This weekend we take a slight detour off the classical track to look at the musical Phantom of the Opera. I’ve had a slight obsession with this work since listening to it when I was about ten.
The West End musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber was made into a film in 2004. Gerard Butler stars as the brooding Phantom, the stunning Emmy Rossum is Christine and Patrick Wilson plays that metrosexual rich kid Raoul. Minnie Driver takes a turn as the obnoxious Carlotta.
It is one of the greatest mysteries of our time as to why Christine picks Raoul over Phantom. Sure Phantom is a bit obsessive, and would probably be done for ‘coercive control’ these days, but he loves his music and he loves Christine, so what’s not to like? The film gave him a tragic backstory so it is all very understandable really. It is in this spirit that I link to Gerard Butler with the Phantom’s song of seduction, Music of the Night.
As you can see, health and safety means nothing to Phantom as I do believe filling one’s lair with this many candles is a fire hazard. Phantom is devoted to Christine, he represents her dark side, but like the vampire Spike’s pursuit of Buffy, he just can’t catch a break.
We are to believe that Phantom is some hideously deformed monster when clearly in real life he would be the bad boy every teenage girl lusts after; he is indeed every father’s worst nightmare.
Butler does a fabulous Phantom: brooding, dangerous, an excellent cape-swisher, tall, dark and handsome. The mask isn’t kidding anyone – a handsome bloke with a mask is still a handsome bloke and why he didn’t finish Raoul off when he had the chance we’ll never know.
Towards the end of the film, during the exquisite Point of No Return, the Phantom pours out his soul to Christine in front of a packed theatre. She returns the favour by swiping his mask off in front of everyone. That’s gratitude for you.
Despite this, Phantom still sacrifices himself for her at the end of the film and she leaves for her boring life in suburbia with Raoul. In the dark of the night, I bet she regretted it.
This is a great musical and movie. Enjoy.