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The Phantom of the Opera (Bantam Classics) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1990
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Big Finish Productions radio adaptation of Gaston Leroux's novel is stunning in its faithfulness to the original work. Every character is presented as they appear in the novel. The most stirring aspect of this adaptation is that all the humor and pathos is present. The voice acting is top-notch. Perhaps most memorable is Peter Guineas' captivating portrayal of "The Phantom," or Erik. This actors voice is enthralling: gentle yet also menacing. We as listeners are drawn into this character's obsession, brilliance and pain. His most memorable quotation is, "I'm not really wicked, Christine. I'm a mirror. I reflect what's before me. All I want is someone to love me for myself". These lines, spoken so pleadingly and with such gentle earnestness, moved me to tears. The actress playing Christine is wonderful in her innocence and gradual awakening to the true nature of her "Angel of Music" or strange abductor. Another wonderful actress is the woman portraying Madame Giry. She is funny, wise and very engaging. There is not a bad performer in the entire cast.
The final thing I will say is that the music incorporated into the story is breathtaking. The composer has seamlessly woven arias from Gounod's Faust, Rosini's Otello, and other works into his score. The composition of Erik's "Don Juan Triumphant" is equally compelling, and the singers who perform for the characters of Christine and Erik are flawless.
Please give this riveting adaptation a chance. Also, do not stop the CD after the play. There are some wonderful interviews with the cast members and producers that are included. These interviews not only provide insight into the art of radio acting, but they also shed light on the actors thoughts about the characters they portray. God bless you all.
This is a fantastic rendition of Gaston Leroux's classic. The narrator has a very calm and expressive voice, and speaks slowly enough so it is easy to follow with have time to imagine what he describes, but not so slowly you lose interest or fall asleep. A very absorbing tale and so well read by Ralph Cosham. Highly recommend.
I think just about everyone should be familiar with this story. It is the story of an Opera Ghost who is mentoring Christine Daae to become a great opera singer. Of course when the Opera Ghost's wishes are not met by the new managers who run the opera house a series of disasters befall the opera company. Christine becomes increasingly entangled with the Opera Ghost and her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, tries his best to save her.
The book starts out a bit slow. It is told from the point of view of an investigator who is trying to piece together the whole story behind the Phantom of the Opera. Things really pick up as the Opera Ghost starts to torment people and Christine and Raoul start their false engagement.
My favorite part was the last third of the book when Raoul and the Persian are trying to navigate the area beneath the theater.
This book fills out some major parts of the story that you don't get in the musical. There is a lot more background on Raoul and Christine's childhood. More time is spent explaining the past of the Opera Ghost, Eric, and what made him the way he is. At the very end the investigator details how all of the ghostly things that happened in the story were done. Also the scenes under the opera house are much more vicious, involving a incredibly unique torture chamber, threats to flatten a few blocks of Paris, and more.
I was surprised at how engaging the writing style was. This was not a tough book to read at all, it was incredibly engaging and easy to read. There is a sly sense of humor in parts of the book and I found myself laughing out loud a couple times. I really enjoyed it.
My only complaint (and my husband's complaint) is that I kept humming parts of the musical as I read the book! If you are a fan of The Phantom and the Opera musical definitely check out this book; it makes parts of the musical make a lot more sense. It is much more interesting and creative and engaging than the musical too! The first third of the book is kind of slow but if you can make it though that, the rest of the book is definitely worth it!