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When the Languages Department of the College of Arts and Sciences celebrated its 2008 English Days, it mounted a grand musicale, The Phantom of the Opera, last October 2-3, 2008, at the HNU main gym, to highlight its week-long celebration.

Mr. Ramon A. Boloron, Chair of the Languages Department and Mr. Marianito Jose Luspo, Director of the Office of the Cultural Affairs worked in tandem for the musicale. Mr. Tor Telin provided the script adaptation and some aspects of technical direction.

The stellar cast included: Mr. Scud Raynel Amora, Ms. Venice June Corsino, Mr. Clyde Ebojo, Ms. Jesat Cathy Duce, Mrs. Cherry Maniwang, Mr. Ian Vernel Sendrijas, Mr. Joshua Dolotina, Ms. Biena Ursula Bautista, Mr. Stephen Bongcaras, the ballet dancers, the members of the choir, the members of the Diwanag Dance Theater and Cultural Troupe.

The Phantom of the Opera, a modern opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber tells the story that deep in the underground vaults of the old Opera Populaire in Paris, lived a solitary madman forced to hide from society because of his disfigured face. They called him “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Nobody had actually seen him, but it was widely whispered about that he used to walk the halls of the opera house at night and imposed his demands on its management until the building was destroyed in a spectacular fire several decades ago.

Today, what remained of the Opera Populaire is being auctioned off to a huge crowd of people who were mostly drawn there because of the Phantom legend that refused to die even after the passage of almost a century.

Among the eager buyers that day was Raoul, the young Vicomte de Chagny. He was filled with excitement as he held the old papier-mache musical box in his hand, a relic from the burned opera house. In an instant, the events leading to the mysterious fire that destroyed the Opera Populaire unfolded themselves in his mind. In his youth sometime ago he had heard about the story of the love triangle between his great grandmother Christine, his namesake and ancestor Raoul Vicomte de Chagny and the mysterious madman whom they called the “Phantom of the Opera.”

Christine Daae, Raoul’s great great grandmother was then a pretty young girl with an undiscovered golden voice and one of the ballet dancers of the Opera Populaire. Her friend, Meg Giry, can also sing, but she was not as talented as her. Unknown to Meg Giry, her friend, Christine had caught the eye of the Phantom, a musical genius, who had trained the young ballet dancer in the art of opera singing without actually appearing to her. Christine Daae for her part, considered her unseen tutor as her “Angel of Music.”

As planned, The Phantom brought Christine Daae to the limelight by sabotaging the career of the Opera’s Prima Donna, the supercilious Carlotta Guidicelli and seeing to it that the production cast Christine in the lead role. True enough, when Christine sang onstage for the first night, the audience fell in love with her.

The Phantom now saw Raoul a serious rival in his love for Christine. Knowing he could never win the love of Christine because of his ugly face, The Phantom decided to abduct Christine and bring her to his subterranean home but in doing so he inadvertently set the Opera on fire. Pursued by Raoul and an angry crowd, Christine and The Phantom finally reached the secret lair. Now he begs Christine to love him and live with him in his dark world of music.

Would Christine choose her Angel of Music to his lover?

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