Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest
 

News & Events Archive

A scene from the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera - View Full Size Image
A scene from the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera
A scene from the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera - View Full Size Image
A scene from the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera
Hal McGonigle as the Phantom and Sarah-Jayne McGill as Christine - View Full Size Image
Hal McGonigle as the Phantom and Sarah-Jayne McGill as Christine
The Ballet Dancers from the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera - View Full Size Image
The Ballet Dancers from the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera
The Male Chorus of the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera - View Full Size Image
The Male Chorus of the Loreto College production of Phantom of the Opera
18/10/2013 PHANTOM OF THE OPERA A HAUNTING AUTUMN HIGHLIGHT AT LORETO COLLEGE COLERAINE

A week-long run of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Phantom of the Opera was a highlight of the Autumn Term at Loreto College Coleraine from 14th – 18th October 2013.

Based on a novel by French author Gaston Leroux, Phantom of the Opera tells a story of romance and the supernatural, with a love triangle at its heart.  Beautiful young singer Christine is torn between the handsome young Vicomte Raoul de Chagny and the masked ghost who haunts the Paris Opera: the Phantom.  Phantom of the Opera features a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe.

A matinee for pupils from local Primary Schools was followed by four evening performances to packed houses. The hard-working cast, crew and directors of this complex, dramatic show provided tremendous entertainment for all those lucky enough to see it.  Directed by Mrs Oonah McEwan (Head of Drama) and Musical Director Mr Stephen Gallagher (Vice Principal), Phantom of the Opera offered something for everyone: drama, pathos, romance, tragedy, redemption, and the winning through of true love. As Halloween approached, the supernatural drama of the Phantom of the Opera storyline was a fittingly dark, dramatic one to send a shiver down the spine of every member of the capacity audiences to which the musical played. Along the way, audience enjoyed some superb performances from a cast whose levels of talent and dedication belied their youthful age.

In the title role of the Phantom was Hal McGonigle (Year 13). Hal delivered a magnetic performance of great dramatic conviction, bringing a spine-chilling tension and air of mystery to his scenes and a wonderful vocal richness to some of the show’s best-known songs.  Opposite him in the role of Christine was Sarah-Jayne McGill (also Year 13).  Demonstrating an amazing vocal range, Sarah-Jayne brought a mix of vulnerability and strength to the role of Christine, making her the convincing central figure of the musical’s romantic storyline. The romantic duets between Sarah-Jayne and Hal were remarkable and memorable: the on-stage chemistry between the two adding great dramatic conviction to their superb vocal performances.

As Raoul, Connor Dudley-Fergus (Year 12) brought an air of romance and the dream to the part of the young man who falls in love with the beautiful opera singer Christine, in a performance full of finesse and gallantry.  Clodagh Rainey (Year 13) played the operatic diva Carlotta with a combination of exceptional comic timing and impressive vocal acrobatics, in a really magnificent performance. André and Firmin, the two owners of the Opera House in which the drama is set, were played by Fergus Kelly and Conor Anderson (both Year 14), while Niall Hunter (Year 12) played the role of Piangi: three subtle, clever performances combining comedy and dramatic intent in the most convincing and engaging way. Mother and daughter duo Madame Giry and Meg Giry were played, respectively, by Saryah McCrossan and Rosanna McAleese (both Year 14): two performances of grace and vocal excellence as well as a skilful portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship, showing the bond of superstition uniting them.

Other stars of the Loreto production of Phantom of the Opera included Lucas Levy as Joseph Buquet, Rebecca Kealey as the Dresser, Ronan McCarry as Reyer, Cormac McCarry as Lefevre, Christy Laverty as the Auctioneer and Damian McGrath as the Porter. All six distinguished themselves in delicately judged cameo performances, keeping dramatic and vocal conviction throughout.

This was also a very strong ensemble performance.  A cast of 100 students, ranging from Year 9 to Year 14, performed numerous chorus numbers, often featuring complex choreography.  The chorus featured a group of ballet dancers, led by Rebecca McKillen, alongside an impressive tango in Act 2, as well as a full four-part harmony chorus which showed tremendous stylistic and vocal range through a variety of chorus acts.

The Loreto production of Phantom of the Opera was also impressive in terms of the attention to detail of set, lighting, costumes and props, all of which served the enhance the dramatic impact of the piece and to engross the capacity audience to which the show played, in a world which seemed a million miles away from 2013 Coleraine. The gothic-style stage set and the precarious chandelier which loomed above it, added to the sense of mystery and implicit threat which made the show so magical, acting as a foil to the outstanding performances from all the cast.

Phantom of the Opera, with its dramatic effect and atmosphere of forbidden love against the odds, was a haunting, memorable show as the Halloween break approached. With well-known songs such as The Music of the Night, All I Ask Of You, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and the Phantom’s own dramatic theme, the Loreto production was truly outstanding, and was greeted deservedly with standing ovations after every performance.

Mr Michael James, Principal of Loreto College, paid tribute to all members of the cast, crew, orchestra, backstage and front of house teams and in particular to members of staff Mrs Oonah McEwan (Director), Mr Stephen Gallagher (Musical Director), Mrs Katrina Brolly (Costumes Manager), Mrs Lorraine McCool (Props Manager), Mr Paul Cunning and Mr Raymond McKay (Set Designers and Scenic Artists), Ms Julie Wilson (Stage Manager) and Mr Peter Loughran (Assistant Stage Manager) and all the many backstage helpers, on a production of an exceptionally high standard, which made it feel as though the West End had come to Coleraine for one magical October week.