While I was in New York City, living it up on 7th and 27th, I decided that I would go see a musical, with friends, on Broadway. However, being the 'buy-first-think-later' student that I am, most of the musicals were out of my price range. The suitcase load of cheaper comics and novels had something to do with this. However, I did have enough cash to go with two of the ladies on the trip and get tickets to The Phantom of the Opera
with Peter Jöback staring as the eponymous character. We all dressed up as you do, for a touch of fun, though I gladly admit the girls looked far more elegant and lovely than myself. And it was a night of friendship and bonding, which we loved for the story, drama, visuals and music
The book, as is want for novels and their adaptations, differs from the musical to a reasonable degree. Yet the basic premise of the story remains the same. There is the gothic doomed love triangle, as with other works like [b:Romeo and Juliet|18135|Romeo and Juliet|William Shakespeare|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327872146s/18135.jpg|3349450], in which the handsome, young Viscount Raoul vies for the love of Christine Daae with the dreadful Opera Ghost (if you prefer: The Angel of Music or The Phantom of the Opera).
The writing is elegant, yet hints at and remains grounded in sensibilities from the more romantic eras. This helps create a tone similar to and different from such works as [b:Dracula|17245|Dracula|Bram Stoker|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347251549s/17245.jpg|3165724] or [b:The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings|391729|The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings|Edgar Allan Poe|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327936583s/391729.jpg|1383053]. Some certainly might find the manner of storytelling and writing, therefore, dry, old-fashioned or otherwise simplistic. Yet, for myself the novel worked on the whole to further the gothic sense given by the play and highlighted several key points at which the play did not reveal the truth of what was happening as well.
So, which is superior? I would have to admit that the play has a great visual acuity which better helps define the gothic ambience of the story and reveal the forbidden romance elements and therefore stands superior for the most part. Yet both stories serve to question how it is that we as individuals can put on masks to hide our identities from those we love and from humanity in general. As such the true horror of this story is not that of the Phantom, but of how humanity so responds to the wretched outcasts, turning away those who deserve pity and aid.