Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

The Phantom of the Opera US Tour: Reimagined or Ruined?

phantom-544

As most Phans know, there have been many changes to the US tour production of The Phantom of the Opera. No longer does the same version that’s shown on Broadway (thank God the original is still shown on Broadway) and that was originally designed by Maria Bjornson tour across the United States. Yes, it’s the same music, and the storyline is pretty much the same, but there have been some tweaks to some wording, movements, the set and so on.

Some Phans love the changes. Others hate it. I saw some YouTube videos of the changes and wasn’t too impressed with them. In fact, I hated them. Still, I was reserving my final verdict until I saw the “reimagined” version myself.

I bought my tickets months in advance when I found out the show was coming to TPAC in Nashville. In fact, I bought them the day they went on sale. I splurged and got front-row tickets for the 8 o’clock show for Friday night, November 2nd, 2018, so that I could see everything in minute detail. I looked forward to the day of the show with mixed feelings of anticipation and curious trepidation. I was excited because yay, it’s Phantom, but I was also cautious, wondering what to expect – if I would still leave the theater with that same sense of amazement I’d become accustomed to when seeing the show performed live.

The Verdict

I really liked the show. Of course, it had Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beautiful Phantom of the Opera score, so that immediately makes me really like it. The set was impressive, and all the performers had great voices.

However…

I cannot say that I just loved the show. It was a bit of a let-down for me. When I go to see the musical that I love most in the world, I should come out of the theater saying, “Wow! I loved it!” I couldn’t really do that this time. Sure, I liked it. I’ll even go so far as to say I really liked it, but I wasn’t just wowed, blown away, if you know what I mean?

I still had mixed feelings. Why did I feel this way? Because there were some changes that were okay and others that I absolutely hated.

What I Loved

I did love the new opulence of the managers’ office. That was quite a nice touch and really made their scenes come alive.

I also loved the way they made it appear as if it was actually snowing during the rooftop scene.

I loved the way we learned a bit more about the Phantom’s history with the gypsies from Raoul’s conversation with Madame Giry. (However, I didn’t like how she called him a monster because I’d always believed Madame Giry took pity on him and saw him as a genius.)

I loved Carlotta (played by Trista Moldovan). Her expressions were great. She was funny and played the diva perfectly. I also loved Piangi (played by Phumzile Sojola). He was a loveable character too.

Actually, these are really the only things that I totally loved about the reimagined production.

What I Hated

Get ready because this list will be way longer. Lol.

The Wigs

Okay, first of all, I absolutely hated the wigs. I know it seems like such a little thing, but to me, it’s one of those little things that makes a huge difference.

Let’s start with the Phantom. I do not like the messy wig with the hair that falls in his eyes. Yeah, I know that hair falling over a man’s forehead on one side is typically seen as sexy, but it doesn’t work for the Phantom. It simply doesn’t. He was soooo meticulous in his appearance. After being trapped in a dirty cage when he was imprisoned by the gypsies, it’s really not believable that he’d allow his wig to be anything less than meticulous either. I like the traditional slicked back wig. That makes him look more put-together and presents that powerful front that I believe the Phantom needed to present to enter his Phantom persona.

Next, are the girls’ wigs, Christine’s wig especially. What is up with the really loose curls and that half-bun updo? It looked horrible and totally was not in keeping with the Victorian era. I like the original wigs where the ballet dancers, including Christine, had those really long, down to their waist, ringlets. Perfect and pretty and no ugly half bun on their heads. Christine’s especially was bad because it was frizzy and just looked a mess. They modernized the wigs too much to make it look like the kind of hair that girls have today, but it’s important to remember that this story took place in the Victorian era – not in today’s world.

The Costumes

Some of the costumes were okay, but then others looked like something I would expect to see out of a high school or college production. The Phantom’s iconic Red Death costume, for instance. It was a lamentable mess. They tried too hard to reference the Red Death costume from the 2004 film, and it just ended up looking cheap to me.

Christine’s masquerade dress was also a bit lackluster. It seemed like it was missing some of the glitter, stars and other finer details that made it the beautiful costume that it’s known to be. Plus, she wasn’t wearing her beautiful masquerade boots, but rather, these little pink high heels.

The Set

I’ve got this listed under the what I hate section, but I really didn’t hate all these elements. Rather, I favored the original version more.

The masquerade scene. The masquerade scene was impressive. They did make it look like the convincing interior of the Paris Garnier. However, I miss the huge staircase that the performers danced down. It made a much bigger impact to me than the new set. The choreography was amazing when all the performers as an entire company danced down the steps in perfect synchronization. However, I will say that the end of the masquerade scene when the Phantom appears did make it possible for them to make a reference to the Phantom’s mirror torture chamber that the musical originally didn’t do.

The journey to the lair scene. I’ll admit. It was pretty cool how the steps came out of the huge revolving set and made it look like the Phantom was really leading Christine down the stairs of the Paris Opera House. And there was a boat. However, I really missed the candelabras coming up out of the floor and the misty lake complete with the portcullis. To me, that was one of the most magical scenes, but without those magic candelabras, the effect is rather lackluster.

The lair itself. The lair itself probably looked a bit more realistically like what the Phantom’s lair would have looked like. It had a real bed, a few candles, the organ, a stand of sheet music and other typical bedroom accessories. However, I missed that original look of the swan bed and because there was not portcullis, the final lair scene with the Phantom tying Raoul up was totally different. Plus, the Phantom is missing his iconic black throne chair, so that totally made the final lair scene different too.

The rooftop. The rooftop was changed to feature an impressive stature supposed to be Apollo’s Lyre, but I favor the original rooftop. Part of the reason for this is because I always loved how when the Phantom sings his reprise to All I Ask of You, he was on the beautiful golden angel that graced the top of the stage curtain. He’s not in this US Tour version. Instead, he’s on this statue on the stage. It’s not as powerful to me that way.

The graveyard scene. I don’t like the new Daae grave. I miss the old graveyard where the Phantom stood atop the mausoleum like a supernatural being and issued fire. Here, he was ground level prowling around the back of the grave.

Acting Changes

This is one of the most important sections for me because this directly affects the storyline. There weren’t a ton of acting changes, but there were enough that it affected and annoyed me.

First of all, I hate how much the Phantom manhandles Christine. It makes me think he’s abusive. Erik loved Christine and wouldn’t have physically hurt her that much had he been in his right mind. In the original production, he doesn’t throw her on the bed or violently push her down so much. It makes him out to be more of a villain than a sympathetic character, in my opinion.

I’m not crazy about how Christine doesn’t get to faint at the end of The Music of the Night. However, the Phantom does pick her up and carry her over to the bed and place her on it before she gently falls off to sleep, so that was okay.

I’m not crazy about the changes to Christine’s Think of Me aria. She usually dances around with a scarf the whole time. Now she doesn’t have the scarf for the first half of the song. A couple of ballet dancers come out mid-way and hand it to her and then dance in the background while she continues singing. The added ballet dancers are okay, but the omission of Christine’s normal dance routine with the scarf throughout the entirety of the song was annoying. The first half she’s just kind standing there singing with her arms looking odd not moving much.

The unmasking scene. Oh dear, the unmasking scene. Instead of Christine pulling his mask off, the Phantom already has his mask off while she’s sleeping. He doesn’t know she’s awakened, and she sneaks up and grabs it where it’s laying and runs off with it like a silly child. In doing so, she sees his face of course, which leads to disaster, but I so hated that change. In the original, he’d been playing his music, and she pulls it off from behind like she’s possibly entranced or hypnotized by his music or something. In this version, that is not a possibility. She was just a brat.

Speaking of Christine, her character just seemed a bit off to me. The actress was Emma Grimsley and her voice was great. However, the character in general (possibly because of all the changes) was annoying. Usually when I watch Phantom I feel that Christine did actually love him and she was afraid of that love. I didn’t get that this time. Rather, it was clear (especially in The Point of No Return by the way she noticeably nodded to Raoul and the gendarmes) that she was in complete control of her faculties and betraying the Phantom, that she was frightened of him and harbored no feelings of love. You couldn’t argue that she was under his hypnotic spell in this point of no return scene because she’s clearly just carrying out Raoul and the managers’ plan.

To take the matter further, she doesn’t even have the decency to hand him back his ring at the end of the final lair scene. That was always one of the most heartbreaking parts to me – when she gave him back the ring and he took it from her hand and held on to her hand as long as he could until she broke away and ran off crying. That didn’t happen in this one. She kind of sneaks up behind him with Raoul and watches him singing, Christine, I lo-o-ove you, and lays the ring on his organ and walks off with Raoul – no tears, nothing.

Speaking of tears, that was one of my biggest problems with this Phantom. Quentin Oliver Lee played the Phantom, and his voice was great, but it wasn’t quite dark enough for my taste. That being said, I think he did really well, but I didn’t like the way he didn’t exhibit the crying and brokenness that I expect from the Phantom after Christine chooses Raoul.

As far as Raoul goes, I wasn’t impressed with how pompous and arrogant his character was. Raoul is supposed to be sweet and kind of like a puppy dog. He seemed a little too smug for my taste in this version, especially when he supposedly punched the Phantom in the graveyard scene. Come on, really? Do you really think the Phantom would have allowed Raoul to get close enough to him to punch him? That part was totally unbelievable and laughable. The Phantom was agile and great at disappearing when he wanted to. To allow Raoul to appear to best him was insulting to his character.

There was a point where Christine even slapped Raoul. I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I’m like, “You go, Christine. Stand up for yourself.” On the other, it seemed so out of character for Christine’s young, naive, sweet little disposition.

And even more about Christine…her point of no return…she gets up on the table and is dancing during her part of the song. She looks like a stripper or something, and it was just totally bizarre. I liked the original choreography better where she’s standing behind the Phantom and their fingers entwine and rub along his body. It’s much more sensual to me that way. This way was just kind of trashy looking and, again, seemed totally out of character for Christine.

I mentioned before how the lair was missing the black throne, so naturally the Phantom doesn’t disappear that way. Instead, Meg grabs his standing cloak and he’s gone, his mask on the floor. It wasn’t too bad a change, but I missed the throne. It totally affected the Phantom’s performance in the final lair scene. I liked the way he used to sit on the throne in his anger.

Word Changes

There weren’t too many very noticeable word changes in the songs. The only one I really noticed was in Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. Instead of singing

Passing bells and sculpted angels
Cold and monumental
Seem for you the wrong companions
You were warm and gentle”

Christine sings

“Three long years I knelt in silence
Held your memory near me
Three long years of murmured sorrows
Willing you to hear me”

This word change doesn’t really bug me too much. However, it does make Christine more assertive in her realization that her father let her down, which could also be seen as a bit out of character for her.

Why the Changes?

Like many Phans, I wondered why would they change something that’s been doing so well for 30 years now. In short, I think they wanted to “reimagine” it for a modern audience and appeal to all those Phans of the 2004 film more. Many of the new changes made me think of the film, and while I’m a huge fan of the film, I didn’t like seeing all those changes to what I’d come to love about the stage version.

Also, I bought a souvenir program (of course), and it stated in there that they were seeking a set and props that would be more practical for touring. I had heard of many technical malfunctions with the original boat and the candelabras during previous tours, so maybe some of these changes were done to help eliminate the possibility of that kind of stuff happening as much.

As far as some of the choreography changes, maybe some of that is due to the stress that it puts on the performers. Maybe some things were simplified to make it easier on them. That’s just my speculation, though.

Overall Impression

Again, even after writing all that out, I can say that I really liked the production. I still got tingles when the overture came on. The music and lyrics were still amazingly beautiful. However, I didn’t get tears in my eyes during the final lair scene, and if asked who my favorite character was, I’d have to say Carlotta. Those two facts alone let me know that something is wrong (for me anyway).

I will admit that I do think I’m just spoiled to the original version and the Vegas version. My dad (who isn’t really into musical theater) and grandmother (who’d never seen Phantom) both loved it, so ultimately the show must have done what it was supposed to do. We had great seats too and could see everything in exquisite detail, so that certainly didn’t harm anything. I also think that had I not already been acquainted with the former version, I would have loved this one. As it is, I am very glad I got to see it. The performance was great, even if it wasn’t what I expected, but I do miss the original version and wish that the US Tour would go back to the way it was.

Have you seen the reimagined US Tour? If so, what are your thoughts?

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Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

#Valentine #eBook #Bargain – Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes

For all my phriends who haven’t read Sharon’s novels yet, now is the perfect time to do so. Check out her Valentine’s week special! You can get three Phantom books for less than the price of one in her Omnibus edition! (which is marvelous, by the way).

Sharon E. Cathcart

PrintHello, everyone.  For Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras week, I’m offering the eBook version of my omnibus, Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes, for $2.50 USD with coupon at Smashwords.  For less than the price of one of the novels, you’ll get In The Eye of The Beholder, In The Eye of The Storm (Silver Medal, Global eBook Awards), and Through the Opera Glass (Runner-up, eFestival of Words), as well as historical notes and glossaries created just for this book.

Just visit the link below, enter coupon WF95F at check-out, select the format that suits your reader, and enjoy!

Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes

This coupon expires February 17, 2018, so be sure to take advantage.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

Sample Saturday: In The Eye of The Beholder

For those of you looking for a phantastic Phantom read, check out Sharon E. Cathcart’s book. Below is a sample to give you an idea of her writing style. Concise and full of rich imagery.

Sharon E. Cathcart

25908261I looked longingly at a window display: a beautiful evening gown in sapphire moiré bengaline with a deep bertha neckline. I lifted its hem and examined the stitching, wishing I had use for such a piece. Not only was the price out of my reach, but I had no opportunity for dining out or attending the theatre. I sighed wistfully and returned to the carriage with my small package of ribbon, stockings, and so on.

“I saw you admire the gown in the window,” Erik’s voice came from the darkened carriage; he had drawn the curtains lest he be seen. When I closed the door after entering, there was no light at all.

“It is beautiful,” I admitted. “But I’ve no need for a dress of that nature; I haven’t the opportunities to wear such a gown.”

“You like beautiful things,” he whispered.

“Of course,” I responded in surprise. “Most…

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Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

Light in the Darkness

As many of you know, I’ve begun writing a poem a day and publishing them on my author site: Kayla Lowe Author Site

Today I felt like writing another Phantom-inspired poem, and, of course, I had to include it here on this site as well for all my Phamily and Phriends. (For those of you who have a FanFiction.net account or simply happen to read fan fiction on there, my Phantom of the Opera-inspired poetry is on there as well: Phantom’s Rose on FanFiction.net

Alas, here is today’s Phantom poem:

poem

As always, please feel free to leave comments, thoughts and questions below, and if you have any of your own Phantom poetry to share, please feel free to do so!

Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

Phantom Poetry

Hello fellow Phans! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog, and for that I apologize. Intellectual and creative pursuits have had me quite busy. I’m sure Erik would understand. *wink*

I recently wrote a couple of Phantom-inspired poems and thought I’d share them with y’all. You can also find them on my Fanfiction.net profile here: Phantom’s Rose on FanFiction.net

By the way, if you’re ever in the mood to read some Phanfics, there’s plenty of great Phantom stories on FanFiction.net. From fluff to more serious writings, there’s something for whatever type of mood you’re in. Plus, it’s free! While I love to read published Phantom works, much of the free stuff on fan fiction sites is just as good, if not better in some cases.

Alas, here are the poems, and here’s to hoping you enjoy them as much as I did writing them!

poem

As always, please feel free to leave any comments and share any Phantom poetry or stories that you’ve written.

Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

National I Want You to Be Happy Day: As Illuminated by the Phantom

Today is National I Want You to Be Happy Day, and I thought it would be interesting to explore how this day applies to the Phantom of the Opera. While I Want You to Be Happy Day is a modern national day that is supposed be celebrated by simply showing acts of kindness that make other people happy, I’m going beyond that scope in exploring how the phrase, “I want you to be happy” applies to the Phantom of the Opera.

The truest form of love is that which puts the other individual’s wants and needs above one’s own, which is precisely what Erik, the infamous Phantom of the Opera, did in the end. While he might have been depicted as a moral-less monster throughout the majority of the musical (even going so far as to commit murder in the name of love over his obsession with Christine), in the end, he put Christine’s own happiness above his own in a redeeming act that showcased his true love for her.

As is depicted in the picture featured with this blog post, releasing Christine to go marry her Vicomte, Raoul, brought the Phantom great pain and devastation. However, he did it anyways because he couldn’t bear the thought of entrapping Christine and holding her against her will. She undoubtedly would have come to resent him, I daresay even hate him, had he done so, and I believe that by putting her happiness first, he displayed the true extent of his love for his protegee…

Which brings me to this question: How many of us can truly say that we want someone else to be happy so much that we would voluntarily inflict such emotional pain and devastation on our souls? Does true love like that really exist? As always, please feel free to comment your thoughts below.

 

Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

The Phantom's Birthday

Those Phans who have delved deeper into the tale of The Phantom of the Opera by reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, Susan Kay’s retelling or countless other retellings have probably discovered the fact that Erik, the infamous Phantom of the Opera, never knew his birthday. Although he had a general idea of his age, he never knew the actual date of his birth since it wasn’t an event that his parents chose to celebrate. Believing him to be some sort of demon or monster, they chose to cover his face with a burlap sack and pretend that he didn’t exist rather than acknowledge his existence–much less his birthday.

Although the specifics of Erik’s life leading up to the time he came to live in the bowels of the Paris Opera House are highly debatable and varied (depending upon which book you read), a general consensus among authors seems to be that among all the other basic human rights that the Phantom was denied, knowing the date of his birth was one.

In light of this fact, as I stumbled across an image that depicted the old English nursery rhyme, Monday’s Child, I couldn’t help but think of our poor Erik. Although the text consists of a silly little poem that most of us have heard recited at some point in our lives, and I don’t put much stock in such superstition, I thought it’d be interesting to indulge the fancy for the sake of deriving some sort of birth date for our beloved Erik.

First, let’s look at the rhyme as a whole, and then we’ll break it down into sections:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child works hard for a living,
Saturday’s child is loving and giving,
and the child that is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Monday’s Child

Monday’s child is fair of face

Monday’s child is supposedly “fair of face,” so if we’re trying to determine the day of Erik’s birth based upon this poem (which we are for the sake of this article), then we can already eliminate Monday since the Phantom certainly wasn’t “fair of face.” Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I believe that we can all agree that the Phantom wasn’t beautiful in the traditional sense of the word, so moving on…

Tuesday’s Child

Tuesday’s child is full of grace

This one has possibilities since the Phantom was known for his graceful, feline movements. The unfurling of his hand, the way he seemed to glide with cat-like grace and the way each of his movements seemed to be in tune with a symphony of his own are all evidence of his gracefulness in the physical sense.

However, the term “grace” has two definitions. The first (which we’ve already discussed) refers to an elegance or refinement of movement. The second, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries refers to having God’s favor, which can be seen through the bestowal of blessings.

While initially we might discount Tuesday when we learn of the second definition, if we delve further, it, too, can apply to the Phantom. Although the Phantom was born with a disfigurement, he was also bestowed with certain blessings that others don’t have, such as his musical genius, superior intellect and general capacity for skill in numerous areas. Therefore, Tuesday could be a contender for the day of the week upon which the Phantom was born. Moving on, though…

Wednesday’s Child

Wednesday’s child is full of woe

This one is pretty self-explanatory, and I think all Phans would agree that Wednesday is definitely a possibility for the day of the week that Erik was born on since the Phantom’s day were certainly full of woe. Not only was he abused and neglected as a child, but he was shunned from society and denied human kindness. Forced into exile, he resided alone in the underground of the Paris Opera House. His life consisted of murder, stealth and all other manner of sin just to survive, and when he finally did find love in his protegee, Christine Daae, that love was unrequited when she chose to leave with the Vicomte de Chagny instead of staying with him. Yes, I think we can all certainly agree that the Phantom’s days were full of woe..

Thursday’s Child

Thursday’s child has far to go

This one is a bit tricky since “far to go” can have both positive and negative connotations. In the traditional sense, “far to go” generally meant that one would have a long, successful life without limitations. However, a more modern definition of “far to go” points to the likelihood that one will have many obstacles to overcome on his or her journey.

Depending upon which definition you choose to reference, I believe that Thursday could fit the Phantom as well. Erik’s numerous scores and musical compositions would certainly attest to his success as a composer, artist and musician. However, that success is not without limitations since no one could ever hear them.

In reference to the second definition, the Phantom definitely had his share of obstacles. I daresay he had many more than the average person throughout his lifetime.

Friday’s Child

Friday’s child is loving and giving

This is another one that depends upon one’s perception of Erik. As far as the rest of society was concerned, Erik was not loving and giving to the human race that had never shown him any compassion. However, to Christine, he was more than willing to love and give her anything that her heart desired. Therefore, there is a slight possibility that he could have been born on a Friday.

Saturday’s Child

Saturday’s child works hard for a living

This is another one that is pretty self-explanatory, but the question is, Did Erik work hard for a living? I am inclined to say no. Although I’m sure it was difficult to get all the provisions that he needed down in the depths of the Opera House, the Phantom did not work for his pay. Instead, he extorted money from the managers of the Opera Populaire, which I suppose could be hard work since he had to keep up his Opera Ghost persona, but for the sake of what I believe “works hard for a living” to mean in this context, I’ll still say that no, the Phantom did not work hard for a living.

Sunday’s Child

and the child that is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Like Monday, I believe that we can eliminate Sunday from the possibilities for the day of the week upon which Erik was born. “Bonny and blithe, and good and gay” do not, in any sense, describe the Phantom. Instead, he was said to be quite moody, ill-tempered and very rarely good or gay.

Verdict

So what day of the week was the Phantom of the Opera born on? After evaluating the possible meanings of each day of the week via this well-known nursery rhyme, I’m inclined to say that Erik was born on a Wednesday. Although I believe that aspects of Tuesday’s child and Thursday’s child can apply to him, I feel that Wednesday most aptly sums up the Phantom’s days.

What do you think? What day of the week do you believe the Phantom of the Opera could have been born on? As always, please feel free to comment your thoughts below, and cast your vote for which day you believe Erik was born on by taking the poll below.

Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

Inspire Your Heart with Art with The Phantom of the Opera

Today’s Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, and what better way to inspire your heart with art than with the Phantom of the Opera. According to Merriam-Webster, art is defined as the following:

  1. 1:  skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>

  2. 2a :  a branch of learning: (1) :  one of the humanities (2) arts plural :  liberal artsb archaic :  learning, scholarship

  3. 3:  an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>

  4. 4a :  the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects <the art of painting landscapes>; also :  works so produced <a gallery for modern art>b (1) :  fine arts (2) :  one of the fine arts (3) :  one of the graphic arts

  5. 5a archaic :  a skillful planb :  the quality or state of being artful (see artful 2a)

  6. 6:  decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re referring to definition 4a. If we’re going by this definition, then we can infer that art constitutes not only paintings, sculptures and other visual arts, but anything else that requires the “conscious use of skill and creative imagination.” This includes writings like novels and poems as well as music. Even movies are a form of art: cinematic art.

Whether we consciously realize it or not, we are surrounded by art every day, so finding a way to celebrate this national holiday shouldn’t be too difficult. As a Phan, I happily choose to celebrate it via Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the OperaThe Phantom of the Opera is infused with art in all its forms. Not only can we witness the art of the cinema in the 2004 film adaptation (or any of the film adaptations for that matter), but we can also see a bit of traditional art as well in the film (as is evidenced in the screencap featured with the title of this article).

The Phantom’s mask is a form of sculptural art while the costumes are another form of visual art. Gaston Leroux’s original novel that inspired the numerous adaptations that exist today is a form of written art as are the many Phantom-inspired novels that have taken form, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world-renowned stage musical is certainly a form of performance art.

 

Lastly, we must not forget the music, which in itself is perhaps the most alluring form of art throughout the entire stage and movie productions. It is the music that speaks to the hearts of Phans as it leaves the melodies resounding in their heads long after the show has ended.

 

No matter what your favorite version of The Phantom of the Opera is, today is the perfect day to take a moment to pay homage to all the creative skill and artistic development that went into shaping this classic tale throughout the years.

What’s your favorite form of art manifested in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of The Phantom of the Opera? You may base your answers on the film or stage version. Although I love the costumes and scenery in both the film and stage productions, I think I must go with the  music. Without the music, it wouldn’t be the beloved tale that it is today, in my humble opinion, that is.

As always, please feel free to comment below and to participate in today’s Phan poll!

Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

The Phantom: Villain or Tragic Hero?

*The 2004 film version is the version referenced for the purpose of this article.*

The Phantom is a unique character in that not only is he the antagonist of his tale but he’s also the protagonist. This brings to mind the question:

Is the Phantom the villain, or is he a tragic hero? 

Oftentimes, the villains in films and books are clear-cut and leave viewers and readers, respectively, with no doubt as to whom to hate. However, the Phantom isn’t your traditional villain. He’s not the villain that we love to hate. Instead, he inspires great sympathy in many.

Yes, the Phantom committed murder, he blackmailed the managers of the Opera Populaire into giving in to his every whim and he kidnapped Christine by whisking her off the stage during the performance of his opera, Don Juan Triumphant. While murder, blackmail and kidnapping are all morally wrong, when we learn the reasons behind why he committed such acts, we are filled with a sense of compassion and justification (at least I am anyways).

Everything that the Phantom did he did in the name of love. Of course, that does not excuse his inexcusable acts because we can’t simply state that we love someone to justify our bad deeds. However, there’s another significant piece to the Phantom’s story that causes us to “want” to justify his morally wrong actions: his deformity.

Lack of Moral Teaching

Because of the Phantom’s deformity, he was never shown love and kindness from another human being. With such a hideous face, he was an outcast, exiled from the rest of the world. He lived most of his life in the bowels of the Opera Populaire, isolated from the rest of humanity. As such, he wasn’t necessarily taught right from wrong and wasn’t exposed to the same moral lessons that the rest of mankind was. He lived vicariously through the lives of others by spying on those within the opera house, and he always had to fend for himself, surviving like an animal.

The Light in His Darkness

Naturally, when he made a connection with Christine Daae, his protege soon became more to him than simply a student. She was the only tie that he had with the rest of humanity, and we must remember that he was just a man and had the same wants and desires as other men. Not only was Christine physically beautiful, but she mirrored that beauty in her angelic voice. It’s easy to imagine how she became the focal point and sole light in his universe, morphing into his obsession.

Desires of a Mortal Man

The Phantom also yearned for love and acceptance (as do all of us in some form or fashion), so when he was faced with the possibility of losing Christine to the young, handsome and charming Raoul and never gaining her love, his obsession progressed into a mad, desperate attempt to keep her.

The Sting of Betrayal

Every action he took was in order to forestall the eventuality of losing her to the Vicomte de Chagny. While the Phantom certainly cuts a frightening figure when strangling Joseph Buquet, he also makes a heart-wrenching and tragic one when viewers witness his pain at hearing and witnessing Christine’s betrayal atop the rooftop of the Paris Opera House. He inspires sympathy with his broken heart and leaves viewers feeling like he was betrayed even though Christine hadn’t previously pledged her love to him. In his mind, Christine was his. He had spent years tutoring her, readying her to take her place as prima donna within his domain.

Obsession Vs. Love

Obviously, all these actions that the Phantom takes are a manifestation of his obsession with Christine rather than his love for her. No matter how much we, as viewers, would like to believe otherwise, we must reconcile ourselves with the fact that his actions were not actually born out of love because true love doesn’t bring about such chaos. Does this mean that the Phantom didn’t truly love his Christine? I think not. I do believe that the Phantom loved Christine but that his obsession overshadowed his love for a time.

Redemption

This can be seen at the end of the film when the Phantom, despite all the horrible deeds he’d committed in order to keep Christine with him, broken, choose to let her go with the Vicomte. Although we know that it must have taken every ounce of strength he had in him, he allowed Christine to leave with her young lover after she illuminated to him what true love really is with her willing sacrifice to marry him in order to save Raoul’s life. Christine’s willing kisses overwhelmed him and left him unable to impose upon her happiness. Like many viewers, I like to believe that the Phantom underwent a redemption that allowed him to show his true love for Christine in letting his desire for her happiness outweigh his own. It’s this one final act that truly proves his goodness of heart and leaves many viewers believing him to be a tragic hero rather than the villain that he is originally portrayed as.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe the Phantom is a villain or tragic hero? As always, please feel free to comment below, and vote.

Posted in Miscellaneous Phantom, The Phantom's Lair

Phantom Phonics: Do You Support Phan Lingo?

Some die-hard fans of The Phantom of the Opera have lovingly dubbed themselves “Phans” in honor of the Phantom that they love so much. It’s a wordplay on the phonetics of the word “fan,” and while some people (like myself) love the wordplay and find it witty, others hate it and find it silly.

Those of us who enjoy it oftentimes find ourselves playing on the word, “phantom,” as much as we can. For instance, some of the terms that you’re likely to find Phans using include the following:

  • Phangoddess (a goddess of all things POTO-related)
  • Phantomesque (referring to anything that’s particularly Phantom-related)
  • Phantastic (a play on the word, “fantastic”)
  • Phabulous (similar to the above, a play on the word, “fabulous”)
  • Phantomas (a play on the Christmas holiday)

Basically, anywhere where Phans can insert the “Phan” or “Phantom” prefixes and have the meanings and phonics still make sense, they will.

Part of the reason why I love the Phan lingo so much is because it sets us as fans of The Phantom of the Opera apart from all other fans. Anyone can be a fan of something, but only fans of The Phantom of the Opera can be Phans. It’s something extra special that we can all share in, in my opinion, and it also provides us with a sense of unity. For example, once I found out someone calls himself or herself a “Phan,” I instantly know that he or she is a lover of one or more versions of the classic tale. As such, I feel an instant affinity with the person.

Regardless of whether or not you like the term, it seems that Phan lingo is here to stay. I, for one, do not plan on discontinuing use of it any time soon.

Which side of the debate do you identify with? Do you support the Phan wordplay or not? As always, please feel free to post your comments and thoughts below.