Even in the age of "untact," I assumed the last thing to give up "contact" would be the performing arts. The thought still remains unchanged. [...]
However, the times being what they are, at-home audiences are on the rise. At first, snippets of live performances were offered free through live streams. Half a year into the pandemic, these types of live streams have entrenched themselves deeper into our daily lives, perhaps even taking shape as a new category of performing arts. Avid theatre-lovers seem to be welcoming this content, as they tend to want to rewatch favorite scenes and even own them if possible (so far, live streams are available for limited time period and not downloadable) Fans like them even hope for DVDs.
What is it like to watch one of these live streams? Probably exactly like the viewing experience you had if you ever watched a musical on Youtube or DVD. The sound and video quality varies widely depending on the equipment and you will be rendered passive viewers to the director's choice of camera angles. It is an entirely different experience compared to catching a live show and leaves much to be wanted; however, for students, office workers or parents with children previously limited by work, children or geographic and financial reasons, these live streams were a welcome relief. In this sense, Kim Junsu's "Mozart" a.k.a. Xiazart (Xia Junsu + Mozart) became a ray of light for musical theatre enthusiasts. For one, Kim's energy and vocal prowess make him tailor-made to play the free-spirited but at times childlike musician, Mozart. Also, he has matured over the years and there is a difference to his stage presence. He's become cheekier and more natural, an even better fit for the character. When Kim finds a character that suits him well, he has the ability to make one think there could be no other actor to play it better than him. Of course, the other casts playing Mozart execute it with their own flair, transforming the same musical into what feels like a different production.
The close-ups of Kim's sweat-drenched face speak for the impassioned performance he is giving. Not only are his expressions rich and varied, he also knows how to move on stage, something that might be expected given his idol background. Even when he's pretending to play the piano, he syncs his fingers to the music (a detail, if missing, would lessen the viewer's immersion). Kim also has great projection when delivering his lines.
His characteristic sharp and raspy voice helps bring the character's inner turmoil to the surface. The camera failed, however, to capture the chemistry he shared with little Mozart as it was most likely difficult to have the two actors in one frame in addition to the fact that little [Amade's] acting was not shown much.
The musical also veers more towards showing the dark and lonely inner life of Mozart and the struggle with his father than the opulent and glamorous court life he also enjoyed. This could be a page taken from the current educational dilemma parents face in Korea. Leopold's obsession with his son and their twisted relationship is enough to make one jump on stage and interfere. The tragic side to how the family saga ends leaves a lasting heartache but 'Mozart!' still delivers on high belted notes and dance scenes. With a live stream, you are free to jump up and applaud at any number you like, sing or even dance along. Watching a show in any manner you fancy from your own VVVIP seat does not seem like a bad way to spend the long weekend holidays.