Milan's Teatro La Scala, one of the world's leading opera houses, will produce and host the first Italian mounting of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera in the year 2003. The announcement was given yesterday by Lord Webber himself, who was in Milan for a talk about his musical theatre, and by Teatro La Scala's artistic director Paolo Arcà.
The record breaking show, which has already been seen by over 50 million people all over the world and is still playing to full houses both in London and New York, will be completely redesigned for the first production to be staged in an opera house, and will feature the entire La Scala orchestra. The show will be performed in Italian, and will include the two original pieces that Lord Webber has written for the forthcoming film adaptation which will star Antonio Banderas and which Shekhar Kapur ("Elisabeth") has been appointed to direct.
The Phantom of the Opera, as most of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hits, with the exception of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, has never been performed in Italy, nor translated in Italian. No details have yet been given about the cast, the artistic team which will develop the Italian production, and the involvement of Webber's own production company, the Really Useful Group.
The original production of Webber's blockbuster opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in London on Oct. 9, 1986, and starred Michael Crawford as The Phantom, Sarah Brightman as Christine and Steve Barton as Raoul. The score was by Lloyd Webber (music) and Charles Hart (lyrics), with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe also wrote the book, which was based on Gaston Leroux's classic 1911 novel.
The Phantom of the Opera will not be the first musical to be performed at La Scala, one of the most famous and prestigious opera houses in the world. On July 8, Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story is scheduled to open a two weeks residence in the historic eighteenth century building. The new Italian production of West Side Story will be directed by Eddy Habbema, and will feature scenes by Paul Gallis and choreography by Joey McKneely. Donald Chan will conduct the Scala orchestra. For further information visit the Teatro alla Scala website.