Friday, November 19, 2010

Phantom of the Opera Gaston Leroux

 The Novel
     Leroux claimed to have been inspired to write the story after visiting the catacombs of the Paris Opera house.  While roaming its lower depths he found a mysterious subterranean lake which was visible through iron grilles in the floor.  Leroux also remembered an unfortunate accident in 1896 when one of the chandelier’s counterweights had fallen on the audience.

    Thirty years after the events conveyed in the novel, he wrote about how the story came about with his researching the library at the Paris Opera house his interviews with people who were present at the time and his reliance on the memoirs of one of the opera’s directors at that time.
He boasted about having found evidence of bodies in the cellars. 
  The novel features an innocent young girl, who having lost her father attempts to become a star at the Paris Opera House, much to the disappointment of her boyfriend, who wishes she would quit. Her father promised an angel of music would watch over her and help her. She meets a man, the phantom, living under the opera house in the catacombs with a half-hidden, disfigured face. He becomes her angel of music, tutoring her while terrorizing others. His obsession leads to a tragic love story triangle and eventually to his death. The novel had mixed reviews.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical 
   It came to life when in May of 1984 Andrew Lloyd Webber sees a review about a stage adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera produced by the Theatre Royal in Stratford, and considers the idea of turning it into a new musical.
   Then in early 1985 he comes across a faded copy of the original Leroux novel in a second hand bookshop in New York, and buys it for a dollar.The book inspired him to create a romantic musical score for his new wife Sarah Brightman and The Phantom of the Opera the musical is born kicking off in UK at Her Majesty's Theatre on 9th October, 1986.

  The Movies 
   The story appears on the big screen for the first time in 1925, when Universal Pictures put Lon Chaney in the starring role. The tale of a deformed, masked composer, haunting the Paris Opera like a ghost, redeemed only by his love for a pretty young singer, has horror and romance in a good mix. Erik, the Phantom , may exhibit occasional homicidal tendencies, but like most of the screen's great monsters, he is also in love, and this is his saving grace.The following is the  famous scene in which the Phantom, in his underground lair, is unmasked by the young opera singer Christine after he has abducted her. They cunningly devised, both photographically and editorially, so the camera is positioned where both Christine and the Phantom are facing forward when the unmasking occurs, allowing the audience to see the Phantom's face first, and then Christine's shocked reaction when he turns around to confront her.

Paris Opera House

Phantom of the Opera Images with music

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