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The Phantom of the Opera  
Phantom of the Opera Cover.jpg
1921 edition
Author Gaston Leroux
Original title Le Fantôme de l'Opéra
Country France
Language French
Genre(s) Gothic novel
Publisher Pierre Lafitte and Cie.
Publication date September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910
Published in
Media type Print (Serial)
OCLC Number 15698188

The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra) is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialization 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, despite 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. The Phantom of the Opera musical is now the longest running Broadway show in history, and one of the most lucrative entertainment enterprises of all time.



Christine Daaé's mother died when she was very young. She and her father, a famous violinist, traveled all over Sweden playing folk and religious music. Her father was known to be the best wedding fiddler in the land. During Christine's childhood, her father told her many stories. A character known as the Angel of Music figured heavily in them, especially one about a girl he called Little Lotte, who was able to hear the Angel of Music. When Christine meets and befriends Raoul, he also enjoys her father's many stories.

Later, when Father Daaé is dying - probably of tuberculosis - he tells Christine that when he dies he will send the Angel of Music to her. Christine grieves for her father endlessly. She lives with an elderly woman whose now deceased husband had been her father's benefactor.

Christine is eventually given a position in the chorus at the Paris Opera House. Not long after she arrives there, she begins hearing a 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 disfigured genius who was on the construction crew when the Opera was built and who secretly built into the cellars a home for himself. He is the Opera ghost ("Fantôme" in French can be translated as both "ghost" and "phantom") who has been extorting money from the Opera's management for many years. Unknown to Christine, at least at first, he has fallen in love with her.

With the help of the Voice, Christine triumphs at the gala on the night of the old managers' retirement. Her old childhood friend Raoul hears her and remembers his love for her. After the gala, Erik takes Christine to live in his home in the cellars, but after two weeks, when Christine requests release, he agrees, on condition that she wears his ring and is faithful to him.

Up on the roof of the Opera, Christine tells Raoul of Erik taking her to the cellars. Raoul promises to take Christine away where Erik can never find her. 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. The two leave, unaware that Erik was listening to their conversation. During the week and that night however, Erik has been terrorizing anyone who stood in his way, or in the way of Christine's career, including the managers.

The following night, Erik kidnaps Christine during a production of Faust. Back in the cellars, Erik tries to force Christine into marrying him. If she refuses he will destroy the entire Opera using explosives planted in the cellars, killing everyone in it including himself and Christine. Christine continues to refuse, until she realizes that Raoul and a man known only as 'The Persian', in an attempt to rescue her, have been trapped in Erik's torture chamber. To save them and the people above, Christine agrees to marry Erik and kisses him. Erik, who admits that he has never before in his life received a kiss - not even from his own mother - is overcome with emotion. He lets Christine go and tells her "go and marry the boy whenever you wish", explaining that "I know you love him." They cry together, and then she leaves. Three weeks later, a notice appears in a Paris newspaper stating that Erik is dead.


  • Erik — The "Phantom", a deformed man (believed to be a ghost) who lives in the catacombs of the opera house and is obsessed with Christine Daaé.
  • Christine Daaé — A young, Swedish soprano.
  • Raoul, Viscount de Chagny — Christine's childhood friend and love interest.
  • The Persian — A mysterious man from Erik's past.
  • Count Philippe de Chagny — Raoul's elder brother.
  • Moncharmin and Richard — The managers of the opera house.
  • Meg GiryMadame Giry's only daughter, a ballet girl.
  • Carlotta — The spoiled prima donna.
  • Joseph Buquet — The chief scene-shifter.
  • Debienne and Poligny — The previous managers of the opera house.
  • La Sorelli — The lead ballet dancer.
  • Little Jammes — A friend of Meg and also a ballet girl.
  • Rémy — The manager's secretary.
  • Mercier — The acting-manager.
  • Gabriel — The superstitious chorus-master.
  • Mme. la Baronne de Castelot-Barbezac — Meg as an adult.
  • Mifroid — The commissary of police called in for Christine's disappearance.


There are currently 5 English translations of 'The Phantom of the Opera'. The original french text, in its entirety was 498 pages long. Subsequent translations tend to be shorter. The first English translation, by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos in 1911, cut the novel down to just 357 pages, sometimes omitting entire paragraphs or chapters. This is still the most widespread version of the book; due to it being the first English translation (and the only one up until 1990), publishers may assume that it is unabridged, and so will republish it as a "complete and unabridged" or "original" version, unknowingly misleading those who purchase these copies. Unless a copy credits a particular translator it is likely to be the Teixeira de Mattos translation. Currently, four other English translations are in circulation: a 1990 edition by Lowell Bair; 'The essential phantom of the opera : The definitive, annotated edition of Leroux’s classical novel', edited by Leonard Wolf, published in 1996; another, by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, published in 2004; and a completely new translation by Mireille Ribière published in 2009 to coincide with the centenary of the first publication.


The original French book publication of 1910 was illustrated with five oil paintings by André Castaigne. The paintings served as an inspiration for the 1925 film, and have appeared in many subsequent reprintings and translations.


See: The Phantom of the Opera (adaptations)

There have been numerous literary and dramatic works based on The Phantom of the Opera, ranging from musicals to films to children's books. The best known stage and screen adaptations of the novel are probably the 1925 silent film version starring Lon Chaney, Sr. and the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which first opened in London's West End. This musical was adapted into a 2004 film, directed by Joel Schumacher. It starred Gerard Butler as Erik, Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae, and Patrick Wilson as Raoul. Brian DePalma wrote and directed a 1974 film called Phantom of the Paradise, which was loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera.

Among novels, Susan Kay's 1990 Phantom is one of the best known and most beloved by fans, particularly for its in-depth study of Erik's life and experiences. More recently Big Finish released an audio adaptation of the story with success.


External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Phantom of the Opera article)

From Wikisource

The Phantom of the Opera
by Gaston Leroux, translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos
The Phantom of the Opera is the most famous novel by Gaston Leroux. It is believed to be based in George du Maurier's Trilby. — Excerpted from The Phantom of the Opera on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


This translation is hosted with different licensing information than from the original text. The translation status applies to this edition.
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1927, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1921, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Simple English

The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra in France) is a French novel by Gaston Leroux. It was published in 1910; an English edition came out a year later.

The book was turned into a famous stage musical (play with songs) by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986.

Several movie versions have been made, most notably in 1925, 1943, 1974 (as Brian de Palma's The Phantom of the Paradise) and 2004.


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