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Fridge / The Phantom of the Opera

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Fridge Brilliance

  • I always enjoyed the "Point of No Return" trio in the final lair scene, 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 fiancĂ©. For Raoul, it's the willingness to risk his own life for Christine's freedom. Brilliant. - Toru 771
  • 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. Emmy Rossum and Patrick 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
  • Carlotta's hostile 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. Along 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.
  • It's most noticeable in the 25th anniversary addition, but Meg seems to be the first to panic whenever the Phantom might be near. Seems odd until you remember that both she and Madame Giry know the Phantom is real, and Madame Giry probably used him to frighten her daughter into good behavior in her youth.
    • On the other hand, basically the rest of the cast in this production immediately stops panicking whenever Madame Giry taps her cane. It's entirely possible that with the exception of Meg, the dancers and maybe even the rest of the company are more afraid of the ballet mistress than they are of the Phantom.
  • 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.
    • That explains something about the musical I always had a problem with; the Phantom seemingly luring Christine by the power of his voice, only being broken when Raoul shows up. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again shows something about Christine that has just been hinted at through the musical. She misses her father and when Erik says that he's her Angel of Music, it's as a connection to her late father, which is a Genius Bonus for people who have read the book, as it's made clear Christine only knew her father for a huge chunk of her young life. Right before the graveyard sequence, Christine has been threatened, stalked, harassed and has just now been proposed as bait to catch said murdering the one person who has promised to protect her from the Phantom. That's a lot of emotion for anybody to endure and she wants to feel safe again. At least in the illusion, she has her father back. Raoul breaks the illusion by stressing that "[the Phantom] is not [her] father," - something Christine should have realized and come to terms with much, much earlier.
  • 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'.
  • Why doesn't anyone believe the Phantom's threats in "Notes / Prima Donna" after they gave Carlotta the Countess role even if he manages to boom his voice around and mess with the lighting? Well for two reasons actually. First, Operas are made to echo, so it's perfectly logical just for him to yell somewhere. Secondly, they most likely used gas for lighting back then which meant that an outside pipe can be blocked and unblocked making the lights flicker. They probably assumed someone was hiding in the theater and messing around.
  • Why was Christine's costume in "Masquerade" the evening sky? Well she associates Raoul with day and the Phantom with night, it represents her indecisiveness between the two, but because it's mostly still light it shows she favors Raoul.
  • The "Keep your hand to the level of your eye" gesture is also used in the "Masquerade" dance routine.
  • A common criticism that people have with "The Point of No Return" is asking how Christine (or anyone in the theater) can possibly be surprised when she pulls off "Piangi's" hood to reveal the Phantom. After all, Piangi is almost always played with an Italian accent. The difference is even more jarring in the case of Norm Lewis, an African-American Phantom, impersonating a Caucasian Piangi, although in some performances Christine seems to realize it's the Phantom when he takes off his gloves. However, in the 25th Anniversary production, careful listeners will notice that Ramin Karimloo puts on a very convincing Italian accent (although obviously not of the same vocal timbre as Piangi), making it more believable that he can pull off the deception. He even moves his hands more stiffly to appear that he has fat fingers like Piangi.
    • And going strictly along the plotlines, it's no wonder that as great ventriloquist and singer as Erik was could pull off such a trick.
    • Furthermore, the conspirators' plans were to lure the Phantom out in the first place, so they shouldn't be surprised he showed his mug onstage. Admittedly, they probably were only expecting that he'd be in attendance, and were thrown off guard by him instead appearing on-stage in the performance.
    • In the 25th anniversary production, it's heavily implied that Christine realizes that it's the Phantom when he touches her chest. Piangi was very likely given much tamer stage directions to avoid any unprofessionalism and to not anger his lover Carlotta, who already hates Christine. He starts off touching Christine in a regular 'stage' manner, hovering his hands over her while looking as if he's touching her, but then the Phantom is unable to resist the temptation and begins actually touching her. What does the Phantom in is when Christine appears to accidentally feel the mask under his hood while performing and tries to run, only for him to grab her and pull her back. But the show must go on - they pass it off as normal acting very convincingly for the in-universe audience... up until the Phantom's unmasked.
    • On top of all this, during the second "Notes" recitative, the Phantom mentions that "Our Don Juan must lose some weight, it's not healthy in a man of Piangi's age..." In hindsight, that isn't just a cheap dig at the current First Tenor, he wants Piangi to drop the weight to better impersonate him later!
  • The five ending notes of "Music of the Night" reappears two more times: the first starting off "All I Ask of You" (before Raoul starts singing), bridging Christine's tearful breakdown over Erik's influence on her and Raoul's assurances and promises, and the last at the very end of the show, where Meg holds up the Phantom's mask. This symbolizes Erik finally letting go of Christine, and the Phantom's story ending to give way to Raoul and Christine's story, just as night will give way to the day.
  • In the musical, the Phantom's opera Don Juan Triumphant is written in a style that mirrors a musical movement of the early twentieth century known as "Modernism" which began a good two or three decades after the events of POTO. In addition to the dissonant orchestrations and harmonies, it's extremely dramatic, dark, and focuses a great deal on emotion, all of which are thematic trademarks of modernistic musical and literary works. While the audience was amused at the naughty humor in the extremely colorful and lighthearted Il Muto, the hellish reds and raw passion in Don Juan Triumphant is a bit too much. The characters' disgusted and confused reactions to Don Juan intentionally mirror the public's reactions to early modern pieces such as Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring. This stylistic choice is probably a way of presenting the Phantom as a man who is quite literally ahead of his time in his artistic genius.
  • During the finale to "Prima Donna", the tune is taken over by the Phantom's leitmotif. In the 2004 film, the ballerinas spin around Carlotta, but their dancing speed is matched to the Phantom's leitmotif rather than "Prima Donna". A subtle and sinister way to show the audience that despite all the attention and gifts Carlotta is getting, the Phantom is still very much in control.
  • It totally makes sense that Raoul beats the Phantom at swordfighting in the 2004 film. Not only is Raoul younger, but he also has plenty of opportunities to practice with live sparring partners. The Phantom...not so much.
  • Listen to the first "Notes" and "Prima Donna." There are so many clashing melodies—the managers, La Carlotta, and Raoul. Everyone's off doing their own thing: Carlotta is spewing hatred at Christine, the managers are pondering how to spin these developments to their own advantage, and Raoul is trying to piece together the details of Christine's story with Meg and Madame Giry's help. The Phantom can only do what he does when everyone is at odds with each other.
  • Raoul's comment that there is no Phantom of the Opera could easily be taken for a straightforward gaslighting comment at first glance (and a wildly stupid one at that, considering what Raoul has witnessed). However, if you consider that Raoul is saying that there is no "Phantom of the Opera", the comment makes more sense. In that sense, Raoul is pointing out that what's happening at the theatre is not the work of a spirit or ghost, but a flesh-and-blood creep, further cementing him as an intelligent, practical character (even if his plans go sour in the second act).

Fridge Horror
  • In the Final Lair, Christine's changed from her Aminta costume into a wedding dress. What did the Phantom do - or threaten her with - in order to get her into it???
    • Hopefully not much, since it's not until "The tears I might have shed for your dark fate," that Christine finally grows a spine and starts shouting at the Phantom. Before that, she's frightened and helpless as he drags her down to his lair.
  • The Phantom had a one-way mirror in Christine's dressing room, which is not only creepy, but explains how he could make an almost exact replica of Christine in mannequin/doll form in both face and body, and if he was watching long enough he could make a pretty close guess about dress size too.
    • This takes a darker turn when you realise that said dressing room was not Christine's specifically, but rather the dressing room of the First Soprano. Which means the Phantom went to far more extreme measures in order to create Christine's likeness for the mannequin.