The Phantom of the Opera

Topics: The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Palais Garnier Pages: 6 (1899 words) Published: February 24, 2013
The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. It is considered by many to be the most successful musical of all time and is also the longest running show in Broadway history. The music is composed by Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Charles Hart. Additional lyrics are by Richard Stilgoe. The book was written by Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe. The central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius. The Phantom of the Opera opened in the West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the 1986 Olivier and 1988 Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical.  It is thelongest-running Broadway show by a wide margin (celebrating its 10,000th performance on Broadway on 11 February 2012), the second longest-running West End musical, and the third longest-running West End show overall. With total worldwide box office receipts of over $5.1 billion (£3.5 billion), including a record-setting Broadway gross of US $845 million, Phantomis the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time and the most financially successful theatrical show in history. It had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries by 2011.

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 inLe 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 printseveral 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 dies and her father is brought to rural France by a patron, Professor Valerius. During Christine's childhood, her father tells her many stories featuring 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 favourite 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" 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...
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