‘Phantom of the Opera’ and I

By Julie Javellana-Santos

Last Sunday I watched the movie “Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall” with my husband and teenaged kids. This was the opera’s 25th anniversary presentation filmed in its entirety for movie audiences and particularly for those left disappointed that the entire play was not in the movie of the same title released in 2004.

Well, I was one of those disappointed a few years back so I rushed over to see this movie. And I was pleasantly surprised when the movie featured, not just interviews by the composer and heads of the production, but the entire play as well!

Although the lyrics were a bit different, I and my husband could sing along to the music. We could even look forward to our respective favorite songs (as expected mine was All I Ask of You while his was Masquerade).

But I was even more surprised that my older daughter liked the play too. In fact, she was singing along with the lead actors and added that she had to have all the songs on her iPod’s playlist!

After the movie, I mentioned to my daughter that her dad and I were hooked on “Phantom of the Opera”. A friend had given us photocopies of the libretto once upon a time so we could sing along to the tapes (there were hardly any CDs then). This we did almost every night. And yes, that was around the time I was pregnant with her.

Of course she pooh-poohed the possible connection. After all, she said, it was only a few years back that she found out she liked “Phantom of the Opera”.

I distinctly remember, however, the words of my lamaze or natural childbirth teacher that a baby in the womb will recognize the music her mother used to play while pregnant. I then remembered having a cassette of classical music on my Walkman (the predecessor of the iPod) when I watched “Star Wars I” (the first prequel to George Lucas’ “Star Wars” trilogy) during the eighth month of my second pregnancy.

I had placed the earphones close to my tummy while playing this music because I was afraid my baby would be bothered with all the sound effects which accompanied the movie’s fight scenes.

When my baby was born, she would fall asleep to the same music and grew up singing, something she definitely did not get from me.

I am not much of a music buff, but I wanted my daughters to grow up otherwise. I guess I was able to make sure that they did so.