Show -- Farewell show -- After-Show-Party
- We came
back from our walk, deposited our German shepherd-Berner Sennhund
- Mix in the car and started for the next turn.
We used the bureau of a friend at the 'Neue
Flora' as dressing-room, then came out as a normal 'phan' and 'The
Phantom' and were caught by another phan. He told us he had seen
the show for 42 times and asked for a photo with me. He said he
was sure he would get no photo with the real phantom performer,
but for his album it would do with me. IJB,
there you see: I'm your new double!
We hung around in the little theatre shop till it was time to
enter the foyer again. Champagne and orange juice was served
there. We took some and earned first looks. It's always funny to
see people react when they see you are used to drinking something
with a half-mask on. That's the trick to seem real: you have to
practice. There is no sense in playing a role when people can see
you are acting. That's the difference to many other phantom
doubles that evening - and there were some - that I've made my
own, well-fitting half-mask and run around with it half a holiday
to get used with it. And to get used with it is very important
when you want to wear it for hours. And I wore it for nearly ten
hours that day.
We spoke with other phans, walked around and felt weird.
Anticipating a very last show is a strange thing to do. I spoke
with a fellow (Hi, Frank!!) who wanted to write an internet report
about the last days of Das Phantom der Oper in Hamburg
and who told me he never saw IJB
smile when taking his applause. I cant agree
with him, every time we had our seats in the first row we saw him
smile then except one time when the whole staff had caught the
cold. Then he really looked exhausted and ill, but who would not,
having the cold but singing like always,
more shows than usual, 'cause the alternate actors were ill...To
smile or not to smile...it was this happy smile on his face at the
end of the show that showed me first that IJB
liked the phantom part, that it meant
something to him.
- But then
it was time for the final show.
It had been very, very difficult to get tickets for the very last
show. Thanks to mismanagement there were empty seats in each
category while phans sat at home, crying because having no ticket
for the Dernière. Oh Stella, you'll never learn!
There were speeches, i.e. from Mr. von der Heyde, there was the
award of platinum discs to Peter Hofmann and Anna Maria Kaufmann,
Germanys first phantom performers. They didn't let them sing - why
not? We would have enjoyed it! And then the show started.
- What's to
say about that very last show?
- I think,
everything I wished to say about our great Hamburg stage crew was
said before. There's nothing to add. They were great, they put all
their heart in it. They sang with a tear in their eye - and even
more tears in the eyes of the audience.
sat there, enjoying -sniff!!- IJB
as Phantom for the very last time. Naturally
it had been impossible to get tickets for our usual first row
middle seats, so we now were seated far away on the very right
side, and the bigger distance to the stage didn't allow us to be
part of the story right the way we used to be. Sitting as near as
we normally did, it always seemed to us we somehow were involved
in the story... and it allowed us to see IJB's
still don't know his secret, how exactly he did it, but IJB
always showed Erik, the phantom, as a quite
normal human being, suffering the pain of getting outcaste and
being repulsed by all his contemporaries. He never showed the
phantom as a nutter or mad serial killer. He showed this
vulnerable, touchy and shy man with his great ability to both rage
and deepest love and let us take a look inside this 'worldwide
heart' of Leroux' Erik. I always thought he never acted as the
phantom Webber describes but more as the one Leroux wrote about.
It was the same with his singing: You always could hear the tears
Erik shed in Leroux' book whenever he was with Christine - IJB
then always sang with those tears in his
Just great. And the show went on, act one, act two.
Funny detail: Michael Nicholson, the matinee's phantom which I
shot with my rose, acted as Policeman. When told to shoot, he
shaked with a very little, ridiculous childish voice
his question about the right time to shoot. We all laughed -
thanks, Michael, for making us laugh though we all were sad...
It was a wonderful farewell show - but it was a farewell show. So
for me still nothing compares to the evening show on Friday, June
For me this show was the best one I ever saw. Then we had
something to look forward to, now we were sad, knowing it was all
over. Then we enjoyed it with nothing but the orchestra between us
and the actors, now we were banned far away on seats at the verge
of the theatre. No, there was no comparison possible.
But you were great, Mr. Bourg,
and I know from a photograph in the newspaper you tried your usual
smile when taking your applause, and we all enjoyed the final duet
with Colby Thomas.
And then you were gone, and we all missed you, for nobody saw you
later on the party. But more about that later.
We stayed a little bit, saw the people leaving and then realized
there was an interview with Peter Hofmann and Anna Maria Kaufmann
just there some steps beyond. Well, now, I've had some eddings
with me - a pencil you normally can write on nearly everything
with - and I was masked - so I stumbled into the beginning of the
interview, interrupted the preparations of the journalists and
asked Peter for an autograph. He was very
kind and scribbled it on my mask (very difficult to do, I know).
Anna stood beside, smiling, so I asked her for an autograph, too,
and she also was very friendly and scribbled it for me. Thanks a
One of the television teams went over to me to ask me for an
interview. Ahm, well, why not? So we waited till the official
interviews were over, then they came for me. Oh people! I didn't
expect them to ask such stupid questions, but they've got stupid
answers, too. Somebody told me they sent it next day in a regional
TV. Each one who saw it: Ahm, it hasn't been me...
Then we all were ushered away. One last glance in our beloved,
well known theatre, sniff, and then this was over, too. And we
went for the buffet.
It's a funny thing to stand there with a plate in one hand, a
glass in the other and people are looking for you are masked and
they just can't believe you will be able to eat and drink with
that mask on. They all waited for me to take it off, like other
phantom doubles did. But the original phantom would have caused a
panic when unmasking on a party, so I didn't do so also. And so I
had my own, little show.
We hung around a long time, searching for IJB
and the others but didn't find them. Hours
later we met Thomas Schulze, a very well known, great phantom
performer and I still had my edding with me, so I asked him for an
autograph, too. He laughed and scribbled on
my mask, too, now there were three names on it and a smiling lady
behind it. And we still looked for IJB.
Then we found out he was in a separate room
with most of the other performers, and we were not allowed to
enter. We met our friend who suggested to sneak into the room when
drinks were brought, but how to sneak in with that outfit?
Dear Mr. Bourg,
you've missed the big thrill that evening. Once you asked me to
remove my mask and I did not understand (it just had been too
noisy then) and so you inscribed it when I had it on. This evening
all people who gave me their autograph on my mask did so when I
had it on. For you I would have removed it, and for you I removed
it indeed - without you seeing it. Our friend brought the mask to
you and then brought it back with your autograph on it. Thanks a
lot for the autograph, but I would have loved to see you...
The mask is now lying on my desk, and I look upon it with a smile,
thinking about the only time I wore it ... I'll never wear it
We went to our van to look for our dog which was fast asleep and
to change masks (I've got more than one...) Coming back, people
were wondering if there was another, new phantom, but it was the
old one, and I indeed began to feel very old. We took our last
champagne and then saw the rose raptors. I leaned on a table when
I saw a red rose lying around. Poor flower, no water at all, so I
picked it up. It was a real flower, but there were synthetic roses
pinned to the balustrades and the ceiling, and while we stood
there we saw people come and rip them down, taking the flowers
with them. Astounding! Nothing bad about souvenirs, but it
seemed a little bit like robbing the dead.
was the point of no return.
was over now for us, it made no sense to stay any longer. Our
friend left, too, there still was no IJB
around, it was half past three and we
had hours to drive home. So, with a last glance around and a
tear in the eye, good bye, 'Neue Flora', farewell, 'Phantom'.
It was a silent drive home.
when we were in a forest near our home, another day was
dawning. We stopped and took our dog for a morning walk. A
little repayment for having waited so long in the car...We
talked a little bit about the shows we had seen. It was
romantic: The silvery dawn, the dark trees, our dog merrily
jumping around, frolicking in the fresh grass - morning glow
was here, at last.
And then I remembered the autograph
cards our friend gave to me. There also was one of IJB.
Later, I turned it and found the homepage address sticker on
it. And so, thanks to IJB or
whoever put this sticker on the card, this silvery morning
with it's dark trees and our happy dog was not only the end of
a beautiful story, but somehow the beginning of a new one.
over now, the music of the night...Really??
= Fan stories 3 =