The Phantom of the Opera (Classic Starts Series)

( 15 )

Overview

The long-ago mysteries of the great opera house in Paris have never been explained. Why did so many terrible tragedies happen there? Why did everyone flee from it in fear? This gripping story about the “opera ghost” and the beautiful singer he loves launched one of the most popular musicals in Broadway history—and it serves up enough thrills, chills, and surprises to keep even the most reluctant reader fascinated.

Under the Paris Opera House lives a disfigured ...

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The Phantom of the Opera (Classic Starts Series)

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Overview

The long-ago mysteries of the great opera house in Paris have never been explained. Why did so many terrible tragedies happen there? Why did everyone flee from it in fear? This gripping story about the “opera ghost” and the beautiful singer he loves launched one of the most popular musicals in Broadway history—and it serves up enough thrills, chills, and surprises to keep even the most reluctant reader fascinated.

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 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: 9781402745805
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 2/5/2008
  • Series: Classic Starts Series
  • Edition description: Modern Retelling
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 194,098
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gaston Leroux, French journalist and writer of suspense fiction, was born in Paris in 1868. His experiences as a crime reporter and war correspondent for a French newspaper gave him the background to create his popular novels. He was one of the originators of the detective story, and his young fictional detective, Joseph Rouletabile, was the forerunner of many reporter-detective characters in modern fiction. Two of Leroux’s best-known mysteries are The Perfume of the Lady in Black and The Mystery of the Yellow Room, which is considered one of the finest “locked room” mysteries ever written. A second series of suspense adventures featured an old rascal named Cheri-Bibi. But Leroux’s most enduring work is, of course, The Phantom of the Opera, which was first published in 1910. Leroux died in Nice, France, in 1927.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


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.”
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Table of Contents

Prologue 1
I Is It the Ghost? 5
II The New Margarita 13
III The Mysterious Reason 20
IV Box Five 26
V The Enchanted Violin 36
VI A Visit to Box Five 48
VII Faust and What Followed 51
VIII The Mysterious Brougham 62
IX At the Masked Ball 68
X Forget the Name of the Man's Voice 76
XI Above the Trap-Doors 80
XII Apollo's Lyre 86
XIII A Master-Stroke of the Trap-Door Lover 100
XIV The Singular Attitude of a Safety-Pin 109
XV Christine! Christine! 114
XVI Mme. Giry's Astounding Revelations 118
XVII The Safety-Pin Again 127
XVIII The Commissary, the Viscount and the Persian 132
XIX The Viscount and the Persian 137
XX In the Cellars of the Opera 142
XXI Interesting and Instructive Vicissitudes 154
XXII In the Torture Chamber 164
XXIII The Tortures Begin 170
XXIV Barrels! Barrels! 175
XXV The Scorpion or the Grasshopper: Which? 183
XXVI The End of the Ghost's Love Story 189
Epilogue 196
The Paris Opera House 203
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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
( 15 )
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(12)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    BRODWAY

    I want to see this on Brodway SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO bad. I learned about the Phantom of the Oprea in my music class and I want to see it. It looks good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Pretty good...

    I thought it wasnt a real page-turner. Other than that its great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Spiraling Maze of a Book!

    The Phantom of the Opera, an engaging classic written by Gaston Leroux in the early 20th century is a tale full of mystery and drama all combined into a twisting maze that goes all directions. The Phantom of the Opera, introduces the sighting of a phantom, or opera ghost, by some of the people who work there. Recently, the opera theater's managers have retired, giving the job to the two new managers. The old managers warn the new ones of the opera ghost, and how to meet the ghost's demands. The new managers put it off as rubbish and declare they do not believe a word of it. There are other individuals in the story as well. There is Raoul who goes to see the opera at the theater with his older brother, Count Philippe. At the opera, Raoul spots one of the opera singers, Christine, as his childhood friend. Raoul tries to confront Christine, to make her remember that he played with her when they were young children, but Christine pretends she does not remember him. Disappointed, Raoul leaves Christine's room in the theater, but while walking away from her dressing room, he hears a voice talking to Christine. Raoul did not remember anybody else being in Christine's room, so he thinks it may be the opera ghost. This introduction starts a twisting tale that will keep you reading until it is thoroughly finished, for the ending is not what everyone expects. I think this is a good book for grade school kids. They are introduced to the world of classics through this gripping story, and they will love it as well. I think this book definetely deserves five stars for its gripping maze of a story. Praise to Gaston Leroux for that, and the people who edited this book. Hope you enjoy this five-star book as much as I did!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Best thing ever

    I am 10 and my first time two ny was when i was eight and my very first broadway show was phantom i loved it even though i did not know what it was about so many times later we went but we never saw phantom so i was sad but just last febuary i saw it it was amazing !!!!! I loved it sooo much i got a t shirt with the mask on it it was awesomm e and oneday i will.be christine look me up on utube under saviah miller and u will.see me singing from 7 to 10 !!!!!! I love phantom and it has inspired me to sing and be confident so u should.really get the bbook i love it !!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    great overview of this story

    We are going to see this musical while in Paris. This was nice preparation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    Outstanding classic!

    Very wonderful book! Though I found it a little confusing, it was very very well done! Though the movie creates a much less disturbing image of the phantom than this cover...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    My favorite story

    This book was purchased for my 8 year old son who says,"I like the phantom of the opera because the characters are interesting. It has just enough mystery and excitement".

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 14, 2011

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    Posted May 23, 2012

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    Posted December 8, 2011

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    Posted January 2, 2010

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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    Posted July 28, 2010

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    Posted June 12, 2011

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    Posted October 4, 2013

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