I found myself relating strongly to the themes of the musical. The female protagonist Christine wants to use music to get over the loss of her father, while the antagonist, the Phantom, wants to be accepted and loved despite his jarring appearance. He uses creativity through music to express his feelings instead of bottling them up inside. Over the years, there has been numerous adaptations of the original novel The Phantom of the Opera, written by Gaston Leroux.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Plot
Deformed since birth, a bitter man known only as the Phantom lives in the sewers underneath the Paris Opera House. The Phantom falls in love with the obscure chorus singer Christine, and privately tutors her while terrorizing the rest of the opera house and demanding Christine be given lead roles.
Christine follows his instruction under the belief that he is her Angel of Music. A guardian bestowed upon her as her father’s dying wish. The only obstacle in The Phantom’s schemes of keeping Christine to himself is Vicomte de Chagny or better known as Raoul, Christine’s childhood friend.
“That fate which condemns me to wallow in blood, has also denied me the joys of the flesh … This face – the infection which poisons our love … This face, which earned a mother’s fear and loathing … A mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing … Pity comes too late – turn around and face your fate: an eternity of this before your eyes!”
— Erik, Phantom of the Opera
Creator Gaston Leroux
Gaston Leroux created a novel that would start a fan base that is unique in its genre and with enthusiasts that would waste no time to be inspired by his writing and create their own. Many authors were inspired by the character of the Phantom and created their version of the universe he was a part of back in the Victorian days. Aside from published authors, many decided to create a fan fiction sanctuary for all the fans of Gaston Leroux’s work and the musical from the year, 2004.
On websites such as DeviantArt, it is quite easy to find many groups with the Phantom as the main star. Literature from fans of all ages from all around the world is seen as the artwork is known as fan art.
The manga style being the one of choice when it comes to The Phantom of the Opera. Fanfiction is another outlet for fans of the Gothic tale to explore their interpretations of the characters and different directions the story could have taken.
Many believe Christine should’ve chosen the Phantom over Raoul, the focus of many fanfiction stories focuses around the two being together in an alternate universe being noncanonical to the story of Gaston Leroux. The fanfiction world goes as far as creating other kinds of relationship between the Phantom and Raoul. There is a story to satisfy everyone who enjoy the Gothic romance Gaston Leroux created.
“No more talk of darkness. Forget these wide-eyed fears, I’m here. Nothing can harm you. My words will warm and calm you. Let me be your freedom. Let daylight dry your tears. I’m here, with you, beside you, to guard you and to guide you.”
— Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, Phantom of the Opera
After seeing the film, I was fortunate to see the live performance of the Broadway musical The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and was delighted to see that the movie succeeds in adapting the musical to another form of media. It’s hard to distinguish which version of the musical I prefer more.
Furthermore, despite which version of Gaston Leroux, it allows the fan to enjoy the characters and the story in a way that speaks to them. I personally enjoy the film adaptation of the musical, since the actors were able to make the characters more relatable. I would advise engaging in all the version of the story to best understand which form speaks to you.