Location

Panel 21: Kearney 325

Start Date

27-10-2012 1:15 PM

End Date

27-10-2012 2:45 PM

Description

Although the story of The Phantom of the Opera originated about 100 years ago, today’s audiences are more likely to be familiar with—and even “phans” of—the musical adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which has become famous since its début in London in 1986. Considering that the theatrical version has received international acclaim and enjoys worldwide popularity—and considering that Gaston Leroux’s novel has merited scores of adaptations in the last century—surprisingly little scholarship exists on these various works. This exploratory essay addresses the popularity of The Phantom of the Opera (especially over the last 25 years) as well as its greater significance. Primarily, this inquiry looks at the original novel as well as the three contemporary musical adaptations. Specifically, this paper considers a translation of the novel Le fantôme de l’opéra, the libretto of Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical adaptation, the DVD of the 2004 film version of the musical, and the DVD of the 2011 anniversary production of the 1986 musical. These productions present audiences with versions that narrow, expand, and alter Leroux’s original narrative. This paper then explores a number of aspects within the original novel and these adaptations. Issues to be considered include the use of archetypes, the representation of the Other, the portrayal of personal agency, and the conditions of tragedy. Questions to be considered include why audiences are sympathetic to the title character, who the protagonist and who the villain are, what “true love” is, and what greater meaning can be gleaned from the story, its reception, and its success. Ultimately, this paper tries to understand and explain whether it is the famous musical production or the original story that is the true success.

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Oct 27th, 1:15 PM Oct 27th, 2:45 PM

The Phantom of the Opera: Spectacular Musical or Archetypal Story?

Panel 21: Kearney 325

Although the story of The Phantom of the Opera originated about 100 years ago, today’s audiences are more likely to be familiar with—and even “phans” of—the musical adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which has become famous since its début in London in 1986. Considering that the theatrical version has received international acclaim and enjoys worldwide popularity—and considering that Gaston Leroux’s novel has merited scores of adaptations in the last century—surprisingly little scholarship exists on these various works. This exploratory essay addresses the popularity of The Phantom of the Opera (especially over the last 25 years) as well as its greater significance. Primarily, this inquiry looks at the original novel as well as the three contemporary musical adaptations. Specifically, this paper considers a translation of the novel Le fantôme de l’opéra, the libretto of Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical adaptation, the DVD of the 2004 film version of the musical, and the DVD of the 2011 anniversary production of the 1986 musical. These productions present audiences with versions that narrow, expand, and alter Leroux’s original narrative. This paper then explores a number of aspects within the original novel and these adaptations. Issues to be considered include the use of archetypes, the representation of the Other, the portrayal of personal agency, and the conditions of tragedy. Questions to be considered include why audiences are sympathetic to the title character, who the protagonist and who the villain are, what “true love” is, and what greater meaning can be gleaned from the story, its reception, and its success. Ultimately, this paper tries to understand and explain whether it is the famous musical production or the original story that is the true success.