Phantom of the Opera = Bad?

Okay, here’s the conceptual framework. No, wait, that’s a Master’s Thesis phrase. Here’s the background:

When I was a 5th grader in Sacramento, CA, we had a music teacher visit us once a week to teach us a bit about different kinds of music and whatever else she felt appropriate. I grew up in a musical family, so I actually appreciated this visitor. One day, she mentioned that she was going to start teaching us about a fairly new opera that was out called “The Phantom of the Opera” (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 production). As musical as I thought I was, opera wasn’t something I was interested in. But she began telling us the story and at the appropriate times, she’d turn the CD on and play one of the songs.

I LOVED it! It was opera, but not in the sense of what I’d pictured my whole life where this fat lady and fat guy stand on the stage and sing how they have to go to the bathroom (in other words, singing WAY too literally).

Many years later, after I’d long since forgotten the story, my folks bought the CDs from the opera. I listened to them quite a bit — partly out of nostalgia and partly out of my enjoyment of the music. My favorite song I think has to be “Past the point of no return.”

In 2004, the opera was adapted to a film version. I never saw it until this week (as part of my “catch up on the 30 movies I’ve missed in the last few years” effort). I had one major problem with the movie: the guy playing the Phantom was LAME! His voice wasn’t good; his acting wasn’t good, and he detracted from the music (seriously, though, can you beat Michael Crawford as the Phantom in the original play?).

Jen watched the movie, too, and after it was over, she told me just how much she hated it. Her problem wasn’t the music, but rather the plot and story. She’s actually seen the opera in San Francisco and enjoyed attending it in person, but now that she’s seen the movie and paid attention to the storyline, she keeps on (three days later) commenting on how stupid it was.

I knew the story line and thought nothing of it. I was really intrigued to see how the music and the story interacted and I enjoyed that. I am amused at Jen’s reaction. Anybody else hate the Phantom of the Opera?

Jen Says:
Actually it’s only been two days since we watched it, but I’ll go ahead and complain about how lame it was tomorrow too…just to make him right. I really didn’t like the storyline. I remember liking the performance aspect of it all when I saw it in SF. It has been 13 years, so I didn’t really remember much of the story at all (except for the chandelier falling, the phantom rowing a boat and thinking he was creepy). I was trying to think what bothered me the most and I think it was Christine. Maybe there wasn’t enough background to the movie to tell why she was so totally under his spell, but her character drove me crazy…she was afraid of him one moment and looked like she was in love with him the next…yet there didn’t seem like there was any reason to be in love with him…I don’t know. A big thumbs down from me!

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4 thoughts on “Phantom of the Opera = Bad?

  1. Jen, I totally agree. I too saw it on Broadway. At that time, I didn’t really pay attention to the plot. I have always known the music and love it. However, the plot is absolute crap! I am creaped out by the phantom and Christine is a freak. She can’t make up her mind whether she loves him or not. Why would you fall in love with a creap who kidnaps you? She has the behavior of an abused woman. Lindsey

  2. Yeah – you just can’t pay attention to the plot. But, man, isn’t it the greatest music? I was able to see the opera back when I was in high school, on a band/choir trip to California. Michael Crawford was the phantom. NOTHING will ever compare to that. Definitely not the movie and not even a live version with a different phantom.

  3. This is one of my favorite musicals (it’s a play by the way, not an opera). I haven’t seen the movie but I have seen it on stage. True, the plot is weird and a little nonsensical. I am not a huge fan of Michael Crawford’s voice. He is truly gifted by I just don’t like his tone in some spots nor do I like the fact that he tends to slide into some of his high notes. In spite of that, I would much rather listen to him than 99% of the junk on the radio today. My favorite voice from the original production was Raoul’s who I believe was played by Steve Barton.There, have I stirred the pot?

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