Musical affect and the emotion–cognition interaction in The Phantom of the Opera

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title



Springer Netherlands


School of Arts and Humanities


Karali, S. N. (2020). Musical affect and the emotion–cognition interaction in The Phantom of the Opera. Neohelicon, 47, 249–263. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11059-020-00525-2


This essay explores how the Broadway musical of The Phantom of the Opera blurs the traditional distinction between cognition and emotion with the use of operatic music and librettos. Over the years, the musical has outshone the novel in its immediacy to exert a direct influence on the audience. The overall popularity of the musical points to the successful use of music supported by visual feast and narration. The general effect of Phantom over the audience also contributes to the problematization of mind-body dualism in affect theory and literary criticism, which also surfaces in cognitive psychology as emotion–cognition interaction. It is self-evident that music constitutes the fundamental unit of musical theatres. Thus, the main analysis dwells on the intertwined relationship between music and affect studies in order to explain the underlying reason why Leroux’s literary work has taken a back seat to Webber’s musical theatre, though the former provides an undeniably rich source for the latter and originally frames the debate on consciousness and the mind-body problem. © 2020, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.