Monday, August 30, 2010

Susan Kay's Phantom

After finishing this glorious book (okay so everyone must know where this review is heading) for the fourth or fifth time - I am ready to review this wonderful gem - this "bible" to all phantom phans everywhere.

This book chronicles Erik's life from birth to his death - as well as covering a short time after his death as well. This short time after his death contains an unexpected twist at the book's ending - a twist that most definitely makes a phan pretty happy. The book is split up into seven different parts - providing a timeline of Erik's life and how he spent those years from a different viewpoint of some important characters in his life.

From birth in 1831 to 1840 he lived with his mother, from 1840 to 1843 he traveled around with some gypsies performing in a fair, from 1844 to 1846 he was a stone mason's apprentice, from 1850 to 1853 he spent time with the Shah of Persia (during the four year gap between 1846 and 1850 he was traveling in the fairs again), from 1856 to 1881 he was in Paris and began work on the Opera House with Charles Garnier - as well as living through the saga that we all know and love when he fell in love with Christine and tried to win her love. Raoul picks up the ending of the story in 1897 and this is when we learn a deep secret which I shall not divulge for any phan who hasn't purchased this book or had the chance to read it yet.

This book is such a wonderful work of art in the world of phan writing. It is so powerful, so sad, so compelling - every time I read it I can easily imagine it as a movie and I hope for the day that one might be produced. Kay opens up Erik's world and adds so much more dimension to it - he is much more understandable to anyone who might read this book -and non phans as well as phans alike should have more empathy and compassion toward's Erik after reading this novel. Power, love, and Erik as a duality between good and evil are recurring themes in Kay's novel. This book is worth every cent you might pay for it, as you shall read it over a few times and fall in love with it and Erik every single time. If you haven't picked up Kay's Phantom yet - you need too - it's essential to any phan's collection.

I shall end this entry with some of my favorite quotes from Kay's Phantom.
"Nothing had prepared me for Erik." Madeline
"But music was the keystone for his extraordinary genius." Madeline
"I can make anything dissapear, if I really want to. Anything except my face." Erik
"Impossibility was not a concept I acknowledged." Erik
"In the darkness you came to me. And in darkness you left...."Giovanni
"I never expected to feel anything again..."Erik
"You're always watching...what a pity you never quite manage to see." Erik
"Wherever this shadowed path might lead, we were both irrevocably committed to follow it to the end." Erik
"Then I did what any sensible person does when Erik gives her a direct demand. I obeyed him without question." Christine
"I envy her that calm, blissful animal ignorance, the inability to understand that Erik could die of a second seizure at any moment. Cats don't look ahead and contemplate the future, don't complicate their lives with doubt and uncertainty. They live only for the present; they know exactly what they want and they aren't afraid to take it. I wish...I wish I were that cat!" Christine
"My mind has touched the farthest horizons of mortal imagination and reaches outward to embrace infinity. There is no knowledge beyond my comprehension, no art or skill upon this entire planet that lies beyond the mastery of my hand. And yet, like Faust, I look in vain . . . for as long as I live, no woman will ever look on me in love." Erik

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scott Davies Appreciation Group

One of my face book fan friends has started a Scott Davies Appreciation group. Please join if you are on face book and like him.

Scott Davies Appreciation Group

Some quick news

The music box tour of POTO is now playing in Pittsburgh - and sadly on Halloween it shall close performing a final time at the Pantages Theatre in San Francisco :(

 Music Box Tour Pittsburgh Announcement

Music box tour closing :(

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2004 movie soundtrack

Just finished listening to the 2004 movie soundtrack - well I finished hearing it yesterday. The music involves the same songs as the play - but the orchestrations have been modified and a new song learn to be lonely has been added on to use for the movie's ending credits. I love the modified score for this soundtrack - the title song is reminiscent of the original title song score - sung by Steve Harley and Sarah Brightman - released as a music video before the actual play debuted. There is an interesting fairground sequence in this soundtrack that is pretty good as well. The fairground sequence is used to explain how Mme. Giry let the phantom into the Opera House when he was younger. Emmy Rossum is Christine - she is absolutely amazing - her voice is crystal clear and she can reach the high notes very well. However voice wise - Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher most definitely miscast Gerard Butler. His voice is nowhere near the level of the actual phantom - not even close to the genius that is Michael Crawford.

Discontinuing quote and image of the week

I've decided I will discontinue the quote and image of the week - however I will still keep the monthly sexy phantoms - my blog needs them :)

Das Phantom Der Oper

Earlier in my travels I busted out my inherited MP3 player and listened to Das Phantom Der Oper. This is the original German cast recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. This soundtrack is pretty good stuff - although a little bit random. The auction scene is skipped and it starts at the overture. There is one slightly choppy part when the soundtrack cuts abruptly to the title song.The one great thing about this soundtrack is that the ballet is on here - the other soundtracks seem to neglect that very wonderful part of the show. Peter Hoffman and Anna Marie Kaufman are excellent as the phantom and Christine. During Think of Me or Denk An Mich - I heard flutes more prominently then I've heard them in other soundtracks before. I would highly recommend this for any phan's collection.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


In October - The Broadhollow Theatre Company shall be performing Y/K Phantom at the Bay Way Arts Centre- In November it shall be at Elmont Public Library - I'm there - it's so close to me.

Broadhollow Phantom Schedule

Elmont Library Calendar

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hugh Panaro is coming back to Broadway

September 4th - John Cudia will give up the role of the Phantom on Broadway - making room for Hugh Panaro to come back in opposite Sara Jean Ford as Christine. I've never seen her before - although I have had the pleasure to see Mr. Panaro - perhaps another phantom trip shall be in order.

Hugh's coming back!!!!

Weekly Quote

I forgot to put up a weekly quote and images last week. For now here's the weekly quote - an image will come later or tomorrow.

"Nothing had prepared me for Erik." Madeliene Susan Kay's Phantom

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New website

Oh how I love face book - I have made another Phan Phriend earlier this is their website :)

Jo Fantome's website

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some new sites from my favorite message board

I'm playing around on my favorite message board. They have four phantom of the opera sites besides the forum - one I featured yesterday - I will feature the remaining three today for perusal.

Fifth Cellar - PHan PHic

Phantom Project - similar to my graduate thesis - as well as what I'm doing for this blog too

lessons from phantom of the opera - great blog - I'm following

Monday, August 9, 2010

New author and phantom book

Today I'm once again browsing through face book - I'm finding lots of new phantom phans and information using face book recently. I just came across another author who has written a Phan book - her name is Jennifer Linforth - this is the third new phantom book I've got to get my hands on for a reading and review - very exciting - although my salary is about to be spent purchasing phantom of the opera books haha - here's a link to her website - she also has face book - a blog as well - and twitter

Jennifer Linforth's website

Friday, August 6, 2010

1990 Charles Dance Phantom of the Opera Review - also phan role play and gathering possibilities

Last night my PHan PHriend Janette and I who are lucky enough to live a mere few towns away from each other decided to have what we call Phantom geek out session # 2 last night. I'm actually hoping to find other Long Island PHans and perhaps start a club to meet once a month for a gathering. We chose to watch the Charles Dance Phantom of the Opera - hopefully I can make sense of my crazy notes and come up with a useful review and op ed for this movie.

Before I start Janette and I are also starting a face book role play using the 1990 phantom as our premise. I have made a profile for Christine - Janette has made a profile for Erik - if anyone who comes across this blog is interested let me know which character you might want to be - and then face book my profile - Janette's - and of course Erik and Christine's profile. If you wish to know the characters see the IMDB link below:
IMDB Charles Dance Phantom

*Janette and I collaborated on  the review and analysis of this movie - so some ideas or interpretations belong to Janette Marie Coffey and I must give her credit

This movie is based on the musical by Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit. It premiered as a mini - series on TV during the 90s. This is the movie that I first saw when I was 8 - my parents let me stay up for the second half. When I became a PHan I spent years looking for this movie - until I finally found it.  Although it is based on the musical the movie itself is mostly straight drama - with some singing.

My favorite scene in the whole movie - is when the phantom takes Christine off stage after Carlotta puts something in her drink and she is unable to sing in Faust. He takes her across the lake in his boat and sings softly to her. I don't know what it is but the boat scene in almost every version gets me - if it's included it's bound to be my favorite part of the movie. I also love the world the phantom creates in this movie. The Kopit/Yeston version always enchants me - and the phantom's world under the opera is so beautiful, so magical.

Janette loves the Bistro scene - that scene is incredibly powerful - Christine and Carlotta go voice to voice in a singing duel - Christine's voice is so powerful - so spine tingling.

The chandelier crash in this movie is pretty graphic - but that's very much appreciated - besides the horror/slasher versions with Robert Englund and Dario Argento no other movie to my knowledge gets graphic with the chandelier crash.

Janette bought up some good points. In this movie Raoul's character goes by the name of Philippe - if you read the novel Philippe is actually Raoul's older brother. It's odd that in this one Christine is dating Raoul's older brother - why did they leave Raoul out - why chose Philippe? That's something to ponder or but Yeston and Kopit about if they can be reached.

I find this movie follows the book loosely - more so then the ALW version.

I love the fact that in this version Erik has different masks to suit each of his moods - it's very unique and hasn't been done in any other phantom versions.

It's interesting to me that Erik uses itching powder in Carlotta's wig instead of making her croak. I like that a little better then her croaking like a toad - Janette said itching powder is more plausible and believable for him to get away with - although he can get away with making her croak since he was able to throw his voice and imitate voices as well.

Janette said Erik also has parental guidance in this movie - which is true. Carriere is his father - also manager of the Opera house. The audience learns this in a back story toward the end of the movie - in which Carriere tells Christine about the phantom - how he grew up and that he is the phantom's father - we also know this in the beginning when we see Erik and Carriere talking together in Erik's lair. He seems slightly less out of control because he had his father around to guide him - interestingly in this version his mother was completely devoted to him before her death - she accepted him for his deformity and to her he was beautiful - it makes you wonder what could have been had she not died and was able to live and guide him and accept him. Janette also wondered why Carriere kept Erik under ground - why he didn't decide to bring him out and try to raise him - my argument for that was the time period - Erik would not be accepted then as he might be now.

During Erik's unmasking you can almost feel his anguish as he realizes Christine is afraid of his face. In this version you never see Erik's face - not in the movie - and not in the play either. I appreciate that uniqueness - in every other version Erik's face is revealed and here you are left to imagine how his face may really look. Bravo to this version for letting us imagine.

There are a few scenes that are similar to the ALW musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber actually saw this version either before or while in the process of creating his version - so I think he may have ripped off Yeston and Kopit. I'm also currently hating on Lloyd Webber so this might just be my anger. One particular moment  is when the phantom interrupts the Opera while Christine is singing Faust - he begins singing with her and eventually abducts her off stage - which happens in ALWs musical during Duan Jaun Triumphant.

A lot of stuff is going on when Erik dies - and while he's in the process of dying. Before he dies of natural causes though - at the end he is shot. I will discuss the ending and death of Erik. As he's dying of natural causes his underground world is falling apart as well, while he's dying he has a conversation with Carriere and is adamant that he is buried and not put on display after his death. When Erik dies he is shot by Carriere - it is interesting that the man to shoot him is his father - which is also the man who helped create him and give him life - he is shot by Carriere to avoid being arrested by the police and to be even more miserable in jail - that is my theory anyway. At the very end of the movie Philippe and Christine run off together - you are given a sense though that there life will not be a happy one - at least not at first - Christine will probably have many issues to deal with.

So this long blog entry comes to a close - the movie information is below if you care to purchase - it is worth PHan ownership and it was worth the lost sleep last night - just to finish seeing the movie.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Phantom of the Opera Canadian Cast Recording

My inherited MP3 player and I have done it again - The Phantom of the Opera 1989 Canadian cast has been listened to and is ready for a quick review. This is yet another highlights version of the soundtrack - most foreign phantom versions seem to be only highlights. Colm Wilkinson is an amazing phantom - his vocals are soft and very soothing - he conveys the phantom's emotions well. Rebecca Caine is Christine - her voice has a great range for the role. The orchestrations were pretty calming to me - and the soundtrack was very enjoyable to listen to - a must own for the fact of having Colm Wilkinson as the phantom - you can also see him in a concert given for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh titled Hey Mr. Producer - he performs a phantom scene during this musical concert.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quote and Image of the week

Missed my quote of the week by a day - I posted one last Tuesday - so for today - a quote and an image of the week in one entry!

The image of the week is a phantom of the opera cake - I don't know who created it - I found it through google images

Quote - "Such a little thing really, as kiss... most people don't give it a moment's consideration. They kiss on meeting, they kiss on parting, that simple touching of flesh that people take entirely for granted as a basic human right." - Erik (Susan Kay's Phantom)

Phantom of the Opera - Original London Cast Recording

This is the most common Phantom of the Opera soundtrack available. Most non phans know about this one before finding out about other phantom soundtracks, if they find out about them at all.

Michael Crawford sings the role of the Phantom - he originated the role in London and on Broadway. His Phantom is an extraordinary phantom that I wish I had the privilege to see (I became a phan in 1994 - when he was already finished with the role). His voice is very melodic, and wonderfully soft - his emotions are very expressive - IMHO he definitely comes very close as to how the phantom would sound if I could really hear his voice.

Sarah Brightman sings the role of Christine. She has excellent range - she can easily tackle the voice part of the role very well. As she should since ALW wrote the part of Christine for her. That's also the reason all Christines are brunettes in the ALW musical and not blonde (as Christine is in the 1911 original novel by Leroux). Her voice is amazing but I have heard that she had flailing arm syndrome while performing so I don't think I missed anything by not seeing her as Christine.

The orchestrations and songs on this soundtrack are absolutely amazing - this soundtrack is partially responsible for hooking me on phantom - along with the 1990 Charles Dance mini series that I saw when I was 7 or 8 - I was listening to this soundtrack for a good 3 or 4 months before I saw the show for the first time on Broadway. My family knows this soundtrack because it's all I would listen to when I lived with them for about 2 or 3 years. My favorite song ever on this soundtrack has to be the title song - which of course is called The Phantom of the Opera - track # 7 on the first CD. Other favorites are Music of the Night - Masquerade - and Point of No Return - the final scene track is wonderfully emotional - but quite depressing as well - Michael Crawford ends the soundtrack with an emotional dramatic finish.

Any Phan must own this - I'm sure I'm preaching to owners of this soundtrack already if you're reading this blog - but if you're a newbie Phan - buy this now!

Phantom of the Opera Erotica

I thought that the only phantom of the opera erotica to exist was the one novel I own Unmasqued by Collete Gale - which I've got to re read and review for this blog. I was wrong - a phan off of the message board has also written an erotic phantom of the Opera novel. I'm including her website and the information to buy Unmasqued should you want to purchase it before my review.

Samantha's Phantom - other erotic novel - author site
I'm also including some nice images from Samantha's novel

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Phantom sight/ phan author

I put out a request on the phantom message board to have some phans face book me if they wish. Good stuff - just found a phan author with what looks like a great sight at a quick glance. I'm going to buy her book and review it as well

Sexy Phantom named for August

So this August the sexy Phantom - so sexy that he has two pictures is Lon Chaney's 1925 Phantom of the Opera. Props is due to the man who originated the role of Phantom of the Opera on film - the only film that is closest to the original novel by Leroux. He's also the phantom that looks most like our precious Erik. So here ya go my PHellow PHans - two yummy pictures of Lon!