Monday, April 5, 2010
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
My love of all things Phantom of the Opera related just keeps getting stronger. My obsession began at the age of 3 when my parents brought me the Original Canadian (Toronto) Cast Recording (the soundtrack- and the BEST in my opinion as no one compares to Colm Wilkinson with his incredible and haunting voice) when they went to see the musical. By the age of 4 I could sing every. single. word. from the soundtrack… and hit every single note- I’m not kidding either. I wanted to BE Christine and played dress up as her all the time. I was completely obsessed for years. Unfortunately, my singing talent died away somewhat with age (and probably smoking) but my love for the Phantom never died. To this day, that soundtrack is still in my car and I bust it out every couple of months. The musical recently returned to Toronto for 1 month and MH bought my tickets for Christmas. I pity the strange man who sat next to me because as soon as the lights went down I started crying. I love it THAT much. MH whispered in my ear “the music hasn’t even started yet… as if you’re already crying”. So, needless to say this story has a very special place in my heart.
That said, it will likely come as a surprise that I had never read the original book by Gaston Leroux. I had read Phantom in Manhattan (the “sequel”) as a teen, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pick up the original story. Finally, I decided to grab it from the library in (unabridged) audio book form and listen on my commutes to school. I cannot believe that I waited this long to read this story.
Although different in so many ways from the musical, it was just as wonderful and magical. I still sympathized with both Erik and Raoul and wanted happy endings for all of them (I know, I know- I’m just a romantic at heart, what can I say?). I loved getting a deeper, more detailed look into Erik’s genius and the workings of the world he created below the Opera house.
This book gave me the romance that I crave from every story I read along with equal parts suspense and drama…even a little bit of comedy. I loved immersing myself back in the Paris Opera during the time of the ghost and will consider this book now among my favorites of all time. A must read for any fan of the musical.