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.
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.
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.
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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