|Posted by [email protected] on September 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM|
Phantom of the Opera is my obsession. I know all my phantom fans and friends can totally relate and understand how a man in a mask can make the pulse race. People who don’t develop that odd appreciation for disfigured, misunderstood souls will never understand just how deeply it can affect a person. It gets into your blood until all you want is an Erik of your very own. This is my story of how I was first afflicted with the phantom bug!
It started for me in high school. I was a freshman in my first real chorus class and like most high school age kids, I heard the words “Phantom of the Opera” and thought opera. At that time, I had no taste for opera. I thought of rather large ladies with horns and breastplates, the same as most first impressions of opera. But then I heard the music… And that was it; I was obsessed. When phantom came into my life, it was a time when I was figuring out who I was. I was in choir because I loved to sing and knew I had a decent voice, but evidently, it was more than that. My teacher was impressed and pushed me into private lessons. Up until that point, I had never envisioned myself in the world of opera, never considered pursuing music, never knew singing as more than an enjoyment. So coming across the phantom story at the same time made me feel like it was MY story. Of course, I was a very daydreamy, fairytale oriented girl,and every phantom fan has their own connection to the story and their own wish for it to be real. But I am not ashamed to admit that at high school age, I truly believed it was going to happen someday to me! Yes, that is ridiculous! But what can I say? Ridiculous isn’t always a bad thing.
My first impression of phantom was the ALW musical. I would act out the songs in my bedroom in front of my vanity mirror and imagine every detail brought to life. I sang “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” in a long, black cloak that I had to have from a Halloween shop. I acted out the unmasking scene and “unmasked” an invisible Erik. Allright, it’s a little embarrassing to admit to those things, but the point is that for me, it was a deep love, something greater than the real world could give me. It was another story to live within, a better world than the one I lived in.
Erik was my first true love. I always say writing him taught me how to write believable male characters, and it’s true. He is the embodiment of passion and love, of aggression and violence, of a figure one must pity as much as love and fear as much as want. Phans love Erik because he wants love, because he is tortured and the perfect love seems the very key to fixing him. A man denied every God-given right a human being has, a man shunned because of things he can’t change, a man who loves so fiercely and so passionately that he kills to keep it. In real life, such truths would make our gut reaction speak up and insist to stay away. But in the world of stories, we don’t have to consider fear and can simply love Erik back.
As I’ve told people who’ve asked, I never performed from ALW’s Phantom, not for anyone other than my stuffed animals and dolls, but I did sing from Yeston’s “Phantom”. I got the honor of being Christine in those beautiful pieces. As a sophomore in high school, I performed “My True Love” with a lace cloak over my dress that my mother made out of her wedding veil. I walked through the theatre aisle during the introduction to start singing on the stairs that led up to the stage and truly seem like I was searching for my Erik. I was young and naïve, and to me, that was one of my favorite performances because for a few minutes, I got to live my dreams.
So I’m going to discuss Phantom in a few separate posts because I have so much to say on the topic and every version that has influenced my portraits of Erik and Christine. But for now, this is my introduction, and as an added detail, as promised, here are my dolls dressed as Erik and Christine. They came out so lovely! I had the dress custom made by a wonderful designer of doll clothing, Terrie Nielsen. She does absolutely amazing work! This is her webpage:
I hope you enjoy my mini Erik and Christine!!