The Phantom of the Opera Strikes!

3 min read

One of the most memorable scenes form the Phantom of the Opera is that of one of the luxury chandeliers plummeting into the audience during a production. Now while the people at will make sure yours are installed properly they can’t allow for you having a deformed ex circus entertainer living secretly in your house blackmailing you. Why did the Phantom do this terrible deed? Let’s look at this famous tale to find out.

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First off, the book was not designed to be a musical number. If you’d told the author Gaston Leroux he’d have laughed at you (and thought, “hang on, there may be something in that…”). It was originally released as a serial in 1909 in four parts before being made into the novel form we know now in 1910 being adapted by another author Pierre Lafitte. Briefly the story is that a young singer, Christine, comes to Paris to be in the Opera. She hears a voice in her dressing room telling her she’s amazing but can’t find its source. The Opera managers get a letter from Le Phantom telling them she should sing and that a box should be left unused otherwise, as is the usual thing with a threat, the consequences will be dire. The Managers ignore this and true to form the lead singer gets a croak and the chandelier falls on an audience members head. Le Phantom kidnaps Christine and shows her his deformed face and then, probably not at the best of times, ask Christine to marry him. She says no because she loves someone else (Raoul). With help, Raoul attempts a rescue but is trapped in the lair of the Le Phantom. Le Phantom plays his ace card that is if Christine does not marry him he’s going to blow up the Opera house. He relents letting them all go as long as Christine visits him on his death day, which she does. She and Raoul run off together deciding that this Opera singing lark is not for her. We then learn about Le Phantom’s origins, how he was born deformed but made the best of things by learning circus skills and starting a construction company. He got the Opera house job and had a lair put in plus ways to freely move around it in case he might need to drop a chandelier on someone at some point.

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A silent film version starring Lon Chaney, looking like an angry Norman Tebbit, was the first screen adaption. The chandelier crash is in it along with the Phantom having a torture chamber as his lair, this time he is killed by a mob. It is the musical that has captured most of the attention. Andrew Lloyd Webbers epic is second most profitable musical and the third longest running show. It seems that there is life in the Old Le Phantom yet, don’t let that worry you whilst you admire the luxury chandeliers though. The Phantom of the Opera is often touring, and you can find out more about this beautiful show on the official website.

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