But we don’t really want to rehash how much I dislike early mornings, now do we? So for today’s topic, I thought I’d discuss the Phantom of the Opera! He has figured prominently in Anna Beth’s most recent inner-monologue-expressed-via-internet-for-all-to-see-her-growing-insanity, but that’s not actually why I wanted to talk about it today. See, my brother gave me
the recording of the original London musical in the 80s for Christmas. It was, however, lost in the deep, dark depths of his bedroom until a couple of days ago, so I just got it and got the chance to listen to it. If you know me very well at all, you will know that I already own the soundtrack from the 2004 movie, as well as the movie itself. And the English translation of the original book. So, I thought it’d be interesting to discuss the two soundtracks in comparison. Just basics, though. You should also know that I’m far too lazy to get into any kind of detail. Or incorporate more than just the two soundtracks.
So! If you’ve listened to the movie soundtrack, you’ll know that it consists solely of individual songs taken from the movie- little if any dialogue is included, and they even leave out some of the songs, I guess because they’re considered too transitional or inconsequential to deserve a place on the CD. The original audio, however, is much more extensive, which I liked. If I’m not mistaken (which I may be- I’ve only listened to it once so far), in fact, it is literally the entire musical in audio form. So it’s almost like you’re listening to a radio drama or something, which is pretty cool :). I can’t really speak for how comprehensible this would be for someone with no prior experience with Phantom of the Opera, but seeing as I’ve seen the movie countless times, listened to the CD even more, and even read the book, I foun it really interesting just to be listening as the action happened and picturing events in my head instead of actually seeing them on screen on anything.
Another difference I noticed was that the original musical has more than just the movie, so it was cool getting to hear extra verses and even entire songs that I never knew existed. Like, there’s an extra song in the same tune as Andre and Firmin and the gang reading the Phantom’s notes after Christine disappears where the Phantom has some extra notes on how
to direct his opera- replacing a couple of orchestra members and weeding out the useless chorus- and everyone’s accusing Christine of being behind it all so she can be the star. Then it includes a scene of rehearsing for Don Juan, and Carlotta and Piangi and everyone complaining about the composer. More of the lines are also sung outright instead of spoken, though there is still some speaking. The part when Christine is talking to Raoul about how afraid she is of playing in the Phantom’s opera is sung instead of spoken, for example, as well
as their argument about their secret engagement earlier at the masquerade. Ooh! And the graveyard seen is extended, with more banter between the Phantom and Raoul. I quite enjoyed it :).
Then, of course, the voices were different, seeing as the original was produced 25 years and a thousand or more miles apart from the movie. Since it was being performed on stage and in more traditional operatic style, there was a lot more vibrato, especially with Christine, which I really don’t care for, but for the most part it wasn’t too pronounced. And this is probably (oh, who am I kidding-definitely) my bias toward Gerard Butler, but I didn’t like the voice for the Phantom as much. For one thing, he’s just not Gerard Butler, and I mean, who can really compare? I also noticed, possibly in general, but especially with the Phantom, that you couldn’t hear the emotions expressed as much in the original version. Like, even just listening to the movie soundtrack, you can hear the Phantom’s anguish as he sings up on the balcony after Christine’s betrayal, and how broken he is after he lets Christine leave his dungeon beneath the opera. It’s not really as apparent listening to the original, but again, this could have more to do with the medium. As an opera performed on stage, the focus was probably more on the music and singing quality than having an extra demonstration of the emotions, whereas the movie really wants the audience to make that emotional connection with the characters. So in the original I think the audience empathizes less with the Phantom, which is
closer (though still quite apart) to the way he’s portrayed in the book. On the contrary, though, I liked the original Raoul much better than the movie Raoul, though again, this is most likely my own personal bias- I just really didn’t like the movie Raoul :/ (possibly because he was being compared with Gerard Butler…). Regarding the more minor characters, I thought it was interesting how similar the original Andre and Firmin sound compared to the movie versions.
They also did a really good job of making Carlotta annoying :)
As another minor detail difference, some of the words were altered between the two versions. I mean, this was bound to happen as with any remake, but I was amused hearing the original and realizing it was changed from the movie. In the original, the chandelier actually falls during the same scene as Carlotta’s croaking performance, so there’s reference to that later
when they’re grudgingly agreeing to perform the Phantom’s play. Also, you may remember when the Phantom and Christine kiss and he tells them to “Take the boat-swear to me- never to tell… the secrets you know- of the angel in hell.” I really like that part, but in the original he sings, “Take the boat- leave me here- go now, don’t wait…Just take her and go-before it’s too late.” I just feel like that line is significantly less epic, so I was happy they changed it :)
So, that’s my take on Phantom of the Opera vs. Phantom o the Opera. Any opinions? Comments? Who do you think is more obsessed, me with Phantom of the Opera or Anna Beth with Les Miserables? Any suggestions for how I can improve this “make regular blogs” thing I’ve been trying to do? Cause this
was a lot longer than I meant it to be, so sorry if reading it all was kind of
miserable… See youz guyz next week!
P.S. The original audio also comes with a book of, like,
the entire musical. <3