In This Labyrinth: The Phantom of the Opera In Erik's Times and Ours

Exploring Phantom, Phanship, and the world that shapes them.

Show-notes part 1 for episode 3 - That Man And Mystery: POTO and the Trouble With Normal part 2

I decided to go ahead and post some of the sources I referenced in Episode 3, those that don’t require hyperlinks, while I wait for Fireside to fix the accessibility issue with the body-text form fields. Because, the references that are just quotes and bibliographic info I can simply copy and paste! So look out for part 2 of these show-notes at some point, which will contain links to some references on the culture and politics I referred to in the episode. That’ll be up as soon as humanly possible!

Perry, George. (1987) The Complete Phantom of the Opera . London: Pavilion Books Limited.
(See the section entitled “The Phantom Triumphant” for excellent, hell, stunning pictures of the sets and costumes of the show as originally designed by Maria Bjornson, including the very romantic set of the Phantom’s Lair. Also, see the section after that for the complete published libretto, from which all act and scene references here are taken. Though, actual text is copied down by ear from various cast recordings. So if my punctuation doesn’t quite match the libretto, that’s why! I need to do some adjusting to my scanned version of the libretto from Perry so that it’s easier to navigate with my screen-reader to quickly find the passages I want.)

Quotes emphasizing the Phantom’s yearning for compassion rather than normalcy, and his rejection of pity:

“(Phantom) Hounded out by everyone, met with hatred everywhere, no kind word from anyone, no compassion anywhere! Christine, Christine, why? Why?” (ALW Act II scene 8. Correction, because I think I said scene 9 in the episode. My bad!)

“(Phantom) This face which earned a mother’s fear and loathing! A mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing.
Pity comes too late! Turn around and face your fate, an eternity of this before your eyes!” (ALW Act II scene 9)

“(Raoul) ‘… Does that mean nothing? I love her! Show some compassion.’ (Phantom, replying) ‘The world showed no compassion to me.’” (ALW Act II scene 9)

“(Phantom) Too late for turning back, too late for prayers and useless pity!” (ALW Act II scene 9)

Re the wedding dress, see Act I scene 5, containing the song “The Music of the Night”, and Act II scene 9.

Quotes suggesting the Phantom’s Lair as a sanctuary from normalcy, and that he is inviting Christine to share in it:

“I have brought you to the seat of sweet music’s throne… to this kingdom where all must pay homage to music… music…” (ALW Act I scene 5)

Basically all of the lyrics to “The Music of the Night”, although the invitation to share/be his partner is especially present in the final lines - “You alone can make my song take flight - help me make the music of the night…” (ALW Act I scene 5)

Quotes suggesting a conception of normalcy as mediocrity:

“…otherwise, the chorus was entrancing, but the dancing was a lamentable mess!” (ALW Act I scene 8)

“Dear Andre. Re my orchestration, we need another first bassoon. Get a player with tone. And that third trombone has to go! The man could not be deafer, so please, preferably one who plays in tune!” (ALW Act II scene 3)

“Dear Firmin. Vis-a-vis my opera, some chorus-members must be sacked. If you could find out which has a sense of pitch! Wisely, though, I’ve managed to assign a rather minor role to those who cannot act!” (ALW Act II scene 3)

Quotes emphasizing sharing/companionship in sanctuary from normalcy rather than “success”:

The final two verses of the Title Song “The Phantom of the Opera” (ALW Act I scene 4), though I’ll talk about why in a future episode.

Also, again, basically all of the lyrics to “The Music of the Night”, but especially the final lines - “You alone can make my song take flight - help me make the music of the night…” (ALW Act I scene 5)

“Pitiful creature of darkness, what kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you you are not alone!” (ALW Act II scene 9)

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