The Phantom of the Opera
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|The Phantom of the Opera|
1920 edition [France]
|Original title||Le Fantôme de l'Opéra|
|Language||Originally French, translated into English|
|Publisher||Pierre Lafitte and Cie.|
|Publication date||September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910|
|Published in English||1911|
|Media type||Print (Serial)|
The Phantom of the Opera (French: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra) is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialisation in Le Gaulois from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910. Initially, the story sold very poorly upon publication in book form and was even out of print several times during the twentieth century; it is overshadowed by the success of its various film and stage adaptations. The most notable of these were the 1925 film depiction, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical.
Gaston Leroux claims that Erik, the "Phantom of the Opera", was a real person. We are then introduced to Christine Daaé who with her father, a famous fiddler, traveled all over Europe playing folk and religious music. When Christine is six, her mother died and her father is brought to rural France by a patron, Professor Valerius.
During Christine's childhood, her father tells her many stories about an "Angel of Music", who is the personification of musical inspiration. Christine meets and befriends the young Raoul, Viscount of Chagny. One of Christine and Raoul's favorite stories is one of Little Lotte, a girl who is visited by the Angel of Music and possesses a heavenly voice.
Christine now lives with 'Mamma' Valerius, the elderly widow of her father's benefactor.
Christine is eventually given a position in the chorus at the Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier). She begins hearing a beautiful, unearthly voice which sings to her and speaks to her. She believes this must be the Angel of Music and asks him if he is. The Voice agrees and offers to teach her "a little bit of heaven's music". The Voice, however, belongs to Erik, a physically deformed and mentally disturbed musical genius who was one of the architects who took part in the construction of the opera. He is in love with Christine. He has also been extorting money from the Opera's management for many years, and is also called the "Opera Ghost" by the denizens of the Opera.
Christine triumphs at the gala on the night of the old managers' retirement (the Opera's prima-donna, Carlotta, is ill). Her old childhood friend Raoul hears her and remembers his love for her. He then hears the "Angel of Music" speaking to Christine.
A time after the gala, the Paris Opera performs Faust, with the prima donna Carlotta playing the lead, against Erik's wishes. In response to a refused surrender of Box Five to the Opera Ghost, Carlotta loses her voice and the grand chandelier plummets into the audience.
After the chandelier accident, Erik kidnaps Christine to his home in the cellars and reveals his true identity. He plans to keep her there only a few days, hoping she will come to love him, and Christine begins to find herself attracted to her abductor. But she causes Erik to change his plans when she unmasks him and, to the horror of both, beholds his face, which according to the book, resembles the face of a rotting corpse. Erik goes into a frenzy, stating she probably thinks his face is another mask, and whilst digging her fingers in to show it was really his face he shouts, "I am Don Juan Triumphant!" before crawling away, crying. Fearing that she will leave him, he decides to keep her with him forever, but when Christine requests release after two weeks, he agrees on condition that she wear his ring and be faithful to him.
Up on the roof of the opera house, Christine tells Raoul of Erik taking her to the cellars. Raoul promises to take Christine away where Erik can never find her and to take her even if she resists. Raoul tells Christine he shall act on his promise the following day, to which Christine agrees, but she pities Erik and will not go until she has sung for him one last time. Christine then realizes the ring has slipped off her finger and fallen into the streets somewhere, and begins to panic. The two leave. But neither is aware that Erik has been listening to their conversation or that it has driven him to jealous frenzy. During the week and that night, Erik had been terrorizing anyone who stood in his way or in that of Christine's career, including the managers.
The following night, Erik kidnaps Christine during a production of Faust (by drugging the gas men and switching the lights off, he spirits Christine off the stage before anyone turned the lights on). Back in the cellars, Erik tries to force Christine into marriage. If she refuses, he threatens to destroy the entire opera house using explosives he has planted in the cellars, killing them and everyone in the floors above. Christine continues to refuse, until she realizes that Raoul and an old acquaintance of Erik's known only as "The Persian", in an attempt to rescue her, have been trapped in Erik's hot torture chamber. To save them and the people above, Christine agrees to marry Erik. At first, Erik tries to drown Raoul and the Persian in the water used to douse the explosives, stating that Christine doesn't need another. But Christine begs and offers to be his "living bride", promising him not to kill herself after becoming his bride, as she had both contemplated and attempted earlier in the novel. Erik rescues the Persian and the young Raoul from his torture chamber thereafter. When Erik is alone with Christine, he lifts his mask a little to kiss her on the forehead, and Christine allows him to do this. Erik, who admits that he has never before in his life received or been allowed to give a kiss (not even from his own mother), is overcome with emotion. Christine gives him a kiss back. He lets Christine go and tells her "Go and marry the boy whenever you wish", explaining, "I know you love him". She leaves on the condition that when he dies she will come back and bury him.
Being an old acquaintance, The Persian is told of all these secrets by Erik himself, and upon his express request, the Persian advertises Erik's death in the newspaper about three weeks later. The cause of death is revealed to be a broken heart, and as promised, Christine returns to bury Erik and she gives him the ring back.
- Erik: The "Phantom" and "Opera-Ghost".
- Christine Daaé: A young Swedish soprano.
- Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny: Christine's childhood friend and love interest.
- The Persian: A mysterious man from Erik's past.
- Comte Philippe de Chagny: Raoul's elder brother.
- Armand Moncharmin and Firmin Richard: The managers of the opera house.
- Madame Giry: The suspicious caretaker for Box Five.
- Meg Giry: Madame Giry's only daughter, a ballet girl. Later becomes Mme. la Baronne de Castelot-Barbezac.
- Debienne and Poligny: The previous managers of the opera house.
- Joseph Buquet: The chief scene-shifter.
- Little Jammes: A friend of Meg and also a ballet girl.
- La Carlotta: A spoiled prima donna; the lead soprano of the Paris opera house.
- Mercier: The acting-manager.
- Gabriel: The superstitious chorus-master.
- Mifroid: The commissary of police called in for Christine's disappearance.
- Remy: The manager's secretary.
- The inspector: An inspector hired to investigate the strange affairs in Box Five.
- Shah and the sultan: The two kings that tried to kill Erik after he made them a palace.
- La Sorelli: the lead ballerina and woman with whom Comte de Chagny spent time. Also labelled Annie Sorelli, though this is questionable
a wild chicken: all around the opera house
There have been numerous literary and dramatic works based on The Phantom of the Opera, ranging from musicals to films to children's books. Well-known stage and screen adaptations of the novel include Universal Pictures' 1925 silent film version starring Lon Chaney, Universal Picures' Acadamy Award winning 1943 Technicolor version starring Claude Raines, Ken Hill's 1976 musical at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which first opened in London's West End with Michael Crawford in the title role and Sarah Brightman as Christine Daae, and Phantom (1991) by Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit, which has received over 1,000 productions. The 1986 musical was in 2004 adapted as a film starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Phantom of the Opera|
|French Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- "The Phantom of the Opera: an unsettling and unsettled novel" by Mireille Ribière
- The Phantom of the Opera, an external wiki
- The Phantom of the Opera, audio version (French)
- Digitized Issues of Le Gaulois from 5 July 1868 to 30 March 1929 from Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
- Translations of Gaston Leroux's Original Novel.