The Phantom on Film
Screen adaptations of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra: Routes of cultural transfer
Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (1909-10) may not be great literature, but it is a unique record of the most important social and artistic institution in the ‘capital of the nineteenth century’, Paris. More significant still, since the novel’s publication it has radically transcended that historical-geographical specificity and become the object of constant creative re-interpretation all over the world. Nowhere is this more compellingly illustrated than in the fifty-plus screen adaptations — silent films and talkies, horror films and musicals, cartoons and telenovelas and more — that have been made in places as far apart as Hollywood, Brazil and China between 1916 and today.
Through its International Networks Grant scheme, the Leverhulme Trust in the UK has funded this global interdisciplinary research project to map the mechanisms and extraordinary extent of cultural transfer represented by the ‘Phantom on Film’ phenomenon.
Led by Cormac Newark at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, the project team includes:
- Annette Davison (University of Edinburgh, UK)
- Giorgio Biancorosso (University of Hong Kong, China)
- Roberto Calabretto (Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy)
- John Snelson (Royal Opera House, UK)
- Maria Immacolata Vassallo de Lopes (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil)
- Jacqueline Avila (University of Tennessee, USA)
Plans for dissemination in 2016-18 include presentations at international conferences (e.g. at the Music and the Moving Image conference in New York City in May 2016 and the International Musicological Society in Tokyo in March 2017), but equally important to the project’s aims is the involvement of a broad cross-section of voices from academia (communication studies to cultural history) and beyond (readers; film enthusiasts; internet forum members; social media users; and, of course, ‘phans’).