Phantom of the Opera
The world premier of the above musical took place in London at Her Majesties Theatre in 1986.
The Opening of Act 11 was the famous Bal de Masque that takes place on the grand staircase of the Palais Gardiner, or Paris Opera House. I used the film still I had in my own collection of Lon Chaney as the Phantom in the 1925 silent film.
The mask is larger than life size as originally the Phantom was going to come down the staircase on stilts. Although the stilts were cut the mask was not altered.
The liner of the mask was originally cast on each new artist playing the Phantom. A space had to be made to accommodate the microphone. The first part of the dialogue was on a click track (recorded) but the last bit was spoken. It was not taken off during the action but the jaw was articulated and made the mask very animated.
The old mask displayed shows how rough the treatment of such things can be. Sweat and make-up make the inside degrade and the light structure of the mask can be damaged by constant use. Construction: Tarlatan and starch, lacquered.