|Credit: Michael Le Poer Trench|
Not only was she so wonderfully whimsical and dreamy and "head-in-the-clouds," but she was so clever with her interpretation because she acknowledged environment!
A few HUGE examples that made a world of difference:
1. When Carlotta was singing "Think of Me," Sofia played with her hair and breathed in the theatre, as if she were imagining she would one day get to do just that.
2. At the end of her singing debut on the opera house stage, and she accepts her curtain call encore (an amazing reverse perspective moment), she looked up in the direction of where Box 5 would be (based on where it is during the scene prior), where the Phantom's seat is reserved (though he is not physically seen there). This is an acknowledgement that the Phantom and the Angel are, in her mind, THE SAME PERSON. It is no shock to her that the Angel controls the opera house for her.
3. After she reveals the Phantom's identity to the audience and guards at the end of "The Point of No Return," Sofia flung herself to the ground center stage and begged to the conductor, "Help me!" then ran to the downstage left exit where the managers told her to stay with him. This is embracing the given circumstances! Because, y'know, she's spent the past hour of the show trying to break away from him in spite of her artistic ambitions, he's a seeming madman who wants to kidnap her, she's ONSTAGE IN FRONT OF OVER 1000 PEOPLE at the PARIS OPERA HOUSE. You know, things that make the scene really intense and helps us understand why she unmasks him. She wants to ESCAPE or fight back while he's vulnerable in front of the crowd. But, oops, he kidnaps her, instead.
Proof is in the pooding about her fight for independence from this Q&A: "As for the [costume] which makes me feel most like Christine, I think it’s probably the first one - the Hannibal costume - where she is exactly the same as all the other girls, where she is in her world and the one she feels most comfortable in.”
That is all.