The Opera Singers also known as the Phantoms of the Opera are ghostly opera singers who are voiced and performed by Loulie Jean Norman and Bill Reeve. They joined in the singing of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" with the female singer wailing and ad-libbing on the third verse while the male singer constantly vocalizes.
Behind the Scenes
"The crazy high soprano [in the graveyard opera scene] had the melody down, and she wouldn't get so far away from it so you couldn't recognize it. But I told her to just ad lib all over the place. I told her, 'You're supposed to be some kind of a nut here, so just do what you do best!' And that's what she did - she came up with it." - Buddy BakerThe female opera singer was performed by Loulie Jean Norman, a coloratura soprano. Her singing was adlibbed, to match the musical chaos and mayhem that Buddy Baker was looking for. She is perhaps best known for singing in the opening of the original Star Trek series.
The male opera singer was performed by William F. "Bill" Reeve. He was an accomplished sessions vocalist for artists like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in the 1950s.
In the cast-member made Ghost Gallery storyline, they are given the names of Carmen and Antonio Jones.
They were New York Opera-Singer who was the siblings of Giovanni Jones (The Beheaded Knight) and Rocco Jones (The Executioner). The four of them were all hired by George Gracey Jr. (The Ghost Host) to perform at his home of Gracey Manor in order to cheer up his melancholy wife Lillian and improve their social-standing.
During the performance of an original production written by their father called "Don Juan in the Underworld" (with Carmen and Antonio in the roles of Brunhilda and Sigfried), the performers accidentally disturbed George's psychotic second-cousin Gus Gracey (the Prisoner) who slept in the crypt they were performing at. Gus murdered all four of the performers by pulling a trap-door beneath Rocco (playing an executioner) while he had his axe raised over Giovanni's head, resulting in Giovanni getting decapitated as Rocco fell into the pit where he was beaten to death by Gus. Carmen and Antonio were killed when Gus tampered with a prop funeral-pyre and burned them alive with it's fuel-tank.
Haunted Mansion (comics)
The female opera singer appears in the Haunted Mansion comics by Slave Labor Graphics, and is called Baroness Elda. Her backstory is outlined in the story "Doom of the Diva" from Issue #6, written by Andy and Alice Price. In her mortal life, she was an opera singer losing jobs because of her diva behavior. She got a call to visit Gracey Manor for steady work, which she agreed to.
Master Gracey showed her to the stage, telling her to perform, though the audience is empty. After she started singing, the seats were filled with the happy haunts. She tried to run away, ending up on the balcony of the mansion. Gracey plead with her to stay, while pranky spirits tied one of her braids to the balcony railing. She jumped away from one of the ghosts and fell off of the balcony, breaking her neck. Now, she gets a full house, performing in the graveyard to the rest of the ghosts.
- The name "Carmen" from the Ghost Gallery is a reference to Georges Bizet's opera of the same name.
- Their proximity to the Beheaded Knight is intended to be a visual gag deriving from the expression "A Night at the Opera".
- The appearance of the two singers is a visual gag intended to be a pun on the famous novel "The Phantom of the Opera" in which a deformed songwriter named Erik lives in the catacombs beneath a Parisian Opera House and uses illusions to convince the world that he is a ghost.
- The female opera singer is sometimes referred to as Harriet, as there is a tombstone in the Liberty Square Mansion attributed to "first lady of the opera, our haunting Harriet". The tombstone is a tribute to Disney Imagineer Harriet Burns.
- The male opera singer's name is currently unknown.