“You alone can make my song take flight. Help me make the music of the night…”
There are numerous novels based on the popular story. Below you will find our favourite stories.
First of all – did you know that there are audiobooks available on LibriVox? Here is a link to the free audiobooks:
Book: Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux by Gaston le Roux
(first released in 1909)
Without the original version of the Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, there would not be a Phantom of the Opera today. The novel is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during the nineteenth century and an apocryphal tale concerning the use of a former ballet pupil’s skeleton in Hector Berlioz’s 1841 production of Der Freischütz. When I read the novel, it was a difficult read – almost like a historical rendition of facts. There were truly beautiful moments in the novel. 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)
Phantom of the Opera is a 1976 musical with book and lyrics by Ken Hill. It is the first musical adaptation of the novel The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux,about the hideously disfigured Phantom’s amorous obsession with the magnificent, naive singer, Christine. Hill wrote the original English lyrics to the music of Verdi, Gounod, Offenbach, Mozart, Weber, Donizetti,and Boito.
“When I strolled into that old junk – shop and browsed through the tatty books my mind was on other matters …
Dracula had been a howling success at the Lancaster Repertory Theatre, and they were screaming for another idea. One with the same “thrills and laughter” they insisted. But what? I’d had a lot of success translating classic tales of romance and drama into theatrical entertainment with songs, plenty of action, and a good layer of laughter on top, but I didn’t want to do another Dumas or Hugo or Stoker. Then the old book fell on the floor: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Had there been such a book? Some tired old story about a composer having acid thrown in his face and his manuscript stolen, wasn’t it? Hammer Horror remakes Universal Pictures. Still … an interesting title.
By the time I arrived In Lancaster for the next Production Meeting I knew I had found their next popular piece. Universal and Hammer had ruined the story; there was a lot more to it. It was a great tale of romance and chills, a myth. Moreover, I saw how to keep it human for Lancaster, how to keep the fun they wanted flowing. After all, if YOU were a pompous little Theatre Manager with the vexing task of running a respectable Opera Company with some lunatic hiding out in the building …
Nor need this detract from the true pathos of the Phantom and his blind love: for this was always in another place, hidden. We could have comedy AND drama.
Then in 1984 with the same scenery and musical arrangements you are now seeing – with tunes from Opera lovingly fitted to banal words in true operatic tradition – it exploded onto the Theatre Workshop stage in London to almost universal love and acclaim. In the audience sat Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh. They’d like to talk to me about it … but that’s another story.
Enjoy it. It’s all fun. Though it has its serious bits. As in life … “
The Phantom of the Opera (1986) – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book: The Complete Phantom of the Opera (George Perry) (1988)
What a delightful book full of pictures, stories and even the original libretto of the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical! There is also a section in the book where they show step-by-step how they transformed Michael Crawford into the Phantom of the Opera. Amazon.com describes this book as follow: This is the lavishly illustrated, definitive account of The Phantom of the Opera, tracing the Phantom legend from its origins in historical fact through Gaston Leroux’s heartrending classic novel and other artistic incarnations to the present day and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s incredibly successful musical. This is also a definite must have.
Book: Phantom – Susan Kay (released: 1990)
I have probably read this book more than 10 times (532 pages). Susan Kay achieves what few other authors have managed to achieve with the Phantom of the Opera‘s tragic story – she gives Erik (the phantom) a soul.The story is loosely based on the Gaston Leroux novel The Phantom of the Opera, but takes things much deeper.
In this book the Phantom is born as Erik in Boscherville, a small town not far from Rouen, in the summer of 1831. 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 but spoiled and vain daughter of an English woman and a French architect. With the birth of Erik, he scorns her deformed child and cannot bring herself to name or touch him. Instead, she instructs the elderly priest who baptises him to name the child after himself. Due to his mother’s shame but also for his own safety, Erik is forced to spend his childhood locked in his home behind a mask.
The story takes us on a journey with Erik, experiencing his pain, his first love and great loss, his friendship with a kind-hearted architectural professor, his time in the Persian court, his friend the Persian and his time in the Paris Opera House. Early in the book Erik speaks of his abilities, “I can make anything disappear, if I really want to. Anything except my face.”
I don’t want to say anymore – this is definitely my favorite book of all time. A definite must read.
The Canary Trainer (1993)
Synopsis (wikipedia): In 1912, Dr. Watson visits the retired Sherlock Holmes, who is happily cultivating bees on the Sussex Downs. Holmes seems mostly concerned about interesting Watson in his new hobby, but Watson prefers to interrogate Holmes and fill some of the gaps in previous Sherlockian history. For example, Watson says, Holmes’s account of how he spent the “Lost Years” (1891 to 1895) was laden with contradictions. Finally, he persuades Holmes to retell one episode of his adventures.
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.
More than two decades have passed since Antoinette Giry, the mistress of the corps de ballet at the Paris Opera, rescued a hideously disfigured boy named Erik from a carnival and brought him to live in the labyrinthine cellars of the opera house. Soon thereafter, his intense, unrequited love for a beautiful chorus girl set in motion a tragic string of events, forcing him to flee Paris forever. Now, as she lies dying in a convent, Madam Giry tells the untold story of the Phantom and his clandestine journey to New York City to start anew, where he would become a wealthy entrepreneur and build the glorious Manhattan Opera House…all so he could see his beloved, now a famous diva, once again. But the outcome of her visit would prove even more devastating than before– and yet, would allow the Phantom to know, for the first time in his brutal life, the true meaning of love… (source: Amazon.com)
There are quite a number of The Phantom of the Opera comic books and graphic novels available.
The Phantom Stranger (1973) no. 23
published by DC Comics.
The Phantom of the Opera (1988)
Published by Eternity Comics – Based on Gaston Leroux’s novel.
Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (1989) by JET.
Le Masque (1994)
By Narumo Kakinochi. In two volumes, it is more inspired than based on the novel of Gaston Leroux.
Sherlock Holmes: Adventure of the Opera Ghost
Two volumes. (1994) by Steven P. Jones, art by Aldin Baroza, and cover art by Guy Davis. In black&white. Published by Caliber Press.
Le Trésor du Fantôme de l’Opéra
(The Treasure of the Phantom of the Opera) Volume 7 of the Joseph Rouletabille series. Story by André-Paul Duchateau and drawings by Bernard-C. Swysen. Published by Claude Lefrancq in 1996 and Soleil in 2001.
Tarzan #11 and #12 Le Monstre (1997)
Published by Dark Horse Comics – A Phantom of the Opera/Tarzan
Batman: Masque (1997)
by Mike Grell with Andre Khromov. Published by DC Comics.
The Opera House Murders (2003)
Story by Yozaburo Kanari and art by Fumiya Sato. In “The Kindaichi Case Files” series.
Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (2005)
A one-shot manga by Harumo Sanazaki. Published in Comic BIRZ.
The Trap-door Maker
Three volumes. (2006) by Pete Bregman. Published by Treehouse – story revolves around Erik’s time in Persia.
Le Fantôme de l’Opéra – Requiem Mask (2007)
by Iron-Gibbet Studios.