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Tear Jerker: The Phantom of the Opera
  • The final scene:
    • When Christine went to give Erik his ring back
    • "Christine, I love you. . ."
    • Thanks to YouTube, the show's longevity, and it's numerous versions, there are countless versions of this scene—there are even YouTube clips outright titled "Phantom Comparison" to allow us multiple views of this and other signature scenes. Sometimes Christine runs off before he even finishes the line. Other times, he holds onto her and tries to prevent her from leaving, often offering her the ring again. Gentler versions even have her trying to offer him some measure of reciprocation—taking off the ring after he declares his love for her, kissing his hand, touching his face, one even has her kissing him again. But however it's done, it never fails to make your heart break for him—and sometimes even for her, as there are times when it's obvious that she's genuinely sorry that she can't return his feelings.
    • In the 2004 movie, he's sitting there alone, crying, and looks up to see Christine. She takes a few steps tward him, and when the camera moves back to him his open mouth moves into the slightest hint of a smile. He actually thinks that Christine has decided to stay with him, and then she has to silently take off the ring he gave her destroy his hopes again. After he tells her that he loves her, she looks so sad, because she wants nothing more than to comfort him but there's absolutely nothing she can do.
    • One part in particular, the Dark Reprise of Masquerade, which dissolves some people into Inelegant Blubbering until the end. It doesn't help that the stage Phantoms often keep repeating "I love you!" brokenly after they sang it, some shouting it into Christine's veil, clinging to it pitifully because it's the only thing they have left of her.
    • Ohgod this. Seeing the broken mess of a man left onstage after Christine and Raoul depart is... Just heart-rending.
    • As well as that final line, "You alone can make my song take flight. It's over now, the music of the night." If you weren't crying already, most actor's delivery will put you over the top.
  • The absolute anguish in the Phantom's voice when he sings "No compassion anywhere," is particularly heartwrenching.
  • Just about any time "All I Ask of You" is being sung or reprised, really.
    • The reprise of "All I Ask of You" is so, so much sadder.
    "Anywhere you go... let me go too...!"
    • Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. Must ... have ... hankies.
  • Howard Mcgillin's Music of the Night. Holding out that last note, looking at Christine so lovingly, as if she was his EVERYTHING
  • Nowadays, most Phantoms kneel at Christine's side (after she's fainted) and take her hand while singing, "You alone can make my song take flight. . ." Makes it even sadder when it's recalled in the final scene of the show.
  • In "Stranger Than You Dreamt It", when Christine accidentally unmasks the Phantom. We don't see his face, but she does and is horrified. He CRAWLS towards her, understanding that she's repulsed, but still pleading for even a hint of affection, and she gently hands his mask back to him.
    • At one performance, the actor playing the Phantom caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the shards of glass framing the mirror bride and just crumpled, sobbing "Oh, Christine..." Talk about putting the Woobie in Jerkass Woobie...
  • During the first incarnation of All I Ask Of You, as it nears the end and you can see him on the angel above the stage listening to the lovers... Leading up to his declaration ("you will curse the day you did not do..."), over the last few lines that the lovers sing you could see him shaking, putting his hands over his ears and thrashing back and forth, very clearly just trying to make it all stop, go away, anything at all just to not have to hear it... It was ridiculously effective at displaying his torment
  • The 25th Anniversary performance on DVD, with Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom. It's kind of hard to find any single Tearjerker moment for the Phantom, but the end was really striking. During the "Point of no Return" trio, the Phantom himself is even crying. And then during the reprise of Masquerade, when he mimics the action of the toy and smiles like a comforted child. Oh, and then when Christine returns the ring, and when she goes to leave, she looks back at him and he gives a tiny encouraging nod, as though to let her know that she's completely free and he won't pursue her.
    • Karimloo's Phantom is just the most heartbreaking thing ever. The closeup on his face as Christine is kissing him, flailing around with his hands like he can't believe it, then just melting against her, holding her hand to his cheek with the most quiet tender desperation... oh my God.
    • Karimloo's face when Christine screams 'Tears of HATE!' is heartbreaking, like he knows he's messed up forever and has crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Most Phantoms do pretty well with this moment—for example, Norm Lewis basically crumples and collapses.
    • The way Sierra's Christine looks at the Phantom after returning the ring - she wants to help him, but she can't. He just can't be saved.
    • When Karimloo screamed "Angel in HELL!" All he wanted was to be loved, to be adored like one does with an angel. But the twisted part of him doesn't allow for that.
    • Hadley Fraser's Raoul is also very heartbreaking with the anguish in his voice when he screams "Let me see her!" and he immediately rushes to her side as soon as she can. And when Christine kisses the Phantom, the look on his face says it all: he understands why she's doing it, but it still absolutely kills him to see the love of his life kiss what he considers a monster.
    • Made even worse, in this troper's opinion, by the fact that unlike in the Broadway staging, Raoul isn't being held back by a gate. The Phantom is literally choking Christine when Raoul gets closer, and he's forced to stay put and watch helplessly as the girl he promised to protect is being hurt.
    • Also from that DVD: during the celebration after the performance, when the four famous Phantoms, joined by Ramin Karimloo, sing "Music of the Night." Ramin directs the final line ("You alone can make {our} song take flight") at Michael Crawford, the originator of the role. I cannot watch that part without tearing up.
    • Prior to "All I Ask Of You," in the DVD version, when Christine hears the Phantom calling out to her, she fearfully looks around before she just breaks down and then stares up at Raoul, looking as lost as a child, when he offers his hand to her.
  • It's hard not to feel any sympathy for the Phantom, he is such a Woobie. Even though he can be a Draco in Leather Pants according to misguided fans, the fact is he a tragic character. The fact that he lets Christine go at the end is what allows him to retain his status as a woobie. This is what LND misses the boat on, he let her go, and sacrifices his own happiness.
  • It's hard to explain why, but one thing which can often seem saddening if not tearjerking is the final moment in the musical when, after Erik has vanished from his throne, the mob breaks in, including Meg, and she picks up his mask and looks at it. Maybe it's because it seems to hint that she, the one character who remains innocent and sympathetic throughout the whole musical, now seems to be showing sympathy for the Phantom without even knowing him the way Christine did. The fact in the libretto the moment is described as her holding it "in her small hand", emphasizing her youth and vulnerability, only adds to it.
  • Carlotta breaking down when she finds Piangi's body backstage. It's such a quick moment, but it's so sad. She may be The Prima Donna, but she did love her husband, and Piangi died for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and in the way of the Phantom's plan. Carlotta is not acting when she loses it.
    • This gets a bit more screentime in the 2004 film version; even as the theater starts to burn down, she's crying over his corpse. It might be the saddest moment in the film. With a bit of thought, this whole business makes sense: Piangi is a bit of a jerk, but he doesn't do anything to warrant being killed by the Phantom except be in the way of an onstage reunion with Christine. Moreover, he genuinely cares for Carlotta as a person, and the feeling is clearly mutual. And this relationship gets sacrificed on the altar of one that isn't possible.
  • The revelation that the Phantom/Erik's own mother never even kissed him because of his deformed face is heartbreaking. Your mother should be the one person you can count on to love you no matter what, but Erik never even had the comfort of that. Is it any wonder why he's so bitter towards the world?
  • During the epilogue of the Leroux novel, the narrator mourns for Erik and the circumstances that led him to be a monster, when if he'd only had a normal face he could have been one of the most recognised and celebrated geniuses who ever lived. "He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world, and in the end he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah yes, we must needs pity the opera ghost."

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