What is the ultimate proof of the fact that a work of art has won global fame? Well, here it is - "Love Never Dies," the latest musical by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, has topped sales charts at key music stores in China. Local CD versions feature the key aria in Chinese, performed by famous soprano Zhang Lipin.
If the musical has "conquered" China, this means it has also "conquered" the world. At the same time, everyone takes for granted the fact that the musical, or should that be opera, has been running successfully at the London-based Adelphi Theatre since March.
Three aspects of the musical's triumph are quite interesting. First of all, this is an amazing achievement in an extremely difficult situation, and it is one with which all artists, be they poets, musicians or actors, are familiar: having to conquer themselves.
What can you do if you are Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton, the man who has won every conceivable music prize, who shot to fame after writing his musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1970, and who ranks 101st in the UK in terms of his wealth, which is estimated at 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion)?
Even if we overlook his money and fancy titles, and assume that he is just a musician and composer who has written such masterpieces as "Cats," "Evita" and "The Phantom of the Opera," these still seem like unbeatable landmark achievements. In addition, there is always the fear that people will say that the great Andrew Lloyd Weber is sliding downhill. Hasn't he reached the top and has nowhere to go but down? Wouldn't it be better to tell yourself that you have it all, and say a final farewell to your work and life?
The composer was not scared and did the most incredible and dangerous thing in this situation. He wrote "Love Never Dies," a sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera," featuring Christine, Raoul and the Phantom. This time around, the action switches to a fear-filled, macabre and gothic Coney Island, New York, amusement park, where it is hard to tell the difference between a doll, a live freak or the real Phantom, ten years after the events at the Paris Opera.