'The Phantom of the Opera'
"The Phantom of the Opera" -- a 1911-style episode of "Elimidate" at the Paris Opera House -- is an unlikely sport for the hand of singer Christine Daae. In this plaintive love story, 20-something Daae is talented and beautiful. And like the late night "reality"-romance show, Daae must choose from two very different bachelors: Bachelor Number One is a creepy composer who wears a mask and lives woefully in the theater's sewer system. Bachelor Number Two has all of the qualities Bachelor Number One lacks -- the looks (no mask), charm and a real house.
Bachelor Number One (a.k.a. The Phantom) boasts one advantage: a passion for music. Secretly adoring Daae, he finds a way to spend more time with her as he hones her vocal skills from behind a veil. He cultivates his gentility as the temperamental instructor, or the "Angel of Music." While The Phantom's crush develops during rehearsals and performances, Bachelor Number Two recognizes Daae from childhood.
An outing with The Phantom is a "blind date," literally. The unsuspecting Daae is lured into the opera house's underworld, where sinewy fingers pound out an eerie organ melody. Here's a date gone awry: Daae passes out when she sees a spectral image of herself as The Phantom's bride to-be.
Bachelor Number Two, or Raoul, takes a much more mainstream approach to winning Daae's hand, accompanying her to the opposite pole of the theater; they profess their love for each other on the rooftop. The ambiance upstairs proves more tasteful to Daae's pallet than The Phantom's subterranean living room and it doesn't take long for Daae and Raoul to become engaged.
But a jealous Phantom tries to win her back, though not without some trouble: His idea of a love letter is a ransom note. He threatens opera directors with a warning -- if Daae isn't cast as a main role in the next production, peril will ensue. When Daae is still given a secondary part, a stagehand is killed.
The persistent Phantom doesn't stop there. He then gives Daae an ultimatum -- she must choose him or see her precious Raoul dead as well. How will this eligible bachelorette elimidate? What will be the fate of these contestants? Will Daae see either of her dates again?
Tuesday-Sunday, July 14-Aug. 8, call for times, Historic Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave. S. $21-$75.50. 651-989-5151.
Infrared lighting and a wide-angle lens create an alternate reality in the French flick "Amelie." Despite the quietude of this alienated waitress, set apart for her shyness and eccentric upbringing, Amelie shows no lack of spunk when the discovery of a lost child's treasure box compels her to do good works. Her miracles are of the whimsical variety: she befriends a curmudgeonly neighbor, rescues a garden gnome and guides a blind man through town.
Amelie's humorous do-good attempts lead her into a labyrinthine quest for the love of another bashful soul.
Celebrate Bastille Day with "Amelie" and
a concert from Brit acoustic rocker
Graham Parker, plus Anglo-French food and drink specials.
Sunday, July 18, Graham Parker plays at 6 p.m., movie starts at 9 p.m. Brit's Pub, 1110 Nicollet Mall. Free. 332-3908.
Anna Pratt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.