Phantom of the Opera Challenge – Day 10
Here’s the graphic, for a little memory-booster. We’re a third of the way into this blog challenge.
Favorite Sung Line From Act 1
Technically, it’s an entire stanza.
In the fugue section of “Prima Donna,” the opera managers (Messrs. André and Firmin) give us a little insight into how chorines were viewed during the period:
“Who’d believe a diva happy to relieve a chorus girl who’s gone and slept with her patron? Raoul and the soubrette entwined in love’s duet; although she may demur, he must have been with her. You’d never get away with all this in a play, but if it’s loudly sung and in a foreign tongue it’s just the sort of story audiences adore. In fact, the perfect opera.”
Here’s the thing: as much as we admire actors and performers today, in the 19th century they were still considered to be just one step socially above prostitutes. If you read the original Gaston Leroux novel, you’ll see this brought out: Raoul’s family is appalled that he’s considering marrying Christine. On the other hand, they are entirely unconcerned about that his older brother, Philippe, has made Jambes his mistress. It’s all right to have a little something on the side, but you don’t bring “one of those people” (for lack of a better way to put it) into the family.
I dealt with this in my own Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series; both Gilbert and Claire are in the performing world due to circumstances beyond their control, and they know that this is a social comedown.
Here’s a clip from the 2004 film, featuring Ciaran Hinds, Minnie Driver, and Simon Callow, which contains the entire fugue. Enjoy!