Phantom of the Opera - an Outstanding Musical Based on the Gothic Novel.

The crown jewel of the Really Useful Group's copyrights, the Phantom of the Opera opened on October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre, featuring Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford in the leading roles. Since then there have been over twenty productions all over the world. Wherever the musical has been presented in London, no seat has been unsold. Its box office worldwide stands at estimated $950 million with more than 52 million spectators having enjoyed the performance.

The Phantom of the Opera is a French novel by Gaston Leroux, published first in Le Gaulois during the period of September 1909 to January 1910. Translated into English in 1911, the novel has been adapted into numerous stage and film productions, the most outstanding of these being the 1986 musical of Andrew Lloyd Webber, seen now as the longest-running Broadway show. Apart from the West End production, the Phantom of the Opera is staged in the United States, Budapest and Shanghai.

The Phantom of the Opera is a combination of horror fiction, tragedy, mystery and romance in a Gothic novel. The original setting is XIX century Paris at the National Academy of Music, built between 1856 and 1874. While the employees of the opera house claim it is haunted by a mysterious ghost, causing destruction and chaos when dissatisfied, Erik, posing as the opera ghost, demands from the opera's managers a monthly salary of 20,000 francs, in addition to the private concert booth at each show.

This arrangement is broken off by the new owners, taking over the opera house and refusing to give in the threats of a lunatic. Meanwhile Erik proceeds to give his new prot?g?' Christine Daae regular voice lessons. Under her new teacher's patronage, Christine achieves significant success in the musical studies and on the stage, called to replace the arrogant Carlotta.

 In her debut Christine manages to win the hearts of the audience, among them is her childhood friend Raoul, who proves to be an immature and silly character in the course of the story. Becoming envious of Christine's relationship with Raoul, Erik brings her to the Gothic world beneath the opera house, thus revealing his malicious nature. On swearing not to give her love to anyone, the Phantom releases Christine, who immediately falls in love with Raoul. However, Erik is not the only one who is envious. It's Raoul, who starts spying on Christine after overhearing her talk with a tyrannical voice in her dressing room.

As Eric reveals himself to be the Opera Ghost, Christine decides to run away from the Paris and from the horror that terrifies her. Her plan is thwarted, and during the final performance at the Opera Garnier, the Phantom abducts her from the stage. When he promises to explode the Opera House and destroy many representatives of the human race of she doesn't marry him, Christine accepts his proposal. On showing her genuine sympathy towards Erik, Christine is given his blessings to marry with Raoul.

In addition to theatrical performances, a movie version of the Phantom of the Opera was released in 2004, featuring Gerard Butler as Erik, Emmy Rossum as Christine and Patrick Wilson as Raoul. After its release the film was nominated in three Golden Globe categories: Best Actress, Best Song and Best Picture. However, it won none. In 2005 it was nominated for three Academy Awards, including achievement in music for motion pictures, achievement in cinematography and achievement in art direction. Emmy Rossum was awarded the Female Breakthrough Performance by the National Board of Review.

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