Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Phantom Rocks and Raoul Sucks

Being an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, I of course saw "The Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway and have the original soundtrack stashed away in my drawer. 
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Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, the irreplaceable originals. SUCH voices.
I have always felt sympathetic toward the Phantom; in general, I tend to root for the underdog who doesn't have a chance with the girl. By making him an unloved and persecuted creature, he automatically got my support. "Oh, so he killed a few people and threatened to strangle your boyfriend if you wouldn't marry him; he's never been socialized. One more chance?"

Raoul was also given sissy-long hair in the movie version. Not remotely dashing enough for my tastes. And he is an "insolent boy, a slave of fashion." Gerard Butler, on the other hand . . . although I do admit they should have dubbed his voice. Then again, they should have dubbed everyone's voices. 
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mGZ5b2sOfbo/S9TXFfUkuRI/AAAAAAAAAo0/ql-0opq9De8/s1600/butler_phantom.jpg
Isn't he dashing? Until he opens his mouth, that is.
One day while picking over the library, I came across Phantom by Susan Kay. The original tale was written by Gaston Leroux and published as a newspaper serial from 1909-10. I later read Leroux's original, so I can safely say Kay's version is faithful to his text, and, in fact, improves upon it. 
http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs8/i/2005/291/1/f/Susan_Kay_Phantom_Cover_by_marienoire.jpg
It gave exactly what I wanted—providing the Phantom an interesting, albeit miserable, history, along with the understanding that I hoped for.  

There is also a fabulous twist at the end.

Love the Phantom? I mean the actual pitiful bad guy? Try this. 

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