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Life / Entertainment / Theatre / Phantom Of The Opera
Guide to the London stage musical "Phantom of the Opera "
  Main characters
  Story outline
  Background notes
  About the author (Gaston Leroux)
  Andrew Lloyd-Webber
  Further information


This page is a brief guide to the stage musical Phantom of the Opera, which had its world premiere at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End in October 1986. It is currently being staged at the same theatre, as well as at several other theatres across the world.

A sequel to the Phantom of the Opera is currently under development. Andrew Lloyd-Webber announced in September 2008 that the title will be Love Never Dies. The story is set in Coney Island (New York City) about 10 years after the beginning of the original story. It will be performed at the Adelphi Theatre starting in October or November 2009. Tickets will go on sale at the end of May 2009. Phantom of the Opera will continue to be performed at Her Majesty's Theatre.

Her Majesty's Theatre

The Complete Phantom of the Opera (book)
Author: George Perry
Publisher: Pavilion Books Ltd
Date: August 1993
The Phantom of the Opera (DVD)
[ film version of the musical ]
Studio: Entertainment in Video
Date: May 2005

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Her Majesty's Theatre is at 57 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QL (nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross). It is at the junction of Haymarket (the A4) and Charles II Street.

View Her Majesty's Theatre in a larger map

Performances start times are as follows (the theatre opens 30 minutes earlier):


The performance lasts about 2 hours 30 minutes (including a 20 minute interval).

To book a ticket to see Phantom of the Opera click on this link:
Encore Tickets

Click here to see the seating plan for this theatre.

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The following are the main characters in the musical:

Christine Daaé, a young chorus girl (dancer and singer) at the "Opéra Populaire". She is the daughter of a talented Swedish violin player. Her father died when she was 7 and her mother was already dead, so she became an orphan. She now lives in the opera house, looked after by Madame Giry.
The Phantom, a masked man who haunts the theatre, also known as the Opéra Ghost or "O.G." He sends notes to the managers to demand money, and insists that box 5 in the opera house is kept free for him during performances.
, whose official title is Vicomte de Chagny. He is the new rich patron (financial supporter) of the opera. He used to play with Christine when she was younger.

The Phantom and Christine


Madame Giry, the ballet mistress
Meg Giry, Madame Giry's daughter, a chorus girl and Christine's closest friend
Carlotta, the leading soprano (female singer), a strong Italian lady who wants to be treated like a star
Piangi, the principal tenor (male singer), also Italian
André, one of the new owners of the theatre
Firmin, one of the new owners of the theatre
Monsieur Lefèvre, the former owner of the theatre
Reyer, the man in charge of directing the rehearsals (the repetiteur)
Buquet, an old stagehand

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You may find it helpful to know the outline of the story before seeing the musical.

Act 1

It is 1919. There is a public auction in an opera house in Paris. A poster for the opera Hannibal is sold first. The next item is a musical box which plays the tune "Masquerade". Raoul (the Vicomte de Chagny) and Madame Giry (the former ballet mistress at the opera house) both bid for it. The musical box reminds Raoul of his wife Christine, who has died recently. The final item on sale is a restored chandelier, involved in a disaster caused by a ghost called the "Phantom of the Opera". We are taken back in time to learn about the story ...

Musical box (plays the song "masquerade")

Golden decoration at the opera house

The main character is a young woman called Christine. Her father was a great Swedish violinist who died when she was a young child. Before he died he promised her that he would send her the "Angel of Music". She is now living in the opera house, working as a ballet dancer. She is looked after by the ballet mistress Madame Giry, and her best friend is her daughter Meg. Christine has been taught to sing beautifully by a secret tutor. We learn that her teacher was a voice which calls to her when she is alone in her room: she thinks this is the Angel of Music sent to her by her dead father.

There are two new owners of the opera house. Madame Giry tells them about the phantom. The Phantom expects them to pay him money each month, to leave one of the opera boxes empty for him, and to follow the instructions which he leaves in letters. However, the managers ignore the Phantom's requests.

It is the first night of a new production based on the story of Hannibal. The leading lady is upset because a series of "accidents" and she walks out. Madame Giry suggests that Christine could take her place. Her voice is so good that the managers agree to let her perform that night. Raoul is the patron (financial supporter) of the opera house. He watches the performance from one of the opera boxes, and recognises Christine because they he used to play with her when they were children. He is attracted to her beauty and lovely voice, and goes to visit her backstage after the show.

When Christine is alone in her room, the phantom's face appears in her mirror. He wears a mask over part of his face. He leads her through the mirror and down a series of passageways to his secret home on an underground lake beneath the opera house. The Phantom is a composer who has been inspired by Christine and is training her to sing his music. He is obsessed with her, but he knows that she won't love him because of his horrible face. She faints and wakes the next morning to the sound of his musical box. She is curious to see the Phantom's face and angers him by taking off his mask. The Phantom allows her to return to the world above.

In sleep he sang to me
In dreams he came
That voice which calls to me
And speaks my name
And do I dream again?
For now I find
The Phantom of the Opera is here
Inside my mind

Buquet (a stagehand) sees the Phantom returning with Christine. Madame Giry warns him to say nothing, but he ignores her advice.

The Phantom demands that Christine is cast as the leading lady in the opera Il Muto, but instead she is given a silent role and Carlotta is made the leading lady. The Phantom finds a way to ruin Carlotta's voice, forcing the managers to replace her with Christine. Buquet is killed, and in the chaos which follows Raoul takes Christine to the roof for safety (while the performance continues). They state their love for each other, watched secretly by the Phantom. The Phantom is jealous of Raoul and is angry with Christine.

Act 2

The theatre organises a large masquerade (masked ball) to celebrate the New Year.

Paper faces on parade
Hide your face so the world will never find you

Christine is engaged to Raoul, but has asked him to keep it secret. The Phantom has not appeared for six months. However, he turns up at the ball and orders that they perform an opera he has written called "Don Juan Triumphant".

The Phantom appears at the masquerade,
holding a copy of his opera

The Phantom

Raoul asks Madame Giry about the Phantom. The Phantom was born with a disfigurement to his face and his mother forced him to wear a mask before selling him to a travelling fair which kept him in a cage and showed him off as part of a freak show. He escaped, and Madame Giry helped him to find a hiding place in the tunnels underneath the opera house. She was the only one who knew this secret.

Christine goes to the cemetery where her father is buried. She thinks she will be able to break the power of the Phantom over her if she can get over her sadness about her father's death. The Phantom is there and starts to draw her into his power, but Raoul appears and takes Christine away. The Phantom promises to take revenge on both of them.

It is decided to put on the Phantom's opera with Christine as the leading lady. This is meant to be a trap for the Phantom, and the police are everywhere. As part of the performance, Don Juan (played by Piangi) has disguised himself and is about to seduce a girl (played by Christine) by pretending to be her lover. The Phantom kills Piangi backstage and takes over the role of Don Juan. The words express his passion towards her and his belief that he now controls her:

Past the point of no return - no backward glances:
the games we've played till now are at an end ...
Past all thought of "if" and "when" - no use resisting:
abandon thought, and let the dream descend ...
What raging fire shall flood the soul?
What rich desire unlocks its door?
What sweet seduction lies before us ... ?

The Phantom is singing the words personally to Christine, and even uses her name:

Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime ...
Lead me, save me from my solitude ...
Say you want me with you, here beside you ...
Anywhere you go let me go too -
Christine, that's all I ask of you

Christine unmasks the Phantom, providing the signal for the police to take action. However, the Phantom uses his knowledge of the opera house to cause chaos and to escape with Christine. Madame Giry leads Raoul to the Phantom's hiding place, followed by an angry crowd. The Phantom captures Raoul and asks Christine to choose between spending her life with him or watching him kill Raoul. Christine kisses the Phantom. Moved by this act of kindness, he frees Raoul and Christine. Before the crowd arrives the Phantom disappears, leaving just his mask and his musical box ...

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The songs in the musical are listed below. The original recording is contained on 2 CDs:

Disc 1
1. Prologue
2. Overture/Hannibal
3. Think Of Me
4. Angel Of Music
5. Little Lotte/The Mirror (Angel Of Music)
6. The Phantom Of The Opera
7. The Music Of The Night
8. Magical Lasso
9. I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It
10. Notes…/Prima Donna
11. Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh
12. Why Have You Brought Me Here/Raoul I’ve Been There
13. All I Ask Of You
14. All I Ask Of You (Reprise)
Disc 2
1. Masquerade/Why So Silent
2. Madame Giry’s Tale/The Fairground
3. Journey To The Cemetery
4. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
5. Wandering Child
6. The Swordfight
7. We Have All Been Blind
8. Don Juan
9. The Point Of No Return/Chandelier Crash
10. Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer
11. Learn To Be Lonely

The Phantom of the Opera [Original Recording Remastered] (2 CDs)
Label: Polydor
Date: July 2000
Highlights from The Phantom of the Opera (CD)
Label: Polydor
Date: June 1999

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If English is not your first language you may want to read the libretto (words) before you see the show. This can be found at this website address:
Some of the words or phrases to check that you understand are as follows:

lot [in an auction] ; barrel organ ; cymbals ; vaults ; chandelier ; phantom ; childhood sweetheart ; private rendition ; diva ; ghost ; to haunt ; chorus girl ; tutor ; to coach someone ; angel ; lasso ; pageboy ; countess ; to play the lead ; prima donna ; toad ; solitude ; to betray ; to curse ; masquerade ; mask ; engagement ; (musical) score ; travelling fair ; ballerina ; architect ; genius ; cemetery ; grave ; companion ; to ensnare ; ordeal by fire ; beyond the point of no return ; abhorrent ; compassion ; to lust for something ; loathing ; fate

There are some French words / phrases in the musical. The covered items on the stage are marked in French: cygne (swan), chandelier (same in English) and boîte á musique (musical box). You will hear people's titles used, such as Madame (Madam), Mademoiselle (Miss), Monsieur (Mister), Messieurs (sirs) and Vicomte (Viscount: in the European nobility system this title ranks below a count [or an earl in Britain] but higher than a baron). The opera house is called Opéra Populaire, which means "popular opera". Other French words and expressions include: répétiteur (in opera the person responsible for coaching singers and playing the piano for music and production rehearsals); ballet (a popular form of classical dance); patron (a financial supporter, for example of the arts); tour de force (a demonstration of great skill); ingénue (an innocent young woman in a story - like Christine in this musical); encore (a repeat performance); soubrette (a type of soprano voice in opera); crème de la crème (the best of the best, literally "cream of the cream")

There are also some Italian words / phrases in the musical, such as: Signora (Madam); Signor (Mister); Roma (Rome); Andiamo! (let's go!); Brava! (the female version of bravo, which means "great!"); bravissima (the greatest!); Padre mio! (My Lord!); (Gran) Dio! (God!); prima donna (first lady); Addio! (goodbye!); Il Muto (the silent man); Maestro (Master); Che imbroglio! (what a cheat!); più non posso! (I can't do it any more!). Many Italian words connected with music or the opera are used in English as well, including tenor, soprano, diva and aria.

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The start of the musical is in Paris in about 1910. By this time electric lighting has been introduced, and cars are being used on the roads. The main story is set in Paris in 1870, a peaceful and prosperous time in France, just before the start of the Franco-Prussian war. Gas lighting was still being used at that time, and horses and carriages are being used for transport. The story takes place in the "Opera Populaire". This is not a real place, but is clearly based on the Paris Opera House (also known as the Opera Garnier), the largest opera theatre in the world. The author Gaston Leroux visited the Opera House while it was under construction (it was built between 1857 and 1874). The Paris Opera House is built above an underground river that leads to a lake. This provided the inspiration for the phantom's hiding place.

The Paris Opera House

The grand staircase

The first opera in the story is based on the story of Hannibal. Hannibal was a military leader for Carthage (now Tunisia) in Iberia (now Spain). In the Second Punic War (218-203 BC) he marched from Spain across South France into northern Italy, crossing the mountains (the Pyrenees and the Alps) with an army which included elephants. Although he was a great general and won some victories over the Romans, he was unable to capture Rome.

The Phantom's opera is called Don Juan Triumphant. The legend of Don Juan (known as Don Giovanni in Italian) originated in Spain, but many different authors and composers have written their own versions of the story (one of the most famous is Mozart's "Don Giovanni"). Don Juan is a man who seduces many women by tricking them, for example by disguising himself as their lover. He kills the angry father of one of the women he has seduced. Later he comes across the dead man's statue. When the statue offers to shake his hand and Don Juan accepts, he is dragged down to Hell. The Devil tells him to wear the clothes of a jester (a fool) but Don Juan protests - he thinks he has shown he is better than other men because he had seduced so many women. The Devil tells him he does not need to wear the jester's clothes if he can correctly name one of the women he has seduced. Each of them is paraded in front of him, but Don Juan fails to name them correctly. Finally he is shown one woman who is crying - she is the only one of them who really loved him. Don Juan then sees that he has indeed been a fool, and accepts the jester's clothes. The Phantom's version of Don Juan shows a different

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If you are not a native English speaker you may find it difficult to hear all of the the words of the songs. You may find it helpful to read the story outline above and to check the vocabulary, as this will help you to follow the story..
Age: Adults will enjoy this production. It is quite a dark story and is not recommended for those under 14.
Music: There is music throughout the performance. You do not need to be like operas to enjoy this musical - a variety of styles of music are performed.

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The story is based on a book "Le Fantôme de l'opéra", written in 1910 by the French author Gaston Leroux (1868-1927)

The Phantom of the Opera (Penguin Popular Classics) (book)
Author: Gaston Leroux
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date: May 1995

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The music of Phantom of the Opera was composed by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. He has written the music for many other popular shows, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita and Cats.

Gold (2 CDs)
Artist: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Label: Polydor
Date: September 2006

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- Official website for the musical:
- Her Majesty's Theatre is at Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QR (nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus; map)

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British theatre: Life/Entertainment/Theatre
West End Live: Ideas/Album/West-End-Live

If you like Phantom of the Opera you may also be interested in these musicals:
Les Miserables: Life/Entertainment/Theatre/Les-Miserables
Carousel: Life/Entertainment/Theatre/Carousel

Guide to Paris: Travel/Tours/Paris
Opera, ballet and concerts: Life/Entertainment/Concerts
Studying English: English

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