Tuesday, May 03, 2005

the phantom of the living room

Yes, I now own the DVD of The Phantom of the Opera, and ya know what, I think it is a great adaptation of the musical. I don't see what people were bitching about, other than bitching for the sake of bitching.

(spoilers for the movie and stage versions, if you've somehow missed out on the plot and still care about this post)

First, the only thing that really bothers me about screen adaptation is when the chandelier falls. In the musical, it falls during Il Muto, when the Phantom is pissed at 2 things - the Opera managers for disobeying his casting choices, and Christine betrays him by professing her love for Raoul on the rooftop. So, the Phantom makes it fall onto the stage, (which is really cool, because it looks like it's about to hit the audience of the musical) end of Act I, time for intermission. At the beginning of Act II, it raises again, with the Masquerade at the Opera, symbolizing the Opera Populaire has recovered from the disaster during the performance of Il Muto.

In the film, the Phantom doesn't cause the chandelier to fall during Il Muto, he simply suffers the betrayal alone. It's during Don Juan Triumphant that the chandelier falls, after everyone figures out the Phantom is starring in his own opera. He's playing the part of Don Juan, and Christine immediately figures out it's the Phantom, but she plays along. He then asks her, in the song "All I Ask of You" to be with him, to love him. She responds by ripping off his mask, exposing him to the audience in the sold-out performance, the police there to capture him, and the viewer. Distraught by this betrayal, he cuts the he uses the chandelier falling as a distraction so he can escape with Christine to his lair. Except for the chandelier falling, everything is the same as the theatrical version in this scene.

OK, now for nit picking. During the Notes scene, a couple of line have been changed. I only really know this because I listened to my Phantom of the Opera CDs so much I almost wore them out and pretty much have the damn thing memorized. There's are a few little additions here and there to the operas, to lengthen the scenes, and explain the whole thing a little more for those who may not be so familiar with the story.

The death of Joseph Buquet is a little more drawn out, suspenseful as Buquet attempts to evade the Phantom through the rigging above the stage, and is inevitably hung.

One picky point on the casting of Gerard Butler as the Phantom. His voice is beautiful, without a doubt, I could listen to it all night. As one who grew up listening to Michael Crawford sing the part of the Phantom, the movie makes it seem that Butler doesn't have the same range Crawford does - some of the high tenor parts are sung in a lower register or spoken. This may not be true, he may have the same wonderful range of voice, the changes have been made for reasons other than Butler's voice. I'm talking about notes I can't hit, notes in the high tenor range. Yeah, I have a low singing voice for a woman. I've heard it argued that there's no such thing as a female tenor, but that's what I sing. Tenor, to high baritone.

I'm larger than most men, at over 6 feet, so my larynx is larger than most, and therefore the sounds that come out of it are lower. Yeah, I'm female, so I don't have as much testosterone to thicken my vocal cords as a male of comparable size, but my singing voice is still low for a woman.


Gothamimage said...

Huntsville is a nice place, from what I recall- just reading your blog and saying hello.

Old Grouch said...

Since you appear to be a POTO addict, you might get a kick out of Terry Pratchett's Maskerade. Bookstores shelve it in the Science Fiction section, it's a fantasy (and has a couple of witches in it), but don't let that put you off. Annotations (but also spoilers) here.

maggie katzen said...

i've come across a few female tenors in choruses it can make for interesting costume decisions. (am i going to be a man or a woman for this scene?)

Anonymous said...

Female tenors rock! Real female tenors that is, not untrained sopranos or mezzos, but the contraltos who like to break a few rules and rumble out a quality low C or D. I don't know if there is much of a difference between female tenors and contraltos, (placement?)