Leroux claimed to have been inspired to write the story after visiting the catacombs of the Paris Opera house. While roaming its lower depths he found a mysterious subterranean lake which was visible through iron grilles in the floor. Leroux also remembered an unfortunate accident in 1896 when one of the chandelier’s counterweights had fallen on the audience.
Thirty years after the events conveyed in the novel, he wrote about how the story came about with his researching the library at the Paris Opera house his interviews with people who were present at the time and his reliance on the memoirs of one of the opera’s directors at that time.
It came to life when in May of 1984 Andrew Lloyd Webber sees a review about a stage adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera produced by the Theatre Royal in Stratford, and considers the idea of turning it into a new musical.
The MoviesThe story appears on the big screen for the first time in 1925, when Universal Pictures put Lon Chaney in the starring role. The tale of a deformed, masked composer, haunting the Paris Opera like a ghost, redeemed only by his love for a pretty young singer, has horror and romance in a good mix. Erik, the Phantom , may exhibit occasional homicidal tendencies, but like most of the screen's great monsters, he is also in love, and this is his saving grace.The following is the famous scene in which the Phantom, in his underground lair, is unmasked by the young opera singer Christine after he has abducted her. They cunningly devised, both photographically and editorially, so the camera is positioned where both Christine and the Phantom are facing forward when the unmasking occurs, allowing the audience to see the Phantom's face first, and then Christine's shocked reaction when he turns around to confront her.
Paris Opera House
Phantom of the Opera Images with music