Seriously, I remember wondering this the first time I watched the movie. And when I watched the musical.
I mean…it can’t be that she’s bad at her job, right?
Regardless of what the movie implies, why on earth would an opera house hire a soprano, and keep her for umpteen seasons, if she wasn’t any good at it?
Wherefore this intense loathing, dude?
Well, I’ve got a theory.
It goes like this: Carlotta is a Diva with a capital D. She suffers no fools, she takes no crap, and she’s not short on confidence. She knows what she wants and she goes for it, regardless of anyone else’s opinions or feelings on the subject.
All of which will serve you well in the cutthroat world of opera.
(All things which Christine lacks. Stick with me, we’ll get to that.)
So…what if the Phantom approached Carlotta all those years ago when she first came to the Opera Populaire?
What if he pulled his whole brooding angel of music ‘look at your face in the mirror’ schtick on her?
Pictured: Not Gonna Happen.
I mean, Carlotta is at least a good ten years older than Christine, making her more of an age peer with His Royal Broodiness.
I really can’t imagine her consenting to take lessons from a mysterious masked creeper who randomly appears in her room one night. Can you?
Angel of Music? Don’t make her laugh. If anyone is the Angel of Music, it is surely La Carlotta Giudicelli, do you really think she’s going to take advice from a Peeping Tom in eveningwear?
Hell no. She’s way too good for that nonsense.
And so the Phantom hates Carlotta not because her acting is a bit shaky or her timbre is inadequate, but because she sent him off with a flea in his ear for
a) breaking into her room in the middle of the night, ew, and
b) suggesting she was in any way inadequate to the task of being the opera’s leading lady.
No wonder he made a beeline for Christine Daae. Naive, shy, quiet, orphan, not an outstanding talent, low self-esteem?
Easy target, man. Easy target.
Pictured: Sweet Summer Child.
TL;DR: The Phantom hates Carlotta because she wouldn’t dateidolisepander to take singing lessons from him when she first arrived.
It’s dawned on me just how terrible Carlotta and Ubaldo had it in the ALW musical.
Act 1: Carlotta’s just some aging popular soprano who wants to be pretty and sing for as long as she can. The attention is nice too tbh.
Ubaldo is her wicked supportive costar and lover who sticks up for her when fucking terrifying stage accidents keep happening to her. And the ballet rats have this creepy chant they have to do every goddamn time it happens.
NOBODY can stop this bullshit.
Seriously, the management even changes hands and it’s all the same shit. She finally flees for her life after nearly getting taken out by a backdrop.
Turns out, some creepy, ugly, violent basement dweller just thinks she’s old and wants his crush to take her spot instead.
The management really seems to want her back though. She’s terrified and prideful, but loves music and attention, so accepts after a lot of much-needed encouragement.
Bad news: Phantom’s at opening night. She uses Christine as a scapegoat for her nerves/trying to stick it to the opera creep, and is summarily humiliated in front of everyone who matters in Paris.
Act 2: It’s been a little while, the chandelier crash wasn’t great for Carlotta’s nerves, but at least she has her ever-faithful Ubaldo to help her through the tough times.
Goddamn basement creeper is back with his shitty avant garde opera.
OK, maybe her acting isn’t great, but she’s gotten this far on prima la voce and she’s not going to stop now.
AND HER LOVER IS GARROTED BACKSTAGE FOR BEING INCONVENIENT TO THE PHANTOM’S BONER (by singing the role the Phantom cast him in, might I add). His only fucking crime was being a tenor and doing his job. You know, actual work, NOT extorting the management for 20k/month (yes it’s francs, but still).
Ohhh so the Phantom is a sad boi? Didn’t get the girl? Loved and lost? Got a little booboo on his kokoro? Sings quietly to his monkey box a bit before skipping town?
Carlotta’s long term boyfriend (husband?) is dead. Phantom’s lucky he made it to Coney Island and changed his name from Phantom to Mr. Y before she could find him, exact her righteous soprano revenge, and use his skull as a prop the next time Hannibal got picked for a season.