Sunday, 2 December 2012

Off the Shelves: Ramin Karimloo's Character Interpretation

For all of you who think that I like him because he is handsome (and yes of course, he is), let me tell you that the first time I saw him and liked him was when he sang Phantom of the Opera, as Phantom, masked, and later, ugly; love at the first glance scenario doesn't apply here.

Actually, I have only watched him playing two different roles, although he has played more. My contact with the other side of the world is limited, so let's just leave it there. Those different roles are Phantom and Enjolras, in Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, and Les Miserables. I immensely enjoy his performances and one reason is because I like his character interpretations.

For me personally, character interpretation is one of the most important things in any theatrical production, musical or not. It is also very interesting, because every actor has different interpretations of characters personalities, not mentioning the interpretations of the directors as well. The interpretation makes each theatrical production unique.

Let's first look at Ramin's interpretation of Phantom. I am impressed by his acting skill while playing the unstable self of Phantom. From the sweetness of Angel of Music and Wandering Child to the romantic and sexy Music of the Night, from the furious and scary first part of Stranger than You Dreamt It and Final Lair to the pitiful and pleading voice of their second parts, Ramin shows great varieties of voice colours, and puts much feeling in each line. There are times when I really want to hug Phantom when he plays the role.

Next, Enjolras. I watched Les Miserables musical only after I finished the novel, so I have already imagined the characters in my head before seeing any interpretation of them. For me, his Enjolras is a little bit too fiery compared to the character's description in the novel, but it's better than some other interpretations where Enjolras smiles too much. Instead, Ramin's Enjolras shows rage and excitement when he talks about revolution. After Grantaire's part of Drink with Me, Enjolras' face shows disapproval, but then he shows that he still loves his friend all the same. (Enjolras and Grantaire are two sides of a coin in the novel.)

Some might argue that Ramin's voice is not steady when he sings. As I said, he puts much feeling in every line that he sings. The emotion gets the better of his voice sometimes. But let us put it this way: even in films people don't talk properly when they play emotional parts. The same thing happens in musicals and even in opera. I am convinced that the voice is very important in both of them. But I must confess I don't really enjoy anything too musical. Besides, isn't it also important to make sure that the emotions of the character you play get into your audiences hearts?  

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