The musical performance of The Phantom of the Opera is based on the novel written by Gaston Leroux in 1920. It is based on the story of a phantom that existed in the magnificent and majestical environment of Paris Opera House who fell in love with Christine Daae, the beautiful actress working there, despite of his shameful and fearing physical appearance. It is the strength of his love that she also could not restrain her heart and fell in love with a phantom. The story of The Phantom of the Opera begins when the ghost existing in the French Opera House terrorizes its cast and crew while training a chorus girl. She and her friend leave the opera house after be tortured by the phantom. One night when the girl sang the lead song the soprano called her back. The ghost insisted the soprano to give lead roles to his protege. In the mean time the chorus girl fell in love with her mentor Vicomte de Chagny whereas phantom was in love with her. Later on after being annoyed for their love story phantom kidnaps her to make his bride forever.
Initially this musical was released successfully on 9th October 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theater and Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford performed in lead roles. Since last 26 years this musical has been reproduced for several times all over the world. Even after over 10,000 performances The Phantom’ has the potential to captivate the audiences at Her Majesty’s Theatre in West End, London in its record breaking 26th year. Its jaw-dropping scenery, exciting score of Andrew Lloyd Webber, magical combination of tragedy and love story and wonderful special effects are the main factors responsible for the success of this musical. Till its success The Phantom’ has traveled a long way. By the time it has become a successful musical it has travelled through newspaper to novel then to film and two versions of stage show and again to a film. Various stories are attached with its long journey which should be reviewed while talking about the success of this musical.
The history of The Phantom of the Opera starts with the bankruptcy of its writer, Gaston Leroux who was born in 1868 in Paris. He had millions of francs when he graduated with a law degree and spent the France recklessly until he got bankrupt. When he needed a job for his livelihood he started his career as a journalist and a fiction writer. The first chapter of his mew story Le Fantôme de l’Opéra’ was published in September 1909 in Le Gaulois, a French newspaper and was completed gradually in next four months. It was also published as a novel at the same time but its publisher stopped its publishing several times due to poor response from the readers. In 1925 Universal Studios produced a successful silent film for the first time on the basis of the story of The Phantom’ written by Leroux with Lon Cheney in the lead role as Phantom. Four years after the release of silent version and the evolution of the era of talkie films, Universal Studios added music, re-shot some of its portions, dubbed its dialogues and re-released it successfully. The success of this musical horror film encouraged Universal Studio to produce a number of horror films like Dracula , Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Wolf Man etc.
In 1962 second version of The Phantom’ was released with Herbert Lom in the title role but it could not succeeded in attracting critics’ attention. Two decades later Andrew Lloyd Webber, the successful British composer of Cats’ and Evita’ thought that The Phantom of the Opera based on the story of Leroux can be produced as a good musical film. He later on commented that he was trying to write an impressive romantic story since the beginning of his career in this field and his search ended at Phantom at last. The title role was performed by Michael Crawford, Christine by Sarah Brightman and Raoul by Steve Barton when Phantom’ was released on 9th October 1986 in London’s West End. In 2010 the London production celebrated the 10,000th performance of this musical. The Phantom of the Opera has won a number of awards during its successful journey including London’s Olivier Award and Broadway’s Tony Award in the category of Best Musical. Lloyd Webber dubbed this musical feature in various other languages including Dutch, Japanese, Swedish, Hungarian and Korean etc. to release it worldwide.
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