Listed here are the chapters of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux and a brief summary of each. Few details are given but the overall story is told, very briefly. To truly know the story, I have this advice: READ THE BOOK!
What can I say, I'm something of a purist on subjects such as this.
Chapter List & Summary
1. Is It the Ghost?
2. The New Margarita
3. The Mysterious Reason
4. Box Five
5. The Enchanted Violin
6. A visit to Box Five
7. Faust and What Followed
8. The Mysterious Brougham
9. At the Masked Ball
10. Forget the Name of the Man’s Voice
11. Above the Trap-Doors
12. Apollo’s Lyre
13. A Master-Stroke of the Trap-Door Lover
14. The Singular Attitude of a Safety-Pin
15. Christine! Christine!
16. Mme. Giry’s Revelations
17. The Safety-Pin Again
18. The Commissary, the Viscount and the Persian
19. The Viscount and the Persian
20. In the Cellars of the Opera
21. Interesting Vicissitudes
22. In the Torture-Chamber
23. The Tortures Begin
24. “Barrels! Barrels!”
25. The Scorpion or the Grasshopper: Which?
26. The End of the Ghost’s Love-Story
The Paris Opera House
'In Which the Author of This Singular Work Informs the Reader How He Acquired the Certainty That the Opera Ghost Really Existed'
'The Opera ghost really existed.' So begins the prologue, told not through a character but by Gaston Leroux himself. He tells some of his interest in the story to come and his sources in putting together the events of this novel, years later, as well as giving brief glimpses into the lives of a few of its characters.
Is It the Ghost?
Here we receive our first look at the Phantom through the rumors and gossips of the Paris Opera House’s residents. Also we know that the former managers of the Opera House are now retiring and the Phantom’s presence there have been known for several months and his demands on the House’s owners have been honored for at least one month. Also, Joseph Buquet is dead.
The New Margarita
Now we meet Comte de Chagny and his younger brother, Viscount Raoul de Chagny. They’re on their way to congratulate and meet the new singing sensation: Christine Daae. Christine wowed the audience of the Opera House with her singing for the first time, with new passages from Romeo and Juliet, as a last minute replacement for the ‘ill’ La Carlotta.
Raoul knows there’s something special between himself and Chrstine, but when she sends him away without the slightest hint of recognition he’s hurt. When he hears Christine speaking with an unknown man, alone in her dressing room, he’s angry. When Christine is gone and the man not only doesn’t leave but can’t be found within, Raoul doesn’t know what to feel or think.
The Mysterious Reason
The farewell for the retiring managers continues but is plagued by two appearances of a figure identified as the Opera ghost. It is his second appearance, at a private dinner, and the mention of Joseph Buquet’s death that brings the departing managers to explain to the new managers why they are leaving.
The new managers laugh off warnings about and demands from the Opera ghost.
Here we meet the Opera house’s new managers and watch them persist in believing tales of the Opera ghost to be a joke. Reports of a disturbance cause them to question Mme. Giry and dismiss her as mad.
The Enchanted Violin
This chapter gives us a deep look into Christine Daae’s life and the history of her relationship with Raoul de Chagny. Also, we hear the story of the Angel of Music and come to understand her deep emotional connection with said Angel.
Raoul follows Christine to the remote town in which Christine’s father is buried and witnesses a moonlight violin performance by a hidden figure he then scuffles with but does not fully see.
A visit to Box Five
The two new opera managers take an up-close and personal look at box five for themselves.
Faust and What Followed
The Phantom declares war but offers a truce in a new letter to the Opera House’s management. Instead of accepting, they do the exact opposite of each of his demands. The Opera Ghost has another victim when the chandelier falls.
The Mysterious Brougham
Raoul, concerned by Christine’s disappearance two weeks ago, learns that his ladylove has gone off with her Angel of Music. He is then enraged to see Christine riding in a carriage in what could be called a romantic style with a shadowy male figure.
At the Masked Ball
The masked ball at the Opera House. Raoul and Christine have their first real argument and Raoul has a close encounter with Red Death. Christine disappears again.
Forget the Name of the Man’s Voice
Forget the Name of the Man’s Voice Christine has returned again but refuses to answer the questions and demands of her beloved benefactress and Raoul. On her finger rests a plain gold ring.
Above the Trap-Doors
Christine and Raoul agree to a month-long secret engagement but Raoul is still jealous of Erik, the Angel of Music.
Christine tells Raoul of the events of the time during her disappearances and her relationship with Erik as well as explaining her feelings toward him and begging for help in leaving the Phantom.
All is said and done under the steady gaze of two blazing spots of light and repeated by an occasional painful echo on a still, calm night.
A Master-Stroke of the Trap-Door Lover
A busy chapter! Christine, while fearing Erik has heard her confessions and pleas to Raoul, discovers that the gold ring she promised the Phantom that she would wear is gone.
That night, Raoul sees a curious pair of glowing lights/eyes in his bedchamber or on its balcony. His gunshot is followed by an argument with his brother.
Christine disappears during her final performance of Faust.
The Singular Attitude of a Safety-Pin
Three of the most important men working on the Opera House are lost as to what to do about Christine’s disappearance. The managers refuse to see anyone and are showing numerous signs of madness.
Raoul makes futile attempts to find Christine and meets the Persian.
Mme. Giry’s Astounding Revelations as to Her Personal Relations with the Opera Ghost
‘Mother’ Giry explains how payment of the Phantom’s allowance is delivered.
The Safety-Pin Again
The recent odd behavior of the Opera managers is explained, but much remains mysterious to those two men. The Opera ghost has been paid.
The Commissary, the Viscount and the Persian
The managers know at last of Christine’s abduction. The Commissary of police sends Raoul chasing after his brother, believing the Comte guilty.
The Viscount and the Persian
The Persian tells Raoul what he already knew and the two begin to follow Erik’s secrets in search of the Phantom’s most recent victim.
In the Cellars of the Opera
Raoul and the Persian pass through the lowest levels of the Opera House in search of the entrance to Erik’s House on the Lake. Unfortunately, they find it.
Interesting and Instructive Vicissitudes of a Persian in the Cellars of the Opera
We now come to understand the mysterious presence and knowledge of the Persian-or at least some of it and the horror of his current situation.
In the Torture-Chamber
As the Presian and Raoul secretly listen through the wall of the torture-chamber. Erik reasserts his love for Christine and demands she make a grizzly choice: the wedding mass or the requiem mass.
The Tortures Begin
Christine begins to understand the ways of the torture-chamber. Erik reveals more of himself.
“Barrels! … Barrels! …Any Barrels to Sell”
Raoul and the Persian escape the torture-chamber after a series of manipulated hallucinations, to make a new discovery in Erik’s cellar.
The Scorpion or the Grasshopper: Which?
Marry the Phantom or die with him, taking the entire Opera House with them? But nothing short of death is that simple with the Phantom.
The End of the Ghost’s Love-Story
Comte de Chagny is dead but Daroga, Raoul, and Christine live. A heart-broken Erik relates the last of his dealings with Raoul and Christine to the Persian and asks one thing from him. Three weeks later: ‘Erik is dead.’
'I have now told the singular but veracious story of the Opera ghost. As I declared on the first page of this work, it is no longer possible to deny that Erik really lived.' So begins the Epilogue. From there, Gaston Leroux tells us some of what became of the novel’s characters and goes back to explain some of the beginnings. He ends by telling of the exhuming of a skeleton buried near the little well under the Opera House, ‘in the place where the Angel of Music first held Christine Daae fainting in his trembling arms on the night when he carried her down to the cellars of the Opera House.’ And suggesting that rather being moved to a graveyard, they should be placed in the archives of the National Academy of Music. ‘It is no ordinary skeleton.’
The Paris Opera House
‘ The Scene of Gaston Leroux’s Novel The Phantom of the Opera
‘That Mr. Leroux has used, for the scene of his story, the Paris Opera House as it really is and has not created a building out of his imagination, is shown by this interesting description of it taken from an article which appeared in Scribner’s Magazine in 1879, a short time after the building was completed:
‘ ‘The new Opera House, commenced under the Empire and finished under the Republic, is the most complete building of the kind in the world and in many respects the most beautiful. No European capital possesses an opera house so comprehensive in plan and execution, and none can boast an edifice equally vast and splendid.
‘ ‘The site of the Opera House was chosen in 1861. It was determined to lay the foundation exceptionally deep and strong. It was well known that water would be met with, but it was impossible to foresee at what depth or in what quantity it would be found. Exceptional depth also was necessary, as the stage arrangements were to be such as to admit a scene fifty feet high to be lowered on its frame. It was therefore necessary to lay a foundation in a soil soaked with water which should be sufficiently solid to sustain a weight of 22,000,000 pounds, and at the same time to be perfectly dry, as the cellars were intended for the storage of scenery and properties. While the work was in progress, the excavation was kept free from water by means of eight pumps, worked by steam power, and in operation, without interruption, day and night, from March second to October thirteenth. The floor of the cellar was covered with a layer of concrete, then with two coats of cement, another layer of concrete, and a coat of bitumen. The wall includes an outer wall built as a coffer-dam, a brick wall, a coat of cement, and a wall proper, a little over a yard thick. After all this was done and the whole was filled with water, in order that the fluid, by penetrating into the most minute interstices, might deposit a sediment which would chose them more surely and perfectly than it would be possible to do by hand. Twelve years elapsed before the completion of the building, and during that time it was demonstrated that the precautions taken secured absolute impermeability and solidity.
‘ ‘The events of 1870 interrupted work just as it was about to be prosecuted most vigorously, and the new Opera House was put to new and unexpected uses. During the siege, it was converted into a vast military storehouse and filled with a heterogeneous mass of goods. After the siege the building fell into the hands of the Commune and the roof was turned into a balloon station. The damage done, however, was slight.
‘ ‘The fine stone employed in the construction was brought from quarries in Sweden, Scotland, Italy, Algeria, Finland, Spain, Belgium and France. While work on the exterior was in progress, the building was covered in by a wooden shell, rendered transparent by thousands of small panes of glass. In 1867 a swarm of men, supplied with hammers and axes, stripped the house of its habit, and showed in all its splendor the great structure. No picture can do justice to the rich colors of the edifice or to the harmonious tone resulting from the skilful use of many diverse materials. The effect of the frontage is completed by the cupola of the auditorium, topped with a cap of bronze sparingly adorned with gilding. Farther on, on a level with the towers of Notre-Dame, is the gable end of the roof of the stage, a “Pegasus” by M. Lequesne, rising at either end of the roof, and a bronze group by M. Millet, representing “Apollo lifting his golden lyre,” commanding the apex. Apollo, it may here be mentioned, is useful as well as ornamental, for his lyre is tipped with a metal point which does duty as a lightning-rod, and conducts the fluid to the body and down the nether limbs of the god.
‘ ‘The spectator, having climbed ten steps and left behind him a gateway, reaches the vestibule in which are statues of Lully, Rameau, Gluck, and Handle. Ten steps of gree Swedish marble lead to a second vestibule for ticket-sellers. Visitors who enter by the pavilion reserved for carriages pass through a hallway where ticket offices are situated. The larger number of the audience, before entering the auditorium, traverse a large circular vestibule located exactly beneath it. The ceiling of this portion of the building is upheld by sixteen fluted column of Jura stone, with white marble capitals, forming a portico. Here servants are to await their masters, and spectators may remain until their carriages are summoned. The third entrance, which is quite distinct from the others, is reserved for the Executive. The section of the building set aside for the use of the Emperor Napoleon was to have included an antechamber for the bodyguards; a salon for the aides-de-camp; a large salon and a smaller one for the Empress; hat and cloak rooms, etc. Moreover, there were to be in close proximity to the entrance, stables for three coaches, for the outriders’ horses, and for the twenty-one horsemen acting as an escort; a station for the squad of infantry of thirty-one men and ten cent-gardes, and a stable for the horses of the latter; and, besides, a salon for fifteen of twenty domestics. Thus arrangements had to be made to accommodate in this part of the building about one hundred persons, fifty horses, and half-a-dozen carriages. The fall of the Empire suggested some changes, but ample provision still exists for emergencies.
‘ ‘Its novel conception, perfect fitness, and rare splendor of material, make the grand stairway unquestionably one of the most remarkable features of the building. It presents to the spectator, who has just passed through the subscribers’ pavilion, a gorgeous picture. From this point he beholds the ceiling formed by the central landing; this and the columns sustaining it, built by Echaillon stone, are honeycombed with arabesques and heavy with ornaments; the steps are of whithe marble, and antique red marble balusters rest on green marble sockets and support a balustrade of onyx. To the right and to the left of this landing are stairways to the floor, on a plane with the first row of boxes. On this floor stand thirty monolith columns of Sarrancolin marble, with white marble bases and capitals. Pilasters of peach-blossom and violet stone are against the corresponding walls. More than fifty blocks had to be extracted from the quarry to find thirty perfect monoliths.
‘ ‘The foyer de la danse has particular interest for the habitués of the Opera. It is a place of reunion to which subscribers to three performances a week are admitted between the acts in accordance with a usage established in 1870. Three immense looking-glasses cover the back wall of the foyer, and a chandelier with one hundred and seven burners supplied it with light. The paintings include twenty oval medallions, in which are portrayed the twenty danseuses of most celebrity since the opera had existed in France, and four panels by M. Boulanger, typifying “The War Dance,” “The Rustic Dance,” The Dance of Love” and “The Bacchic Dance.” While the ladies of the ballet receive their admirers in this foyer, they can practice their steps. Velvet-cushioned bars have to this end been secured at convenient points, and the floor has been given the same slope as that of the stage, so that the labor expended may be thoroughly profitable to the performance. The singers’ foyer, on the same floor, is a much less lively resort than the foyer de la danse, as vocalists rarely leave their dressing-rooms before they are summoned to the stage. Thirty panels with portraits of the artists of repute in the annals of the Opera adorn this foyer.
‘ ‘Some estimate…may be arrived at by sitting before the concierge an hour or so before the representation commences. First appear the stage carpenters, who are always seventy, and sometimes when L’Africaine, for example, with its ship scene, is the opera, one hundred and ten strong. Then come stage upholsterers, whose sole duty is to lay carpets, hang curtains, etc.’ gas-men, and a squad of firemen. Claqueurs, call-boys, property-men, dressers, coiffeurs, supernumeraries, and artists, follow. The supernumeraries number about one hundred; some are hired by the year, but the ‘masses’ are generally recruited at the last minute and are generally working-men who seek to add to their meager earnings. There are about a hundred choristers, and about eighty musicians.
‘ ‘Next we behold equerries, whose horses are hoisted on the stage by means of an elevator; electricians who manage the light-producing batteries; hydrauliciens to take charge of the water-works in the ballets like La Sourse; artificers who prepare the conflagration in Le Profeta; florists who make ready Margarit’s garden, and a hose of minor employees. This personnel is provided for as follows: Eighty dressing-rooms are reserved for the artists, each including a small antechamber, the dressing-room proper, and a little closet. Besides these apartments, the Opera has a dressing-room for sixty male, and another for fifty female choristers; a third for thirty-four male dancers; for dressing-rooms for twenty female dancers of different grades; a dressing-room for one hundred and ninety supernumeraries, etc. ’
‘A few figures taken from the article will suggest the enormous capacity and the perfect convenience of the house. “There are 2,531 doors and 7,593 keys; 14 furnaces and 450 grates heat that house; the gaspipes if connected would form as pipe almost 16 miles long; 9 reservoirs, and two tanks hold 22,222 gallons of water and distribute their contents through 22,829 2-5 feet of piping; 538 persons have places assigned wherein to change their attire. The musicians have a foyer with 100 closets for their instruments.”
‘The author remarks of his visit to the Opera House that it “was almost as bewildering as it was agreeable. Giant stairways and colossal halls, huge frescoes and enormous mirrors, gold and marble, satin and velvet, met the eye at every turn.”
‘In a recent letter Mr. Andre Castigne, whose remarkable pictures illustrate the text, speaks of the river or lake under the Opera House and mentions the fact that there are now also three metropolitan railway tunnels, one on top of the other.’