“You alone can make my song take flight. Help me make the music of the night…”
The well-known love story of The Phantom of the Opera has been the basis for countless works. Our top selections are listed below.
First off- did you know that there are free audiobooks available on LibriVox?
Here is a link to the free audiobooks:
The Phantom of the Opera public domain audiobook at LibriVox
Book: Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux by Gaston le Roux
(first released in 1909)
There wouldn’t be a Phantom of the Opera today without Gaston Leroux’s original rendition of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra. The story draws some of its inspiration from actual nineteenth-century occurrences at the Paris Opera as well as an urban legend about the use of a former ballet student’s bones in Hector Berlioz’s 1841 performance of Der Freischütz. It was challenging for me to read the book since it read so much like a historical recreation of facts. In the book, there were several very lovely passages.
One of my favorite excerpt is:
“If I am the phantom, it is because man’s hatred has made me so. If I am to be saved it is because your love redeems me.”
Phantom of the Opera (1976)
Ken Hill wrote the script and lyrics for the 1976 musical Phantom of the Opera. This is the first musical version of Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, which tells the story of the horribly deformed Phantom’s passionate fascination with the gorgeous, impressionable singer Christine. For the music of Verdi, Gounod, Offenbach, Mozart, Weber, Donizetti, and Boito, Hill created the original English lyrics.
“When I strolled into that old junk – shop and browsed through the tatty books my mind was on other matters…”
At the Lancaster Repertory Theatre, Dracula had been a resounding success, and people were clamoring for another concept. They argued that both had the same “thrills and laughing.” What then? I’d had great success turning well-known stories of romance and drama into musical productions that included songs, lots of action, and lots of comedy, but I didn’t want to adapt another Dumas, Hugo, or Stoker. The antique book, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, then dropped to the ground. Had such a book existed? Wasn’t there some old, stale tale about a composer getting acid thrown in his face and having his manuscript taken? Remake of Universal Pictures by Hammer Horror. Still, it’s a fascinating title.
I knew I had uncovered their upcoming hit piece by the time I got to Lancaster for the following production meeting. There was much more to the plot, and Universal and Hammer had damaged it. It was a fantastic myth with romance and thrills. Furthermore, I observed how to maintain humanity for Lancaster and maintain the desired level of enjoyment. Since there is a maniac hiding out in the premises, imagine if YOU were a haughty little theater manager who had the difficult duty of managing a respectable opera company.
The genuine sadness of the Phantom and his blind love should not be diminished as a result because it was always concealed in another location. Both humor and drama are possible.
Then, in 1984, it debuted on the Theatre Workshop stage in London to essentially unanimous acclaim and love with the same staging and musical arrangements you are currently watching – with tunes from opera painstakingly fitted to prosaic words in true operatic form. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh were seated in the crowd. They want to talk to me about it, but that is a different matter.
Embrace it. Everything is enjoyable. Despite having some serious parts. Like in real life.
The Phantom of the Opera (1986) – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book: The Complete Phantom of the Opera (George Perry) (1988)
What a charming book filled with illustrations, anecdotes, and even the lyrics to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical from 1986! Also included in the book is a part that details the process used to turn Michael Crawford into the Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom mythology is traced from its beginnings in historical fact through Gaston Leroux’s heartbreaking classic novel and its artistic manifestations to the present and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wildly popular musical in this richly illustrated, comprehensive study of The Phantom of the Opera.
Book: Phantom – Susan Kay (released: 1990)
Probably more than ten times, I’ve read this book (532 pages). With the tragic tale of the Ghost of the Opera, Susan Kay accomplishes what few other writers have been able to do: she gives Erik (the phantom) a soul. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux serves as a loose inspiration for the plot, but the story goes much further.
In this tale, the Phantom is born as Erik at the summer of 1831 in Boscherville, a little town close to Rouen.
His father is a well-known stonemason and dies in a construction accident a few months before his son is born. His mother is the beautiful, talented, spoiled, and conceited daughter of a French architect and an English woman. Erik was born, and she is unable to identify or touch the disfigured child because of how she feels about him. Instead, she tells the senior priest baptizing him to give the infant his own name. Erik is compelled to spend his youth trapped in his home behind a mask out of respect for his mother and out of concern for his safety.
Erik’s journey through the novel is one in which we share his suffering, his first love’s heartbreak, his friendship with a sympathetic architecture professor, his time spent in the Persian court, his friendship with the Persian, and his experiences in the Paris Opera House. Erik mentions his skills early on in the book “If I really try, I can make anything disappear. Anything except my face.”
I won’t reveal any more, but this is unquestionably my all-time favorite book. An absolute must-read.
The Canary Trainer (1993)
Dr. Watson pays a visit to the retired Sherlock Holmes in 1912 when he is contentedly cultivating bees on the Sussex Downs. Watson prefers to question Holmes in order to fill in some of the gaps in earlier Sherlockian history, but Holmes seems mostly intent with enticing Watson in his new pastime. For instance, Watson claims that Holmes’s description of his “Lost Years” (1891 to 1895) was riddled with inconsistencies. Finally, he convinces Holmes to recount one of his antics.
The narration switches to Holmes. He describes how, following the events of The Seven Percent Solution, he traveled Europe and slowly realized that the entire world believed him dead. Wandering aimlessly, he finds himself in Paris, where after a short-lived stint as a violin instructor, he obtains a position at the Paris Opéra. From the very beginning, his job has ominous undertones. For example, the vacancy only appeared because the previous violinist ran into the street, swearing that he would never work in the place again. This does not daunt Holmes, who interviews with and favourably impresses the conductor, Maître Gaston Leroux.
Holmes gradually becomes accustomed to the Opera’s distinctive culture. He learns that all minor mishaps are attributed to the Ghost, a spectral personage who haunts the Opera’s labyrinthine passageways, sometimes appearing to ballet dancers wearing an evening suit but without a head.
All goes well until the prima donna soprano, La Sorelli, falls ill and is replaced by Irene Adler, a past adversary known for her ability to outwit Holmes. His admiration for her provokes uncertain emotions, largely foreign to his calculating nature—but he soon realizes that torment is secondary, when the opera rehearsals subject him to her incomparably beautiful singing. He suffers in silence until Adler sees his profile in aDegas painting, whereupon she realizes that he is alive, and enlists his help. She has taken the young coloratura Christine Daaé “under her wing”, and is fearful that the innocent singer may fall prey to intrigue once Adler has left.
Irene Adler blackmails Holmes into assisting her, promising that she will remain silent about his survival. While investigating the intrigues that surround Christine, Holmes appears to run afoul of the Opera Ghost.
The Phantom of Manhattan (1999)
The Phantom of Manhattan, a 1999 novel by Frederick Forsyth, is a sequel to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera, itself based on the original book by Gaston Leroux.
Erik was saved from a carnival and brought to reside in the maze-like dungeons of the opera house by Antoinette Giry, the mistress of the corps de ballet at the Paris Opera, more than 20 years ago. Erik was horribly disfigured. Soon later, a tragic chain of events was set in motion as a result of his deep, unrequited love for a stunning chorus girl, which led to his permanent exile from Paris. Now, as she lies dying in a convent, Madam Giry shares the previously untold tale of the Phantom and his covert journey to New York City to start over. There, he would become a prosperous businessman and construct the magnificent Manhattan Opera House…all in an effort to reunite with his beloved, a famous diva, once more. The result of her visit would be even more tragic than expected, but it would also give the Phantom the opportunity to understand true love for the first time in his harsh life.
Comic books and graphic novels
There are quite a number of The Phantom of the Opera comic books and graphic novels available.
The Trap-door Maker Three volumes. (2006) by Pete Bregman. Published by Treehouse – story revolves around Erik’s time in Persia.
The Phantom of the Opera – Official Graphic Novel (Phantom of the Opera Collection) Hardcover (2022)
by Cavan Scott (Author), Andrew Lloyd Webber (Author), José María Beroy (Illustrator)