'Phantom of the Opera' in Malaysia: Cast ready for gruelling demands of popular musical

Melanie Chalil
(Phantom) Jonathan Roxmouth and Meghan Picerno in a scene from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ currently showing at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur. — Picture courtesy of The Phantom of the Opera World Tour

PETALING JAYA, June 19 — After Manila and Singapore, The Phantom of the Opera has finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur for the very first time to delight fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical masterpiece.

As starved musical enthusiasts get their fix for the few weeks at Istana Budaya, the cast has the challenging task of staying fit to deliver those anticipated notes eight shows a week for at least three weeks, in a foreign country no less.

For South African stage actor Jonathan Roxmouth who plays the titular Phantom, he told Malay Mail the hard work vocally and mentally, began a few months prior to prepare for the challenging part.

“Returning to Phantom meant three months of singing through the score with a teacher a few times every week.”

“I also got into a routine of jogging for lung capacity as well as not eating after 8pm to prevent acid reflux. Both help in keeping the voice safe and elastic,” said Roxmouth who is in Malaysia for the first time.

Roxmouth’s co-star Meghan Picerno who plays the beautiful young soprano Christine Daae, admitted that being part of a travelling show comes with its fair share of challenges.

“I’ve been very fortunate to travel rather constantly my entire performing career, so really the most challenging aspect is acclimating to each new environment,” the classically trained opera singer said.

While Picerno prides herself with being very adaptable, she said being in a different country required some adjustment especially in terms of her health.

“But I love discovering new foods, cultures, art, dance, music.

“I’m so excited that each and every one of these countries I am coming to with Phantom are all brand new to me. I can’t wait to dive in,” she exclaimed.

The coloratura soprano also revealed to Malay Mail that she buys herself flowers each week for her hotel room.

Catch The Phantom of the Opera Malaysia Tour at Istana Budaya from now to July 7. Tickets are priced from RM200 onwards, available via TicketCharge.

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