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Interview: Phantom of the Opera's Claire Lyon

Posted By Kieran Nash, Sunday, 14 July 2013
Updated: Tuesday, 9 July 2013

It’s the biggest opera on earth, seen by more than 130 million people in 27 countries – and the lead female role is played by an Australian. Claire Lyon plays Christine Daaé, the beautiful soprano who is the object of the Phantom’s obsessive love. She spoke to Kieran Nash before the show.

How old are you, and where are you from originally?

I'm 26 – I was born and grew up in Melbourne but am now based out of Sydney.

How did you come to be in Phantom?

I was contracted with Opera Australia straight out of university. In 2011 I left the opera company to join the Australian tour of Love Never Dies – the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. Just before the tour ended in Sydney 2012, I got the opportunity to audition for the world tour of Phantom and was lucky enough to be cast as Christine!

What makes Phantom so special? Why do you think it is the most successful show in the world?

The music, first and foremost, is lush and beautiful but more importantly memorable. Even if you haven't seen Phantom, you're likely to know some of the hits from the show. Also, the story is one of love, loss, heart break, rejection – which everyone can relate to in some way. Finally, the costumes, set and choreography are such a spectacle! Even 26 years on, people are still wowed by what they see on stage. You're not just seeing a show, but living and experiencing it.


What does it feel like to play the lead role?

To get up on stage every night and do something I love and at the same time bring enjoyment to people is so rewarding. There is a lot of pressure however that comes with being a leading lady. I have to make sure I'm always in perfect health in order to give my best every night - which means nights out are few and far between!


Did you ever think you would be playing one of the biggest roles in opera?

I have been singing songs from Phantom since I was about five years old. I always dreamed of performing this role, but never knew if I would ever get the opportunity! In fact, it's all been such a whirlwind, I don't even think I can believe it now - perhaps I'll look back one day and realise what an incredible experience I had!


How hectic is it backstage in the show, with all the costume and backdrop changes?

This show is like a well oiled machine. But if you're standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could get knocked over, bumped into – it's hectic back there! Everyone knows they have to stick to the same routine back stage, let alone on stage, every night otherwise accidents could happen!


Have you met Andrew Lloyd Webber? If so, what is he like to work with?

Just before this tour, I understudied and performed the same role of Christine in the Australian tour of 'Love Never Dies' - also one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's works. Andrew came out to Melbourne for our rehearsal period. He really is such a lovely man and a brilliant composer!


Of all the venues you’ve sung in, which was the best or stood out for you?

Definitely the Sydney Opera House. It's such an iconic venue. It was my ‘office’ for two years while contracted with Opera Australia. The view of Sydney harbour from the green room and dressing rooms is the best!


Have you been to Singapore before? What are you looking forward to here?

I have, but when I was a child - so I can't remember a thing! I'm really looking forward to checking out the Chinatown Heritage Centre, visiting Sentosa and going on a night safari at the Singapore Zoo. I also love fashion so I'm very keen to check out some local designers!


The Phantom of the Opera is playing now! Visit the Marina Bay Sands website to book your tickets.

Tags:  Andrew Lloyd Webber  Australia  Claire Lyon  phantom of the opera  singapore 

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