San Diego outdoors: Aida, animal tracks, rugby, SUP with dogs, 1800s Old Town, waterski and wakeboard
Indoors: WWI San Diego, complete history of theater, Christopher Plummer, pickles, Van Gogh-Gaughin, Martina McBride
11:50 a.m., June 28
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical combines echoes of Puccini and Meyerbeer with, on occasion, thumping, discolike drums, which could be one reason why the critical vanguard took such offense in 1986. The huge, spectacle-rich musical was trying, and in their eyes failing, to be opera. Phantom found its niche and audience, however, as a populist opera, still running after all these years, and still adored (hope, if you see it, that the people next to you - impervious to heated "shushes" and "would you please!"-es - don't crow the entire score from memory). Although the famous falling chandelier makes, at best, a blithe glissando down to the stage, the current touring show hasn't skimped on production values. Massive sets fly and wheel in, and the 36-person cast always sports opulent finery. Richard Todd Adams, as the half-masked Phantom, and Greg Mills, as romantic lead Raoul, boast booming voices (Adams has the vulnerability and nuances that made Michael Crawford's original so popular). And Marni Raab, who plays Christine, sings with crystal clarity and force (there are times, as during "Wishing You Were Here Again," when you're certain she's giving 100 percent; then she doubles it). At the Civic, the production resembles opera in one respect: if you're seated from the middle on back, the tinny sound system blurs words, the louder the blurrier - and it's like watching an opera in a foreign language.