August 21, 2019

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Phantom in the blood

Actress Eva Tavares has been preparing to play Christine since before birth

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/8/2017 (727 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

VANCOUVER — A well-lit downstairs space in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre bears no resemblance to the dank bowels of the Paris Opera House depicted in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera.

But notwithstanding the absence of candle-lit subterranean lakes and lairs, these modern environs do hold some history for actress Eva Tavares, who took on the Phantom role of Christine Daaé in the touring production when the show moved east from Vancouver last month. It was in this very theatre where the Vancouver-raised Tavares first saw the lavish, gothic musical when she was just 10 years old.

“I remember where I was sitting. I was in the balcony. I remember what I was wearing,” she says. “And I remember I came out of the theatre saying: ‘I want to do that.’”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/8/2017 (727 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

VANCOUVER — A well-lit downstairs space in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre bears no resemblance to the dank bowels of the Paris Opera House depicted in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera.

But notwithstanding the absence of candle-lit subterranean lakes and lairs, these modern environs do hold some history for actress Eva Tavares, who took on the Phantom role of Christine Daaé in the touring production when the show moved east from Vancouver last month. It was in this very theatre where the Vancouver-raised Tavares first saw the lavish, gothic musical when she was just 10 years old.

</p><p>Eva Tavares remembers first seeing The Phantom of the Opera at 10 years old.</p></p>

Eva Tavares remembers first seeing The Phantom of the Opera at 10 years old.

"I remember where I was sitting. I was in the balcony. I remember what I was wearing," she says. "And I remember I came out of the theatre saying: ‘I want to do that.’"

That sentiment might have been bred in her bones, it turns out. Tavares says she recently discovered her first exposure predated that show.

"I was talking to my mom, checking with her that I was 10 years old when I first saw it, right?" Tavares says. "And she told me, ‘Well, you saw it before that. When I was seven months pregnant, I went to see Phantom... and you were kicking.’

"So I feel it’s been in my blood for a long time."

Indeed, Tavares’s unique education seemed to prepare her for the specific challenges of playing Christine, the young woman who finds herself caught in a battle between the mysterious, obsessive Phantom (Derrick Davis) who haunts the venue, and her childhood chum Raoul (Jordan Craig), who wants to marry her in defiance of the Phantom’s dangerous will.

Bear in mind: Christine is pulled from the ranks of the Paris company’s corps de ballet to take the lead in the opera vacated by the temperamental diva Carlotta (Trista Moldovan). Hence the role requires not just a triple threat, but a classical triple threat.

"I actually started as a dancer," she says, understating the years she spent in training from the age of two and a half.

"I’m actually doing the show en pointe with the proper shoes and all that."

She also began studying opera when she was 14.

"I did my undergrad in opera performance at UBC Opera, and I graduated in 2014," she says, acknowledging classical opera singing is performed with some contemporary tweaking in the musical. It’s written into the character, she says.

"The Phantom comes and brings her voice to a place where it’s more mature and able to sing but it’s not the trained operatic sound that Carlotta has," she says. "I have a lighter voice to begin with," she says of her high, light coloratura soprano.

"I often play small children and fairies."

Matthew Murphy</p><p>As Christine, Eva Tavares finds herself in the middle of a battle between Derrick Davis’ Phantom and a childhood friend.</p>

Matthew Murphy

As Christine, Eva Tavares finds herself in the middle of a battle between Derrick Davis’ Phantom and a childhood friend.

The role of Christine, suffice to say, is a much more mature one as the character comes between the Phantom and Raoul, but Tavares asserts Christine is no mere prize to be claimed by either the madman or the aristocrat.

"I don’t think she’s a victim at all," she says. "My take on her is that she has a lot of strength that maybe isn’t fully realized at the beginning of the show.

"But as she goes through struggle after struggle, and she’s having to stand up for herself and in the final layer, she’s fighting for her life, for Raoul’s life and she’s fighting for the connection she has with the Phantom.

"I think she’s one of the strongest characters in musical theatre rep, really," Tavares says. "She’s a fighter. It’s maybe not fully realized at the beginning, because she hasn’t had that struggle yet, but when she’s faced by it, she has to rise to the occasion, as we all do, when we’re faced with something like that.

"I feel that I can speak to that in my life as well."

Matthew Murphy</p><p>THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 5 - The Company performs Hannibal </p>

Matthew Murphy

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 5 - The Company performs Hannibal

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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