I always enjoyed the "Point of No Return" trio in the final lair scene of The Phantom of the Opera, but it just hit me that the song is very appropriate in that context because all three characters involved — the Phantom, Christine, and Raoul — are passing a "point of no return" in some sense. For the Phantom, it's the Moral Event Horizon he crossed by threatening to kill Raoul. For Christine, it's the knowledge that she has to choose between saving herself or her fiancÚ. For Raoul, it's the willingness to risk his own life for Christine's freedom. Brilliant. - Toru771
Years ago, I saw Gary Mauer playing a particularly bold and driven Raoul, and it hit me why Raoul makes such a great foil for the Phantom: he's the only person in the entire musical who is never intimidated by him. He gets threatening notes and brushes it off, he gets fireballs hurled in his face and doesn't blink, he stands on the brink of death and never falters for a second in his desire to protect the woman he loves. The Phantom is a world-class Manipulative Bastard, but the one person standing between him and Christine is also the one person he absolutely can not control—and that has got to piss him off. After that, Raoul was less of a Romantic False Lead / Satellite Love Interest and a bit more of an interesting character in his own right. - The Diva
Gerard Butler's voice and singing ability in the movie never bothered me. Rossum and Wilson both have the clear, beautiful voices you tend to associate with musical theater while Butler does not, being more of a rough rock n' roll type vocalist which to me made him more of an outcast. His voice helps tell us that he's rougher, edgier and doesn't quite fit in with the rest. He has a more modern sound and style making him feel a bit ahead of his time and perhaps even inappropriate. I thought the choice to cast someone with a voice like that was one of the smartest moves for the film. - Ronja
Andrew Lloyd Webber actually cast Gerard Butler as Erik for that precise reason. He quips: "He's got to be a bit rough, a bit dangerous; not a conventional singer. Christine is attracted to the Phantom because he's the right side of danger." - Mugiwara
Carlotta's attitude towards Christine starts to make a little bit more sense in that she secretly realizes she's either past her prime or reaching it and here comes this chorus girl who's suddenly threatening the only job she knows within the theater. Factor that this was a time period in which unless you had a rich family to draw wealth from if you only knew one job and were forced to find another, you were pretty screwed. While it doesn't excuse it,it does help explain her hostile attitude.
And keep in mind, as far as Carlotta knows Christine only got the part because she was sleeping with the theater's patron (and mysteriously disappeared the night he showed up...) That's why she goes after Raoul in "Notes" — she thinks she's being replaced because of the Casting Couch, and well, wouldn't you be angry too?
It's most noticeable in the 25th anniversary addition,but Meg seems to be the first to panic whenever the Phantom might be near. Which I thought odd until I remembered both she and Madame Giry know the Phantom exists, and Madame Giry probably used him to frighten Meg into good behavior in her youth.
On the other hand, basically the rest of the cast in this production immediately stop panicking whenever Madame Giry taps her cane. It's entirely possible that the dancers, and maybe even the rest of the company, are more afraid of the ballet mistress than they are of the Phantom, with the possible exception of Meg.
I always simply thought that interpretation of Christine's relationship with Raoul as the sweet, innocent, child-like romance and her relationship with Erik as the mature, passionate romance that should naturally supercede it as a poor excuse for overlooking the kidnapping, imprisoning, threatening, psychological abuse and what-not. I realized something, however, while recently re-reading the novel. Yes, the novel is indeed about how Christine's romantic desires change as she grows up. That theory came to mind as I read the early parts where Raoul, unlike Madame Valerius, doesn't believe for a second that the "Angel of Music" is really a supernatural entity but a flesh-and-blood human deceiving Christine and desperately tries to make Christine realize this. Erik attracts Christine by tapping into her faith in her childhood fantasies and exploiting the childish naivete and innocence of an inexperienced young girl; Raoul is the one who tells Christine to grow up and tries to disillusion her about the childish fantasy she's living. Who really represents the "mature" romance here? The same man who Christine allows herself to love again once she does grow up and realizes (to her humiliation) how foolish she was.
A minor thing that recently made quite a bit of sense. During the second "Notes" recitative, The Phantom mentions that Piangi should "Lose some weight, it's not healthy in a man of (Piangi's) age..." It seems like a cheap dig at the current 1st Tenor until you realize that he wants Piangi to drop the weight to better impersonate him later!
Why does the Phantom break down, then send Christine and Raoul away? Seems like a straightforward case of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, right? Wrong. Erik hates himself; he is convinced that his deformity means that nobody will ever see him as anything but some sort of monster, and he will be alone forever. He did not need Christine because he loved her, but rather because she made him feel not alone. When she reignited her romance with Raoul, Erik felt like the one person who could possibly love him was abandoning him. Those feelings caused him to lose control in an effort to keep her for himself. When she kisses him, she shows him that even though she is choosing to be with Raoul, she still sees him as a human being. She even says it outright, "God give me courage to show you you are not alone." Knowing that there is someone in the world that can love him, if not in a romantic way, he no longer needs Christine, so he lets her go.
There are so many references to light and dark like, everywhere, especially in All I Ask of You. Raul is associated with the day while Erik is obviously associated with the night. Daytime is freedom, knowledge, sight, safety, comfort, and shared relationships. Night is imprisonment, mystery, sound, danger, fear, and solitude. Somewhat related to this, 'Angel of Music' is another moniker for Lucifer, the fallen angel who's imprisoned in hell and whose name ironically means 'light bringer'.