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The Phantom of the Opera

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Overview

The actors, singers, and patrons of the Paris Opera House say that a ghost haunts the labyrinthine chambers beneath its stage. While there are those who laugh off such superstitions, they always do so nervously, in the bright light of day. Nearly everyone connected with the Opera House in any way has felt the phantom's vague, troubling presence. But beautiful, talented young singer Christine Daae will soon experience a terror far more acute than any vague feeling of unease. For she is about to learn the secret of...
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The Phantom of the Opera

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Overview

The actors, singers, and patrons of the Paris Opera House say that a ghost haunts the labyrinthine chambers beneath its stage. While there are those who laugh off such superstitions, they always do so nervously, in the bright light of day. Nearly everyone connected with the Opera House in any way has felt the phantom's vague, troubling presence. But beautiful, talented young singer Christine Daae will soon experience a terror far more acute than any vague feeling of unease. For she is about to learn the secret of why the man who has made the tunnels beneath Paris his private domain must forever hide his face behind a mask.

Part horror story, part historical romance, and part detective thriller, the timeless tale of a masked, disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opera House is familiar to millions of readers, as well as to movie and theatre-goers. At the heart of the story's long-standing popularity lies its questioning of a universal theme: the relationship between outward appearance and the beauty of darkness of the human soul.

Under the Paris Opera House lives a disfigured musical genius who uses music to win the love of a beautiful opera singer.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The phantom of the Opera was written in 1910 by Gaston Leroux who was inspired to tell the story of a disfigured masked musical genius who lived beneath the Paris Opera House and tried to win the love of a beautiful opera singer through his own love of music. Author Donnelly has adapted this classic story for young readers through the use of dialogue and nineteen distinct chapters that move the story along. The beginning chapter is entitled "Is It the Ghost?" It introduces the mysterious figure whom witnesses say inhabits the Opera House. In this case, six young girls of the ballet are frightened by a phantom that appears in black evening clothes and then disappears as soon as he is seen. In the second chapter entitled "The New Opera Star," the reader is introduced to Christine Daae, the girl who will become the Phantom's object of love. In the audience that night, another man named Raoul is captivated by Christine's voice. He goes to her dressing room to meet her, but Christine is exhausted from singing and sends him away. Raoul listens at the door and hears a man speaking. He had just been in there and had seen no one. In the following chapters, the mystery continues. Raoul is determined to find out to whom Christine has been speaking and why she seems to be so drained after singing her heart out on stage. The story continues, filled with secrets, mysterious appearances and disappearances. Raoul will not be satisfied until he saves Christine from the spell the Phantom of the Opera has woven around her. Christine is drawn to this man who lives beneath the Opera House and inspires her to sing as she has never done before. The men battle for the heart and soul of beautiful Christine. Thisis an easy-to-read version of a classic love story that has been made into movies and plays. Included are clear, sharp, black and white illustrations. 2005, ABDO Publishing Company, Ages 10 to 12.
—Della A. Yannuzzi
From the Publisher
“Ingenious . . . breathless suspense.”—The Nation
From Barnes & Noble
The story of a half-crazed musician hiding in the labyrinth of the famous Paris Opera House & orchestrating a number of events to further the career of a beautiful young singer has captured the imaginations of filmmakers, musicians, & millions of readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786105656
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/1988
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 7 Cassettes
  • Product dimensions: 6.72 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (6 May 1868 - 15 April 1927) was a French journalist and author of detective fiction.
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Read an Excerpt

1.

Is It the Ghost? It was the evening on which MM. Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giving a last gala performance to mark their retirement. Suddenly the dressing-room of La Sorelli, one of the principal dancers, was invaded by half-a-dozen young ladies of the ballet, who had come up from the stage after “dancing” Polyeucte. They rushed in amid great confusion, some giving vent to forced and unnatural laughter, others to cries of terror. Sorelli, who wished to be alone for a moment to “run through” the speech which she was to make to the resigning managers, looked around angrily at the mad and tumultuous crowd. It was little Jammes—the girl with the tip-tilted nose, the forget-me-not eyes, the rose-red cheeks and the lily-white neck and shoulders—who gave the explanation in a trembling voice:

“It’s the ghost!” And she locked the door.

Sorelli’s dressing-room was fitted up with official, commonplace elegance. A pier-glass, a sofa, a dressing-table and a cupboard or two provided the necessary furniture. On the walls hung a few engravings, relics of the mother, who had known the glories of the old Opera in the Rue le Peletier; portraits of Vestris, Gardel, Dupont, Bigottini. But the room seemed a palace to the brats of the corps de ballet, who were lodged in common dressing-rooms where they spent their time singing, quarreling, smacking the dressers and hair-dressers and buying one another glasses of cassis, beer, or even rhum, until the callboy’s bell rang.

Sorelli was very suspicious. She shuddered when she heard little Jammes speak of the ghost, called her a“silly little fool” and then, as she was the first to believe in ghosts in general, and the Opera ghost in particular, at once asked for details:

“Have you seen him?”

“As plainly as I see you now!” said little Jammes, whose legs were giving way beneath her, and she dropped with a moan into a chair.

Thereupon little Giry—the girl with eyes black as sloes, hair black as ink, a swarthy complexion and a poor little skin stretched over poor little bones—little Giry added:

“If that’s the ghost, he’s very ugly!”

“Oh, yes!” cried the chorus of ballet-girls.

And they all began to talk together. The ghost had appeared to them in the shape of a gentleman in dress-clothes, who had suddenly stood before them in the passage, without their knowing where he came from. He seemed to have come straight through the wall.

“Pooh!” said one of them, who had more or less kept her head. “You see the ghost everywhere!”

And it was true. For several months, there had been nothing discussed at the Opera but this ghost in dress-clothes who stalked about the building, from top to bottom, like a shadow, who spoke to nobody, to whom nobody dared speak and who vanished as soon as he was seen, no one knowing how or where. As became a real ghost, he made no noise in walking. People began by laughing and making fun of this specter dressed like a man of fashion or an undertaker; but the ghost legend soon swelled to enormous proportions among the corps de ballet. All the girls pretended to have met this supernatural being more or less often. And those who laughed the loudest were not the most at ease. When he did not show himself, he betrayed his presence or his passing by accident, comic or serious, for which the general superstition held him responsible. Had any one met with a fall, or suffered a practical joke at the hands of one of the other girls, or lost a powderpuff, it was at once the fault of the ghost, of the Opera ghost.

After all, who had seen him? You meet so many men in dress-clothes at the Opera who are not ghosts. But this dress-suit had a peculiarity of its own. It covered a skeleton. At least, so the ballet-girls said. And, of course, it had a death’s head.

Was all this serious? The truth is that the idea of the skeleton came from the description of the ghost given by Joseph Buquet, the chief scene-shifter, who had really seen the ghost. He had run up against the ghost on the little staircase, by the footlights, which leads to “the cellars.” He had seen him for a second—for the ghost had fled—and to any one who cared to listen to him he said:

“He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame. His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull. His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a drumhead, is not white, but a nasty yellow. His nose is so little worth talking about that you can’t see it side-face; and the absence of that nose is a horrible thing to look at. All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears.”

This chief scene-shifter was a serious, sober, steady man, very slow at imagining things. His words were received with interest and amazement; and soon there were other people to say that they too had met a man in dress-clothes with a death’s head on his shoulders. Sensible men who had wind of the story began by saying that Joseph Buquet had been the victim of a joke played by one of his assistants. And then, one after the other, there came a series of incidents so curious and so inexplicable that the very shrewdest people began to feel uneasy.

For instance, a fireman is a brave fellow! He fears nothing, least of all fire! Well, the fireman in question, who had gone to make a round of inspection in the cellars and who, it seems, had ventured a little farther than usual, suddenly reappeared on the stage, pale, scared, trembling, with his eyes starting out of his head, and practically fainted in the arms of the proud mother of little Jammes.* And why? Because he had seen coming toward him, at the level of his head, but without a body attached to it, a head of fire! And, as I said, a fireman is not afraid of fire.

The fireman’s name was Pampin.

The corps de ballet was flung into consternation. At first sight, this fiery head in no way corresponded with Joseph Buquet’s description of the ghost. But the young ladies soon persuaded themselves that the ghost had several heads, which he changed about as he pleased. And, of course, they at once imagined that they were in the greatest danger. Once a fireman did not hesitate to faint, leaders and front-row and back-row girls alike had plenty of excuses for the fright that made them quicken their pace when passing some dark corner or ill-lighted corridor. Sorelli herself, on the day after the adventure of the fireman, placed a horse-shoe on the table in front of the stage-door-keeper’s box, which every one who entered the Opera otherwise than as a spectator must touch before setting foot on the first tread of the staircase. This horse-shoe was not invented by me—any more than any other part of this story, alas!—and may still be seen on the table in the passage outside the stage-door-keeper’s box, when you enter the Opera through the court known as the Cour de l’Administration.

To return to the evening in question.

“It’s the ghost!” little Jammes had cried.

An agonizing silence now reigned in the dressing-room. Nothing was heard but the hard breathing of the girls. At last, Jammes, flinging herself upon the farthest corner of the wall, with every mark of real terror on her face, whispered:

“Listen!”

*I have the anecdote, which is quite authentic, from M. Pedro Gailhard himself, the late manager of the Opera.

Everybody seemed to hear a rustling outside the door. There was no sound of footsteps. It was like light silk sliding over the panel. Then it stopped.

Sorelli tried to show more pluck than the others. She went up to the door and, in a quavering voice, asked:

“Who’s there?”

But nobody answered. Then feeling all eyes upon her, watching her last movement, she made an effort to show courage, and said very loudly:

“Is there any one behind the door?”

“Oh, yes, yes! Of course there is!” cried that little dried plum of a Meg Giry, heroically holding Sorelli back by her gauze skirt. “Whatever you do, don’t open the door! Oh, Lord, don’t open the door!”

But Sorelli, armed with a dagger that never left her, turned the key and drew back the door, while the ballet-girls retreated to the inner dressing-room and Meg Giry sighed:

“Mother! Mother!”

Sorelli looked into the passage bravely. It was empty; a gas-flame, in its glass prison, cast a red and suspicious light into the surrounding darkness, without succeeding in dispelling it. And the dancer slammed the door again, with a deep sigh.

“No,” she said, “there is no one there.”

“Still, we saw him!” Jammes declared, returning with timid little steps to her place beside Sorelli. “He must be somewhere prowling about. I shan’t go back to dress. We had better all go down to the foyer together, at once, for the ‘speech,’ and we will come up again together.”


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Copyright 2002 by Gaston Leroux
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Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Chapter I Is it the Ghost? 15

Chapter II The New Margarita 29

Chapter III Why the Managers Resigned 42

Chapter IV Box 5 53

Chapter V The Enchanted Violin 71

Chapter VI A Visit to Box 5 94

Chapter VII The Fatal Performance 98

Chapter VIII The Mysterious Brougham 118

Chapter IX At the Masked Ball 129

Chapter X 'Forget the Man's Voice!' 143

Chapter XI Above the Trap-Doors 151

Chapter XII Apollo's Lyre 162

Chapter XIII A Masterstroke 189

Chapter XIV The Safety-Pin 204

Chapter XV 'Christine! Christine!' 213

Chapter XVI Mame Giry and The Ghost 219

Chapter XVII The Safety-Pin Again 235

Chapter XVIII The Commissary of Police 244

Chapter XIX The Viscount and the Persian 252

Chapter XX In the Cellars of The Opera 261

Chapter XXI Vicissitudes of a Persian 283

Chapter XXII In the Torture-Chamber 302

Chapter XXIII The Tortures Begin 311

Chapter XXIV 'Barrels! Barrels!' 320

Chapter XXV Which Shall She Turn? 335

Chapter XXVI The End of the Ghost 346

Epilogue 359

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Reading Group Guide

"The story of the monster man whose horrible deformities cause fear and terror, his search for love and acceptance, and his haunting of the opera house in Paris is told in very simple language. Beautifully adapted, the story flows along so easily that readers will be immediately caught up in the tangle of events and emotions. McMullan conveys all of the anger, grief, joy, and love that make the phantom a truly believable character. Will attract reluctant readers."--School Library Journal.  


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 220 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(174)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 214 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Christine is the STUPIDEST CHICK IN THE WORLD!!!

    Like many others, I love the musical and the movie has inspired my life goal. Although I love Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical and movie, AND of course the plot of the book, the only regret Im sure Christine had in her choices at the opera house were not staying with Erik aka the PHANTOM!!! In the movie, was the first time there was Such A HOTTIIE IN THE PHANTOM MASK!!! GO GERARD BUTLER!!! If I was Christine, and face it: my name is only one letter off (replace the e at the end with an a) I would totally go with Erik, he had a shrine to me, sang to me, IS I LOVE WITH ME, is hot, and is SO SWEET!!! So, ya know, I would rather be with the hot guy who loves me, than the ugly Butt-Head named Raoul. Besides, Erik would make my spirit start to SOAR!!! And made me live as Id never lived before! Rauol on the other hand didnt beleive me when I told him about the Phantom is ugly, not trustworthy, and sings like a GIRL!!! So as you can see, my opinion is pretty much buy the book, keep in mind how awesome Erik is, and how ugly and stupid and how much of a BUTT WIPE RAOUL IS!!! BTW I have based my opinions about looks off of the 2004 movie with Gerard Butler,Emmy Rossum, and UGLY BUTT WIPE Patrik Wilson. I Luv You Gerard!!

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Good

    The story is really great. But there are spelling mistakes. You can read through it but it is very annoying.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lovely, really lovely.

    I love this book. I read it, like many before me, because I've loved the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical since childhood. I remember my mother reading the book and telling me interesting parts of it, and so I decided to read it myself a little over a year ago. It is such a beautiful story, and Leroux wrote it in such an interesting way. This book is categorized as fiction, but because of the way Leroux writes it (and because I don't know my French history) I want to believe it's real. Leroux writes that he believes the Phantom (Eric) was real. Interspersed with the story, he interjects his own opinion, and occasionally includes real(?) interviews with the characters from history. As a straight work of fiction, this is an amazing, beautiful tale of love, perseverance, the limits of the human existence, horror, suspense, sorrow... This really has everything I want in a story. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, The Phantom of the Opera made me laugh, cry, gasp, sigh, and grip the book with white knuckles. And the little bits here and there that make you want to believe it was all real... well, they make you want to go to Paris to see the opera house.<BR/><BR/>And not surprisingly, the soundtrack to Weber's musical makes really good background music while reading this. Grab a tissue at the end.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Its great

    Different from the movie but an amazing read. The characters are interesting and the phantom was really cynical. Great read

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Four stars

    I thought that the book had an interesting setting and mysteriousness about it which probably made me want to read it. About 3/4 of the way through it does get a little confusing and really weird at parts which may lead you to question the moral behind it all. It was definily captivating in parts but could get slow moving and confusing in parts.overall i liked it and would recommend.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    great book

    better than the movie, just a great classic piece to read. :)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Amazing

    This is my favofite movie and i loved the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Wow this is nothing at all like the movie

    Phantom of the opera i my fave movie of all time im 13 and my favorite part of the movie is all if the music i constantly have the phantom of the opera songs stuck inside my head i typein te book of songs and this popped up i was pretty disapointed. I need that song book i am told i a. An amazing singer by so many abd i just want to treat them with my favorite songs from my fave movie. So very disapointing.

    1 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    TO ALL

    YOU WILL CURSE THE DAY YOU SAID I DO, WHEN IT WAS PHANTOM WHO ASKED YOU...first. (totally look up phantom of the awkward and watch it. LOVE IT! ot will only make sense you have seen ze Phantom of yhr Opera.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Smile 135

    Oh my goodness! I litterally just saw the play today and it was......AMAZING!:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    Eeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

    Terrible. Hare the play hate the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

    I saw it like twice and i loved it ssssooooooo much! It is called Love Never Dies. P.s. it is a movie so look it up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Love all things Phantom

    Heard the music from the show long before ever seeing it live. After hearing the music I bought the book, then finally got to see the show. The book and show/movie are different from eachother, like the show better but it was nice to have the extra background on the characters. And to the person who said that the actor playing the Phantom opposite Emmy Rossum was Australian is wrong, sorry. He's actually Scottish, the Phantom was played by Gerard Butler in the 2004 movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    I saw the play with my friend.

    The music was amazing and the story is wonderful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    I love the book

    I love the book and the movie and I love how Emma Rossum played as christine and did you know the actor of the phantom in the movie is really astraulian?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Happy that one is free

    Hurray

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Amazing book+ Amaxing book + movie

    I loved both the music and book was written beautifully i love it and i hope u do too

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Ok.

    Ok.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    I luv it 2

    I saw the raoyal albert hall and the movie and read the book. The story is amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2013

    To below

    I totally agree with u!!!! I LOVE PHANTOM!!!!!! I have seen the royal albert hall, movie,and read the book also!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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