Tuesday, October 13, 2015

[Phantom of the Opera] AVM Blog Party -- Day One.

Your Favorite Musical. 

Today I get to blog about my absolute favorite musical. I think you all saw this one coming.

Sing once again with me, our strange duet.

I think that no matter how many musicals I listen to and how many I fall in love with, I will always resort back to The Phantom of the Opera. One of my earliest memories, and I mean earliest is singing along with Christine Daae. The Original Broadway Cast is my favorite, it will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first cast I heard and I personally think they nailed their roles.

"Angel of Music, Guide and Guardian, Grant to Me your Glory!
Angel of Music, Hide no longer! Come to me strange Angel..."

"I am your Angel of Music. Come to me, Angel of Music."

The Phantom of The Opera is a very odd, kind of frightening story. I am not sure what it would be like to be introduced to it now. I'm sure I would like the music, and I know I would still like Raoul (because Raoul is fabulous) but I don't know if I'd actually like the story. It is weird. It is about this young chorus girl (Christine) who thinks the Angel of Music is teaching her how to sing. She thinks this Angel was sent by her Father after his death. Christine is very young - only about twenty or so - and her father died when she was like, sixteen or seventeen. It hit her hard, and to be visited by an angel from her father was a big comfort to her

"The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside my mind..."

Come to find out this so-called Angel is actually a crazy, dysfunctional man, 20+ years older than Christine who has this burning obsession with her since she came to the opera house. The musical isn't clear on the timeline, but I think Christine came to the Opera House when she was about Ten. It couldn't have been long after that the Phantom found her and decided she was the one. He hides in her walls and sings to her while she sleeps. He lives under the Opera House and makes paths to his lair behind her Mirror. He full on stalks this poor chorus girl, brainwashes her into thinking he is the Angel that was promised to her, and lurks creepily out of sight, teaching her to sing for his music. It's. Weird. And creepy. And really disturbing, especially because, at least in the beginning, Christine trusts the Phantom and actually believes that he is from heaven.

"That voice which calls to me, and speaks my name."
Poor Brainwashed child.

So what exactly do I love about the Phantom of the Opera?

A big reason why I love Phantom so much is because it is the Musical I grew up on. A lot of really good memories are linked to it and it makes me feel happy and excited. Another reason is, I really, really love the characters, the cast and the amount of emotion that comes through in that story. Christine is young and naive but she is also strong, and I love that about her. Raoul is so incredibly fabulous. He shows up at the Opera House and he remembers Christine instantly. She was the little girl he used to play with, the little girl he had a real thing for. He obviously still had a thing for her, and she fancied him too, and it was adorable. He was so protective. - Anyway, more on that later. I love the music in Phantom. It sweeps you off your feet and it transports you right into the story. The lyrics are beautiful. the characters are layered and complicated. The whole story is original and fascinating and unlike anything you will ever hear again.

Because you can't do a Phantom post without some kind of Christine x Raoul gif

Andrew Lloyde Webber really is a master of music. (even if he has done things I don't approve of.) He wove together a strange story with beautiful, enchanting music so that you can't help but get a thrill from seeing the Chandelier rise as the Overture blasts all around you. Even you don't see the Chandelier rise, the music is so perfect that you can practically feel it rising. It is such a wonderful thing to experience. It is one of the very few musicals where I will listen to the whole four minutes of just Overture because, THE OVERTURE. 

Perhaps we may frighten away the Ghost of so many years ago
 with a little illumination! Gentleman!

What I also really love about Phantom is the depth all characters have, Christine has a strange trust, almost an infatuation, with "The Angel of Music." She thinks he is her guardian, someone her father sent to protect and teach her. At the same time she is also afraid of him, something that is very clear almost from the beginning. Then there is Raoul, who is young and gentle, but fierce and even reckless when it comes to protecting Christine. Literally the best part of the whole Musical is the love story between Raoul and Christine. THEY ARE SO CUTE! The Phantom himself is a very sad, mysterious character. He is this broken man, a genius through and through, who heard Christine's voice and fell in love with it - and then with her. If you can say nothing else for The Phantom, he did really care for Christine. He never took advantage of her and, up until the Final Lair, he never physically hurt her. He tried to be his best when she was around. She was his saving grace, the one thing in all the world that he really loved.When he gave her up, that was his redemption. (That is why LND is so horrible. It didn't just ruin Raoul. It ruined the Phantom and Christine too. It destroyed all the characters.)

"Forget me, forget all of this.."

The Phantom of The Opera is the musical that I am the most persnickety about. I am really picky when it comes to who is cast and all that. I grew up listening to the Original Broadway cast, and that is kind of the feel I always expect the musical to have. I know the story. I know all the characters inside out and backward, and therefore I get irritated if people don't do them properly or choose to show them in a way contrary to the original masterpiece. Love Never Dies really hurt The Phantom as a story. So many of the actors/actresses today take the LND story line and use it to help fuel their performance. For example, most girls play Christine as very close, very in awe with the Phantom. They give you the idea that she could love him, she almost loved him, she would love him if she would just let herself. Here is the point of fact; Christine did not love The Phantom. She pitied him but she did not love him.

what kind of life have you known?

The Phantom is also portrayed very differently from how Michael Crawford did him. Many of the Phantom's now are very aggressive and overwhelmingly powerful. They seem to bring a very angry side to the Phantom and almost leave the rest of his character behind. He is a lot more 'shout-y' than he should be. I'm not saying actors can't bring a bit of power to the role. My favorite Phantom on Broadway right now is James Barbour. He is an incredible Phantom. He has a lot of power behind him, but he is careful to even out the power with a gentle undertone. He will crescendo and get strong but then he goes back to gentle, alluring, entrancing. He is a lot more gentle than most Phantom's have been recently and I appreciate that. He is right under Michael Crawford in the fabulous rank. (On Broadway, that is. I really love how my singing teacher played him...) I also really like like Anthony Warlow and Hadley Fraser. They have incredibly depth and strength to their voice. There is nothing wrong with that. And it is also fine to portray the characters in different ways. That is what is so fun about theatre, seeing all the different actors play the same character in their own way. But I do think there is a root that should always be drawn on.

For example. The Phantom should always be more gentle than powerful, particularly with Christine. He should always be more creepy than angry, more cunning than cruel. That is who he is. Christine should always be very kind and gentle (especially her voice) She should always be naive and a little carefree, but with a hidden strength. As for Raoul, Raoul should always be amazing and sweet, fierce and reckless... basically, just be Hadley Fraser.


I honestly think some of Phantom's appeal and beauty is being lost on Broadway today. It is too much about how much you can amp up the emotions, and how loud or how powerful you can sing. (This doesn't just happen with Phantom either, it is the Theatre world at large.) If I was introduced to the musical now, I don't know if I would like it as much, and I know for a fact that I would have very little sympathy for the Phantom. He is just too angry. I wish the Directors would go back to the original score and stop trying to perfect it and make it 'bigger.' I personally think a lot of actors let the emotion of the moment take over and they get pitchy or drift away the real melody. They are trying too hard and giving too much and they just need to back off and play the role as it is presented. That is not to say the actors/actresses on Broadway aren't talented. They are! They are incredibly talented! I just think with Theatre, less is actually more.

"You'll learn to see, to find the man behind the monster..."

Regardless, The Phantom of the Opera will always hold a special place in my heart, since it was my door into the musical world. Christine Daae is my dream role, and if I could play her, even once, it would be amazing.

What is your favorite musical? What are your thoughts on The Phantom?


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



  1. Hm. Well, my favorite Broadway musical just based on the music is The Secret Garden because it's so sweet. But I've never actually seen it. Actually, the only Broadway musical I've seen is POTO.

    As for POTO...you know, I liked it when I first watched it. And then.... I guess I just thought about it and was like, "That is actually creepy and weird." Obviously, that's what the whole show is about, really...being weird and creepy because the Phantom is weird and creepy.So either you like it.....or you don't. And I don't. Because man if I had some creepy guy follow me around, sing for me, pretend to be my "angel of music", and eventually kidnap me and try to kill my boyfriend................yeah I would not be happy. XD Also some of the stuff in POTO is just too overboard and uncomfortable for me.

    1. The Phantom isn't for everyone. I just love the music and the story, and Raoul is FABULOUS.


  2. Phantom is the bomb diggity! It probably has some of the most lyrical songs, the sweetest composition, and the best singing-dialogue bits, like, "Fondest greetings to you all, a few instructions just before rehearsal starts..."

    Secret Garden is probably my next favourite musically. The composition is lovely, and the American version, with Daisy Eagan, Rebecca Luker and Mandy Patinkin is the best version out there (though the Aussie one with Anthony Warlow....!!!! Too bad I don't like Lily in the Aussie version. :-/) Then I would say Tale of Two Cities/Jane Eyre, Jekyll and Hyde/Les Mis. I feel like I'm missing some. Hmmmm.

    Phantom is creepy. It is weird. But at the heart of it is one of the loveliest love stories of all time. Hence, the reason Love Never Dies = Terrible Sequel That Should Never Have Been Written. Raoul and Christine the the OTP - NOT the Phantom and Christine. Phantom and Christine = Crreeeeeeeeeepy! Raoul and Christine = Awwww!

    I do wish more broadway singers sang their parts a bit less aggressively. This is the reason Sarah Brightman, Steven Barton and Michael Crawford remain my favourite Phantom trio of all time. They don't have a problem with singing gently when needed. And Sarah is spot on and crystalline with her high notes. She don't do pitchy. I personally think singers should be more classically trained for the role of Christine. It brings that ethereal quality to her voice, that innocence.

    That's all for now. I shall love you and leave you. *Skulks off, Phantom-style*

    1. Ah! The Secret Garden! Yes that was beautiful based on what I heard form my parents who saw it open here in Aus. Anthony Warlow is SUPERB! and Phillip Quast (Jarvert - 10th anniversary Les Mis) in Lilly's Eyes! .. Marina Prior-Lilly :-) Mixed feelings on her, she was our first Christine :D.

      Phantom's beautiful! I love Anthony's Phantom but MC tied with Ramin Karimloo and John Owen Jones are my favourite phantoms. Christine for me is Sierra Boggess and Raoul is definitely Hadley Fraser :-)

    2. I agree with you on everything Kat! ARE YOU GONNA DO THIS BLOG PARTY TOO??

  3. Awesome post! I love how thoroughly you addressed the topic, touching on the Phantom story, the music, the characters, and the singer portrayals. The Phantom of the Opera remains one of my favorite musicals ever because of the haunting beauty of the story, the many layers of the characters, and the gorgeous music. And I agree that the Phantom is more than loud, angry shouting; he has a caring side, a yearning to share his music with someone else. You can pity the Phantom while realizing that a relationship between him and Christine would not have worked because he was obsessed with her, and she was afraid of him. Christine and Raoul on the other hand.... :-)

    1. It is hard to blog about the Phantom because mostly I'm just want to scream and phangirl like a freak. lol. Thank you for the comment though. That was nice. :)


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Pile of good things

Pile of good things