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The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

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The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

Post  magssdoc on Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:14 am

Another find in About.com site.
An excellent site for routing out ghost stories from around the world.
Larry Rivers has written about the ghosts in Melbourne.

It seems where ever you go in the world, if there is a theatre, there's a ghost and Melbourne is no exception.
This theatre was the site of the Australian premiere of the aptly named Phantom of the Opera (1990), and also the theatre that hosted it's third Australian season (2007)

The Princess Theatre is said to have it's own phantom, similar to the story line of the famous musical and book set in the Paris Opera.
The Theatre has also staged opera productions.
The phantom has been seen on several occasions and two incidents are mentioned in the article.

In 1888, during March a production of Gounod's Faust was being performed at the theatre which had a tragic ending.
The opera ends with Mephistopheles descending to the hell, dragging the Dr Faustus who sold his soul to the devil.

The part of Mephistopheles was being taken by the baritone Frederick Baker, his stage name Federici.
Unfortunately on March 3, as he was being lowered into hell, Federici suffered a heart attack and died.
Adding a tragic ending to an already very dramatic exit.

The cast, as is normal took it's bow to applause.
It is usual for bows to be taken in reverse order, allowing those in the last scene to catch their breath and compose themselves.
So usually chorus, male, female, (separately if a big production) bow, then junior principal singers followed by the lead artists.
With the Principal role singer, taking center stage for his bow before the whole company take a bow. The principal singers then take a bow with the company behind them before calling up the conductor and if present the composer of the piece.
I have put this in, in case anyone reading has never seen how this is done and thing it would be easy to assume someone has taken a bow when they haven't been there.

Now on the fated night the whole cast took a bow, only to be told that Federici had died, beneath their feet, and that was the reason for his not returning to the stage. This confused the cast because they had just taken their bow with Federici! Many stating 'He's just been on stage with us, taking a bow!'

Having sung amateur opera for many years I can tell you, there is nothing quite like a baritone's ego, they don't often get the girl or the big arias so beloved of the public, and I think by taking one last bow, Federici would ensure his name would be remember in that theatre if not forever but certainly in the stories that would grow and go with any production of Faust.

Come the 1970's, and a documentary was being filmed by Oscar winning director of the Mad Max films and animated film Happy Feet.
A photo was taken of the film set, only to reveal an 'ashen-faced, partly transparent observer.'
A person no one had seen on the set that day nor does he appear anywhere else except in that photograph.

A television program called Rewind broadcast on August 29 2004, on Australian Broadcasting Corporation discussing the ghost stories of the theatre.
The discussion took place between several people Rob Guest who had the lead in The Phantom's second season, a member of the family who owned the theatre Elaine Marriener, investigative journalists Christopher Zinn and Justin Murphy
It was presented by Michael Cathcart, a historian and author as well as a broadcaster.

A seat used to be left empty on opening night in the dress circle, allowing the ghost believed to be Federici, to use it during the production, as a sighting meant the production would do well.

Unfortunately, even in the theatre, modern business practises have ensured and the seat is now filled as an 'empty seat' means lost revenue.


The original post in this thread has been modified to prevent Copyright violation


Last edited by magssdoc on Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:54 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

Post  Mel_Kim on Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:04 pm

Is it Dury Lane that also the ghost is seen if the show is going to be a hit? As for leaving the seat empty for the ghost I wonder how long ago they stoped doing that and I wonder if its common knowledge which seat it is and therefore peps saying I dont want the haunted seat.
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Re: The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

Post  magssdoc on Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:29 am

Mel, I've been to Drury lane several times, all before I knew the story of the man who sits in that seat in the circle, but I tell you there is something in the upper circle too.
I have never fidgetted so much in the theatre and my friend even commented on it.
As usually I am one of those who will not move in her seat out of respect to those on stage.

I am not surprised that there are so many stories about ghosts in theatres, if you have ever been in an empty theatre, it is very creepy. I know that when I used to open up the one we used in Northumberland Avenue, I would rush through the men's dressing room unlocking the doors at each end, but I would not stand at the bottom of the stairs leading to the stage and open that door, I would go back to the audiotoruim and into the theatre itself and open the doors that way. bigredgrin
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Re: The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

Post  Mel_Kim on Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:42 am

Mags I would love to go around Dury Lane I onced asked if I could have a quick look in the Albert Hall and they said no they only way was to buy a ticket for a show there but was only there for the day. I have only been to one west end show and that was last year to see Les Mis at the Queens Theatre which was fab. When we used to live an hour away by train we only used to go there for the day so never stayed to see the shows I do hope to go and see more once back is better. They had a production only on for a while of West Side Story I would have gone but back was not up to it etc. As for them being spooky places I bet they are and I can understand why they are haunted when you think not only was it a place of work but enjoyment and happy and sad times and acting gives off strong emotions which must soak into the place. I remember when at the Tower of London and the Yeoman guard telling me that most of the ghosts seen and heard the most is in the upstairs of the White Tower where they used to be Mess Halls he said you can understand them wanting to come back as they must have had happy times where as down in the basement where the torture chambers were you dont get hardly any activity.
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Re: The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

Post  magssdoc on Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:52 am

Mel, I attended an evening production of Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Yeoman of the Guard' which was held in the moad of the Tower, with the Tower as the back drop to the stage. It was very atmospheric, but there were times when I felt there was 'something' looking down onto the stage from the battlements
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Re: The Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia

Post  Mel_Kim on Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:21 am

Mags how lovely must that have been something to remember always what a fab setting. I am not suprised you sensed something watching I bet there were lots of spirits watching that night.
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