The Stories of Michelle Rodriguez


My True Love

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!!

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Reply Gemma
6:04 PM on September 23, 2011 
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said a love for Phantom gets into your blood. I know in my case, it's really shaped who I am and how I see the world (it even cured my arachnophobia!) It started with Leroux's novel, but it was Webber's music that set it in stone. There's really no perfect way to say just how deeply the story moves you, is there? And you're right: I LOVE the dolls! :)
Reply Rose Greenwood
7:03 PM on September 23, 2011 
I look at the Phantom obsession as more a matter of soul, but the feeling is the same. I didn't really sing because of Phantom when I started, but now I almost do, only because the music feels like part of my soul and so I almost have to. I'm an alto though, so I don't get all the lovely soaring high notes. I sing more of Erik's range. :)
Reply El
9:26 AM on September 24, 2011 
I don't think I ever told you how I came across Phantom of the Opera, did I? Well, I was... like 16? Give or take a year. Anyway, I took a detour to find my way to Erik: I was in love with the Musical show "Dance of the Vampires" (still am :-)) and I begged my parents to let me go and see it. But at that time, the show was too far away from our home, so they gave me tickets for "The Phantom of the Opera" instead. It was a small production in our home town, so my mum and I went there together one winter's evening.
No, it wasn't ALW. It was... I don't even recall. But the moment this strange, sad, powerful masked man came on stage, I was upright in my seat. Who was this? What was his story? Why was his story the way it was?
I was obsessed from that moment on (is it necessary to mention that the actor playing Erik had a wonderful voice? I don't know... but I totally understood why Christine was so... well, she was enchanted in this production).
And yes, my love for Phantom cured my arachnophobia, too! :) I just can kill or hurt them anymore without feeling guilty because of Erik!
Your dolls are adorable! I totally love the details of Christine's dress and I'm head over heels for Erik - he's just so... Erik!! :)
I think, that fact that I am who I am is very much due to the fact that I love Phantom - and that I learned very much from the story. About life, about people and mostly about myself.
Reply [email protected]
3:54 PM on September 24, 2011 
I LOVE everyone's phantom stories!! It's so much fun to hear what you all think of phantom and how you became enchanted with the story!! :) Phantom did NOT kill my arachnophobia! El knows the story about the giant spider in my laundry basket that I pummeled while shouting "Die, Die, Die". Ya, still don't sympathize with spiders, especially huge, hairy-bodied ones in my laundry! (shudder!!!)
Reply mountain harmony
8:22 PM on September 27, 2011 
If I had been smitten by the Phantom at your age, I would have done the same thing by singing and acting it out. It's amazing how the story captures such a wide range of people! You know my story about the '04 movie, bad hot dog and non-interest in the Phantom...until....I went to the Vegas POTO...oh smitten bad. My sister sent the "Highlights" CD and I've practically worn it out and my voice. I've gone to 3 more Vegas POTOs, read LeRoux's book numerous times plus reading all of your perfect Phantom fix stories....just can't get enough...and yes, it's in my blood! ALW's music, the pipe organ and Erik's all consuming passion. The dolls and costumes are the pose with Christine's hand to Erik's face "Touch me, trust me, savour each sensation".