“It’s such an iconic display and I’m so grateful to be a part of it”: Matt Blaker on The Phantom of the Safari at The girl Majesty’s Theater
The West End has inaugurated the hottest month of the particular year with a new casting for one of its historical productions, The Phantom of the Opera . Celebrating over 30 years – and counting – the particular musical continues to charm and mesmerise audiences worldwide, touring across continents and welcoming theatregoers visiting London from around the globe. The mighty score bears the signature of Andrew Lloyd Webber, building up along the tragic and romantic story associated with the Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with the celestial Christine.
Within the particular refreshed casting, we find Matt Blaker, playing the antagonist from the disfigured musical genius, Raoul. Blaker returns to confront the Phantom, interpreted by Killian Donnelly, after first wearing the costume of the Vicomte de Chagny six years ago, as an understudy from the same role. Since then, he has continued his career collecting theatre credits in Joseph plus the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat , Jersey Boys and Carousel a nd is now more excited than ever to be back with the family of Her Majesty’s Theatre.
We chatted with Blaker to learn more about his first encounter using the Phantom, a day in the particular life of Raoul plus his wise pieces associated with advice with regard to aspiring actors.
Thank you for your time, and congratulations on your role within The Phantom of the Opera ! Can you remember when they communicated the good news, where you were and your own first reaction?
Absolutely no problem at all – I think talking about the show is my favourite topic of conversation! To be honest, I had to ask my agent to tell me again as I didn’t believe them! I was teaching the private singing lesson – over lockdown, I developed a real passion regarding teaching musical theatre in order to the next generation – and had to jump out to take the call. I think it’s fair to say I couldn’t really concentrate for the rest of the particular lesson plus just wanted to call my family and tell them!
This is one of the historical musicals in the Western End, continuing to entertain millions of theatregoers, not only within the UK but globally. What was your first personal encounter along with The Phantom of the Opera and how do you feel connected in order to this music?
It’s such an iconic show plus I’m so thankful to be a part of it. We first saw the show about ten years ago now, whilst I was studying at Guildford School of Acting. I’d never seen the particular show and one of my friends, Hywel, has been determined in order to take me personally as it’s his all-time favourite. We took the trip up to London and I was blown away. Now 10 years later, both Hywel and I are in the display together, that’s a really special memory! Having been within the company six years ago as the particular understudy to Raoul, it marked my first contract in the West End, something I’d been looking to achieve since I actually began the journey because an actor, and that was a good incredibly poignant moment for me. Also being a part associated with the show’s 30 th -anniversary celebrations that year was very special! Phantom is such a family, so coming back to the show really felt like coming home. It will always hold a very close place in my heart.
How did you prepare for your part? What will be a day in the particular life of an acting professional playing Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny like?
I like to keep myself physically plus vocally in shape. Having a routine is usually so important in performing anything eight times a week. Also, I like cake, so I need in order to be careful to stay in shape so I can fit into our costumes! Each carrying out day, I do the organization warm-up and then my own tailored warm-up prepared by my performing teacher Dane Chalfin which is specific to the style of singing and the function. At the end of every night, I also warm down which re-centres my voice and body before the particular next day. Also plenty of sleep – that cannot be overstated. Recovery is definitely key!
What is your favourite song?
I honestly think the best song changes every day. There are so many timeless songs within the score that each day We love a different one! Today, I am going to go with Final Lair . It’s the pinnacle associated with the show and the real moment of release for the Phantom, Christine plus Raoul. All the tension, conflict and passion have built in order to a stunning climax. It goes without saying that will it’s amazing to sing with this kind of passion in this instant, but it is also one of really few moments in the particular show exactly where I get to actually interact face-to-face with Killian who plays the Phantom. He’s a truly fantastic professional and it is a pleasure to obtain to face off against him!
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
I believe the biggest problem of taking on any principal role like this is doing this eight times a week, building the particular vocal plus physical stamina to really engage with the piece night after night time. I usually try to find something ever so slightly different to play or challenge myself with every night to keep things fresh. Luckily we possess an amazing business here who are such generous and passionate stars, it makes life extremely easy!
Have you ever performed in venues along with real “phantoms”?
You know what, up until per week or so ago, I would have laughed this question off plus said I’d never seen a “theatre ghost”. But I had a really funny thing happening in rehearsals for this contract. Whilst working on the particular rooftop scene, I looked out into the dress circle and saw an older man walk down the steps plus sit down within his seat. I turned and asked another cast member why there had been someone there, and when I actually looked back again he was gone. Yet I swear I saw him!
Joseph as well as the Incredible Technicolor Dreamcoat , Shirt Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar , and you have got recently concluded your experience in Carousel : an impressive list already under your belt. What are you mainly looking intended for in the shows you are auditioning for?
Well, that is quite kind of you to state. I’m constantly looking for interesting characters in order to play, and as my profession has gone on I am starting to be trusted with these larger roles, which can be exciting. Billy in Carousel was a very special second – the real career highlight role for myself. Not only are those songs some of the particular greatest actually written, but it’s a character full of pain plus conflict, quite far removed from anything else I’ve ever done. I would love to do some more Rodgers and Hammerstein, perhaps a Curly in Oklahoma or a Captain von Trapp in the future somewhere! Those songs are this kind of an enjoyment to perform. I has been due to perform Topher in Rodgers plus Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Hope Mill Theater before the pandemic hit and that would have been a highlight for me personally.
Is there a role that is particularly close to your own heart? Why?
Of the shows I have been the part associated with, Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys holds an extremely unique put in place my heart. A musical style up to now removed from The Phantom of the Opera , I loved the problem, and ended up working with some of my best friends on that agreement; we toured some really exciting places in the world such as China plus Dubai and it felt like going on holiday with your greatest friends to get six months! It was the first leading role and I adored every second of it. For roles that I would love to do within the future: We would enjoy doing The Last Five Years , a two-hander musical that is a challenge for any actor or actress. Jamie is certainly a complex character with some fantastic songs, and I actually would like to have the opportunity to work upon that display before I get too old! Something to actually dig my teeth into.
Exactly what would your advice become for aspiring young actors?
We love this particular question, as I still very much consider personally to end up being in that will category (maybe not therefore young anymore though! ). I actually think the key is listening. Firstly, to what is being said in the picture or song you are focusing on: actually listen to what the other person is saying, and this will inform your response. But furthermore to people that are trying to help you: directors, choreographers, musical directors. These people are really wanting to help you be better and be successful. Everyone has some thing valuable that you can learn from. Secondly: patience. This is our second time auditioning pertaining to the part of Raoul and I auditioned three times for the particular understudy before I booked the job. This might not happen for you all from once, and that is okay. Learn from each encounter and come back the following year stronger with clear ideas associated with how you want to improve. Finally, I read a really good piece of advice recently, which was that you aren’t just auditioning for that will job, you are auditioning for each job the team will do after that. So just because this one didn’t go your way, a person might possess done the particular perfect audition for the thing they are doing next. Head up, onto the next!
That’s fantastic, thank you so much.
The Phantom of the Opera is on at Her Majesty’s Theatre now. For further information visit the theatre’s website here .