so I grabbed the chance to cross one thing off my bucket list. That is, to watch The Phantom of the Opera Musical by the one and only Andrew Lloyd Webber! It's been a dream of mine to watch this since studying the book in high school and watching the movie version that came out in 2004. And it was such a spectacular experience indeed.

I sat in the VIP section just a few rows from the stage so I got a really great view! Yay me! Hey, if it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, shouldn't you go for the very best? I think so anyway. Life is short, so savour it right!

I was enthralled by the splendid decor. Everything looked so magnificent and realistic. The curtain changes were fast and went by so smoothly it didn't affect the flow of the performance at all.

Even the curtains are pretty

A look at the opening number, can you spot the Chandelier in the piccie?

OH MY FREAKING GOSH! The chandelier was beyond words. I don't have a picture of it to show you sadly but it was breathtaking. And the most amazing part is if you sit in the VIP area, you become part of the performance, almost! The orchestra did such a great job hyping up the moment I even got goosebumps. It took a lot out of me just to keep myself in my seat, I was so excited.

Isn't the decor gorgeous?

And the costumes, oh dear, were so colourful and creative. Especially after Intermission, they continued with Masquerade and it was SO much better than in the movie. Every colour under the sky was utilized, it was such a sight to behold. No drabby black and white outfits here. There was so much to see it was like watching a tennis match. Left right, left right. Just trying to take in everything and burn it into my memory to relive on my own.

Look at that beauty! The details!

And I haven't even talked about the singing yet! With Brad Little at the helm, it really was quite stunning. He did a good job playing the famous, or should I say infamous, Phantom, although I felt he missed a few beats. But I think that is expected of a live performance and made everything more realistic. Claire Lyon was brilliant as Christine DaaƩ, capturing the essence of the character while instilling her own voice in the role. I loved her rich, deep voice as opposed to Sarah Brightman's high-pitched one. Anthony Downing was also great as Raoul, but of course, his part was significantly smaller. John O'May was absolutely HILARIOUS as Monsieur Firmin, making him one of my favourites from the performance. Andrea Creighton too was a master in her version of La Carlotta. I can't get over the part where she croaked.

There really is nothing like watching a performance live in front of your very eyes. The colours are so vibrant and the actors are bursting with life. And take my word for it when I say that the decorations alone are worth the ticket price, they were just so essential to the performance they blew my breath away.

I loved every minute of The Phantom of the Opera so much I wouldn't mind watching it again. And I even bought the Original Cast Musical CD to take home as a souvenir of this exhilarating experience I'll never forget. It's something for musical lovers as well as newbies alike. Even my father who knew nothing of the story enjoyed it so thoroughly he still hums the songs every day.

I'm so glad I got to live out a dream. And here's hoping they will return soon. Or at least perform in another country nearby. Count me in!

The Phantom of the Opera closes September 1, 2013 and is showing at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Grab your tickets before they're gone at the Sistic website. Prices start at S$55. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Bookworm: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

  • Title: City of Bones
  • Series: Mortal Instruments, Book 1
  • Author: Cassandra Clare
  • Format: Paperback 485 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Published: 01 March 2008
  • Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
  • ISBN 13: 9781416955078
  • ISBN 10: 1416955070
  • Source: Bought
  • Buy:  The Book Depository|Amazon

Side Note: I've had this book for about a year but only decided to read it last month and review it now to coincide with the movie coming out this week. I can't wait! Will definitely be reviewing the movie as well. I hope it translates well in the movie. Also interested to see how they tackle some of the elements of this series. Read on to get a feel of what I'm talking about!

In an apple core (The Bookworm’s version of a nutshell)

A fast-paced page turner filled with action and suspense and lots of fantasy and mystery.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder--much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing--not even a smear of blood--to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight?

The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

My Thoughts

In this series, mundanes are to the Mortal Instruments series what mudbloods are to the Harry Potter world if you get what I mean. And in simple terms, the Shadowhunters are a society of monster hunters. Not the most unique idea but Cassandra has you on quite a thrill ride. I hadn't paid attention to the summary when I bought this book, going completely on the wise words of fellow book bloggers. I totally wasn't expecting City of Bones to be a paranormal story! There are vamps and werewolves aplenty thrown into the whole cool mix. And as with good vs evil stories, there is a great big baddie. But is he just a baddie, or something so much more?

I loved the use of the ancient runes, the cool tattoos on their bodies, having always been a fan of historical mysteries and myths. Runes are steeped in history and I love how Cassandra incorporated them into the Mortal Instruments series and made them visible and current. Also, the use of Tarot cards piqued my interest, a true mystery in itself.

City of Bones has some really cool twists and turns in it. It was as if Cassandra Clare thought of the craziest and most unusual idea when she came to a crossroad in the story, and you get the City of Bones. She really surprised me with her inclusion of a, wait for it, spoiler alert, lgbt element in this series. Not only that, but there is another big revelation in this book, which was actually quite unexpected for a first book. Just remember that the world is smaller than it seems and the answer will dawn on you as you go on this journey. I'm really interested to see how these elements translate into the movie, if touched upon at all. I say this as this is the first book out of five and I'm very sure for the lgbt element, the relationship will progress with the rest of the books.

The Mortal Instruments series is worth picking up and I look forward to the movie as well as the rest of the books

Give Cassandra Clare a Buzz

WARNING: There are some adult themes in this book along with some violence. Parental guidance is advised.

Disclosure: I was not compensated financially or otherwise for this review. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience.