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Theatre / The Phantom of the Opera

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"In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came
That voice which calls to me and speaks my name
And do I dream again? For now I find
The Phantom of the Opera is there
Inside my mind"
Christine, "The Phantom of the Opera"

The Phantom of the Opera has perhaps its most well-known adaptation in Andrew Lloyd Webber's wildly successful musical. First produced in the West End in 1986 and on Broadway in 1988, it has been running in both locations ever since.

Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman originated the roles of the Phantom and Christine in Webber's play. The musical was itself made into a movie in 2004 after years in Development Hell, starring Emmy Rossum as Christine and Gerard Butler as Erik, the Phantom. In 2011, London's Royal Albert Hall hosted a 25th anniversary staging that was released on video the following year starring Sierra Boggess as Christine and Ramin Karimloo as The Phantomnote .

Love Never Dies, a stage sequel by Webber, premiered in 2010. See also the famous 1925 silent film by Universal starring Lon Chaney, which gave Webber strong inspiration.


Contains examples of:

  • Abominable Auditorium: In the prelude, the Opera Populaire is a ruin being used as a makeshift auction house where relics from the glory days can be sold off for a few francs - including Lot 666, a chandelier in pieces. The rest of the musical is set in the Opera House's heyday, when it's a lot more glamourous... but unfortunately, it's also the Phantom's territory, and anyone who fails to follow his instructions to the letter is due for "a disaster beyond your imagination."
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable:
    • There seems to be no consensus as to whether the female lead's name is pronounced "ChrisTINE" or "CHRIStine". Sources outside the musical agree on the former, but the musical itself uses the latter because the music was originally written to accommodate the name "Kristen". Specific productions will vary.
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    • And in all likelihood, in her native Sweden she was known as KrisTIna.
    • During the rehearsal scene in Act II, there is a bit where Piangi continually fails to understand that his line is "Those who would TAN-gle with Don Juan", not "Those who would tan-GLE with Don Juan". Given that he's supposed to be an experienced and well-reknowned opera singer, it seems odd that he can't understand simple stage instructions such as "accent on the first syllable".
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Christine is a brunette, despite being a blonde in the novel. Though this is averted in the Hungarian and Finnish productions.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Carlotta is Spanish in the book, but the musical makes her Italian.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 25th anniversary performance at the Royal Albert Hall, which features several parts of the original libretto that usually aren't performed, expands upon the Phantom's backstory, incorporating elements of it from the novel. Madame Giry claims to have seen him in a freakshow in a traveling fair several years before, where it was said that he was formerly a torturer for the Shah, and that she later heard he had escaped. She recognized him as the Phantom by his eyes.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Musically speaking - the electric guitar that duels with the organ during the tag of the titular song. The synth snare in the same song is hard to miss, as well.
    • The Phantom's iconic fedora is one of these; while the musical is explicitly set in 1881, homburg hats - from which fedoras would develop - didn't rocket to popularity until later on in the 1880s.
    • The Eiffel Tower is in the backdrop of the Paris skyline during "All I Ask Of You"; again, the musical's set in 1881, but construction on the Tower didn't begin until 1887.
    • "The Point of No Return" has one right in its title. The phrase "point of no return" dates to 1941, referring to the point at which an airplane has used too much fuel to return to the location from which it departed.
  • Angry Mob Song: "Track Down This Murderer", a reprise of the title song that's part of the lengthy climax, as the police and members of the opera band together to hunt the Phantom down.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    "Christine... I love you."
    • He's usually already quite weepy before he says it, but the waterworks crank up when she responds to this by leaving him.
  • Arc Words: "Keep your hand at the level of your eyes..."
  • Ascended Extra:
    • A lot of understudies and alternates for the three major roles often ended up playing the role in this or other productions. (Ex. Rebecca Caine was an alternate Christine in the debut London production before being the main Christine in the Toronto production. Additionally, a lot of Raouls have ended up as Phantoms.)
    • In the original novel, Meg Giry only shows up briefly in the first three chapters, and never interacts with any of the main characters; she's even rather dismissive of Christine's singing ability. In the show, although she's definitely a secondary character, she's aged up and promoted to being Christine's best friend.
    • Likewise, Madame Giry in the novel was a superstitious box keeper who wasn't aware of the Phantom's real nature. In this version, she's a severe and savvy ballet mistress who's much more aware of who the Phantom is and what his goals are, and eventually helps Raoul to hunt him down.
    • And, within the story of the show itself, Christine herself is an ascended extra, since after Carlotta storms out she goes from being a lowly chorus girl to the star of the gala.
  • As You Know: One of the shown scenes of Don Juan Triumphant centers around Don Juan and his servant Passarino going over their plan for his latest seduction, for the benefit of the audience (both in and out of universe).
  • Auction: The prologue of the musical is set at a 1911 auction of the opera house's odds and ends.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Meta example: After "Notes/Prima Donna", the curtain falls so that the set for the Il Muto opera can be set up. First time theatergoers often think the act has ended and get up to leave, only to rush back to their seats when they realize their mistake and the curtain rises once again. The only indication the act isn't over is dialogue from the actors while the curtain is closed.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Christine and the Phantom's is probably the most famous in musical theater.
  • Big "NO!":
    • The Phantom will often let out a huge one of these in the first half when Christine sneaks up to his side and removes his mask, often accompanied by theatrics such as scampering on the ground and muttering things such as "Curse you!" Both Christine and the audience are left horrified.
    • As well, some Raouls have let one out when Christine kisses the Phantom; that may also be combined with a cry of "Christine!"
  • Business Trip Adultery: The wife cheating while the husband is away version is a key (and only revealed) plot point of the Show Within a Show Il Muto.
  • Casting Couch: The early assumption by the managers is that all this "phantom" business — including the demand that Christine get the lead in the next production or else — is Raoul trying to advance her career because she's slept with him. Ironically the guy who believes he truly runs the theatre, the Phantom, is obsessed with her and making said demands.
  • Colorful Song: "Masquerade" which has all the cast (save Madame Giry) decked out in gloriously elaborate and colorful costumes, and constantly singing about the colours of said costumes.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A graphic novel was released in December 2021.
  • Compelling Voice:
    • "The Music of the Night" is an attempted seduction via this.
    • "Wandering Child..." is the Phantom trying to convince Christine to return to him with this — and he would probably have succeeded if it weren't for Raoul intervening.
    • "The Point of No Return" is also a double seduction scene: Don Juan (sung by the Phantom) is seducing Aminta (sung by Christine) — who unwittingly manages to seduce him right back!
  • Composite Character: The Persian is completely absent, but his task of leading Raoul to the Phantom's lair has been given to Madame Giry.
  • Costume Porn:
    • Pretty much the whole show, but especially "Masquerade".
    • Hell, the first fifteen minutes of the musical is a great example, what with the fancy details put in the Show Within a Show depicting Ancient Rome.
  • Counterpoint Duet: More like a Counterpoint Trio in the finale. Christine's "Angel of Music" vs. Raoul's "All I Ask of You" vs. the Phantom's "Point of No Return".
  • Creepy Doll: The Phantom has one of these done up as a bride in a broken mirror (just go with it) that suddenly lunges out and scares Christine senseless, causing her to faint.
    • Averted in the 25th anniversary performance and the US tour as that element has been removed.
  • Crosscast Role: Christine as the Page Boy, in an In-Universe example. And her character's name "Serafimo" is a Shout-Out to "Cherubino", another cross-cast role in the real-life opera The Marriage of Figaro.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the 25th anniversary performance, Piangi says "If you can call this sh- gibberish art!" about the Phantom's opera Don Juan Triumphant.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Madame Giry dresses exclusively in black and is a stern ballet-instructor, but she is morally upstanding and shows deep concern for the well-being of those under her care.
    • Zig-zagged with the Phantom based on your interpretation and for a given value on the word 'evil'. He is willing to and has murdered people among other things, but he is also an outcast of society with a tragic past, and desperate to be loved by someone.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • Several turn up in Act Two as part of longer pieces (particularly the appearances of the "Angel of Music" melody), but the Act One closing, the Phantom's reprise of "All I Ask Of You," is the best known.
    • The final words of the musical are the Phantom's despairing reprise of "The Music of the Night."
    • "Twisted Every Way" for "Prima Donna".
    • The first two times The Phantom's leitmotif is heard, it's awesome. The last time, it is when Christine unmasks him in front of the whole theatre.
    • Then there is also the Phantom's tear-jerking little reprise of "Masquerade".
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Madame Giry tells Raoul what she knows of the Phantom's past, including that he ended up imprisoned in a cage in a travelling fair. The film goes one step further, showing how she rescued him from said sideshow when they were both very young.
    • Christine is somewhat of a parallel example, given how she's had to deal with the tragic death of her father.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "And if he has to kill a thousand men / The Phantom of the Opera will kill and kill again!"
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: As the Phantom says when he crashes the party in 'Masquerade': "Why so silent, good messieurs?/Did you think that I had left you for good?"
  • Diegetic Music: The show takes place in an opera house, and several (very abbreviated) theatrical productions are staged over the course of its run-time. About a quarter of its music is diegetic.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: The Phantom rips the chain with Christine's engagement ring off her neck at the climax of "Why So Silent?" as he snarls at her, "Your chains are still mine..."
  • Dramatic Unmask: Christine does a variant of this to the person playing Don Juan at the end of "The Point of No Return" by taking his hood off, revealing that it's the Phantom singing with her, not Piangi.
    • Then, quite literally, she rips his mask off his face while he's singing "All I Ask of You."
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: "The Point of No Return", the culmination of all the Phantom's schemes and seductions.
  • Evil Sounds Deep:
    • Averted as the role of the Phantom was written for, and is almost always portrayed by, a tenor — although this trope was played straight with the casting of baritone Norm Lewis on Broadway.
    • Going even further, a key aspect of the Phantom's relationship to Christine at the beginning is that he communicates to her through murmurings and whispers.
  • Evolving Music: Near the end of "Angel of Music", Meg notes "Your face, Christine, it's white", indicating Christine's trance-like state when she thinks about her mentor. In productions where a dark-skinned actress plays Christine, however (i.e. when Lucy St Louis and Emilie Kouatchou took over the role in London and New York, respectively), the lyric's usually changed to avoid some unintentional hilarity.
    London: "Your face, Christine, so strange."
    New York: "Christine, are you alright?"
  • Faint in Shock: At the conclusion of "The Music Of The Night", Christine becomes completely overwhelmed by everything the Phantom has put her through, including presenting her with a mannequin replica of her wearing a wedding dress, and finally collapses.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: The main gimmick of the show. The chandelier is lifted up to the ceiling during the overture, and at the end of Act I, the Phantom sends it hurling towards the stage, barely missing the audience as it comes crashing down.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Right from the beginning, we know that Raoul at least will survive the events of the musical and that the chandelier, having gone up in such a dramatic fashion, is going to come down again just as dramatically...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Il Muto scene and its song "Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh". When the Phantom interrupts it, the Countess is with her lover, cheerfully singing about how she's cuckolding her husband, not knowing that he's hiding nearby. After Buquet's murder, Christine — about to take over the role of the Countess — and Raoul head to the roof to hide from the Phantom, share their first kiss together and declare their love...and the Phantom is privy to this all along. Is it any surprise that it's when Christine's taking her bow that night that the Phantom chooses to crash the chandelier?
      • You could say that "Poor Fool..." is also foreshadowing how the Phantom knows the managers and the crew are ignoring his instructions and letting Carlotta play the Countess. Especially the line "If he knew the truth/he'd never ever go."
    • Not to mention "Think of Me". The entire song. ''"...Though it was always clear, that this was never meant to be..."'
    • The references to the Angel of Music as the actual Angel of Music was one Lucifer Morningstar.
  • Forgotten Framing Device: The show opens with an elderly Raoul attending an auction of the opera house's items, which segues into the main story when they show the chandelier and the prop is hoisted up over the auditorium. Raoul's lines imply that Christine has died in the interim, but the play ends with her still alive and never returns to the framing story. (The film version does, but it's a silent scene adding no new elements.)
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: it's not clear how much time elapses over the course of the first act.note  What is clear is that in Christine and Raoul's second scene together, they're singing "All I Ask Of You" and pledging their love. True, they may have been hanging out in the intervening time; true, they grew up together; but it's still only their second interaction privy to the audience. (And by their third scene together, they are in fact engaged! Fortunately the six-month Time Skip is made explicit, lending a bit more credibility to that development.)
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Since the plot takes place in an opera house, the entire theatre itself is part of the set:
    • That chandelier that was slowly cranked up to the ceiling at the beginning, to signify time going backwards? The Phantom sends it hurtling back towards the stage at the end of the first act, narrowly missing the front rows before crashing.
    • Whenever the Phantom "publicly" terrorizes any showing, his voice can be heard echoing from anywhere in the building.
      • At the World Tour's performance at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the audience got the distinct feeling that the Phantom is breathing down their necks as his voice echoes all around them. Brr.
    • When the theatre is being secured for the performance of Don Juan Triumphant, the sound of doors slamming and firemen shouting "Secure!" can be heard throughout the theatre. And the officer whom Raoul instructs stands up right in front of those in the front row.
    • When the Phantom shouts, "DID I NOT INSTRUCT THAT BOX FIVE WAS TO BE LEFT EMPTY?!", the audience members actually sitting in Box Five will get a nice little surprise. There's a speaker set up in there.
  • Framing Device: The show opens in 1905, well after the events of the plot have taken place, with an older Raoul attending an auction at the opera house and witnessing the reveal of the broken chandelier, and then "flashes back" to the past.
  • Gambit Pileup: At the beginning, the change of the opera house's ownership means that everyone who wants things to change is trying to get a word in first. The Phantom's own machinations go unnoticed for some time because the new owners assume it's Raoul or one of the lesser players trying to stir up trouble.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Madame Giry is nothing short of creepy, and commands instant compliance from everyone associated with the opera house through intimidation as much as respect. But when played well she clearly loves her daughter, is one of the few people who consistently treats Christine with compassion and protectiveness, and spends the entire play desperately trying to keep people safe—hushing even people she doesn't particularly like when they start to say things that might anger the Phantom and at times even pleading with the management not to give in to hubris that will place them and others in danger.
  • Go Through Me: In "The Final Lair," Christine throws herself between the Phantom and Raoul, with some versions having her go so far as to try to free him from the rope.
  • Grew a Spine: Christine over the course of the show. At the beginning she is almost too shy to sing in front of an audience, later on she stands up for herself to the likes of Carlotta and the Phantom himself.
  • Grief Song: Both Christine ("Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again") and The Phantom ("All I Ask of You" Reprise).
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Raoul and the Phantom. One's a bright and bubbly young Vicomte who's known Christine since childhood. The other's a enigmatic masked genius who taught her to sing — and who lives under the opera house and clearly has more than a few screws loose. Choices, choices...
  • Hall of Mirrors:
    • The 25th anniversary performance has Madame Giry say that the Phantom once built a hall of mirrors for the Shah.
    • In the new (2014) U.S. tour the set for "Masquerade" is a stage full of very large mirrors.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet:
    • The title song is a haunting duet between the Phantom and Christine as he abducts her to his underground lair. Christine sings about how mysterious and otherworldly this supposed "Angel of Music" is, and the Phantom lures her in with compliments to her singing and by feeding in to her curiosity about his nature.
    • "The Point of No Return" features Christine, playing an onstage role in-universe, singing about never going back on making a decision that will change her life forever. The Phantom, pretending to be her co-star, usurps the role and uses the event to share a moment with and propose to Christine, which she slowly realizes over the course of the song.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • "The Point of No Return," anyone?
    • Also, most of the stage actresses are only in their twenties, and are very sexy indeed.
    • The guys playing Raoul can be pretty hot as well. Heck, John Barrowman (yes, the same guy who plays Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood) played Raoul in the West End in 1993 and was supposed to be the first Raoul in Love Never Dies!
    • The 25th anniversary performance at the Royal Albert Hall touches on this trope, with well-respected character actor Ramin Karimloo portraying the Phantom as particularly charismatic in both voice and general appearance (with the mask on) yet also showing the bleakness and despair of the Phantom's internal conflicts... and, well, with the mask off...
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again", Christine recognizes how hard she's been trying to hold on the past and the memories of her father — which the Phantom has used to manipulate her — and tries to move on.
  • Idiot Ball: The Phantom grabs hold of this hard late in the first act. He doesn't seem to consider that, even if Christine enjoyed seeing Carlotta being completely humiliated — which she clearly doesn't — the fact that he murdered Buquet and hung him over the stage is going to have her running for the hills. Or the roof, as the case might be. But then again, the Phantom is hardly a rational man in any case...
  • The Ingenue: Christine, complete with an Innocent Soprano voice. Even Carlotta calls her as such:
    "Would you not rather have your precious little ingenue?"
  • Insistent Terminology: The Phantom calls his racketeering of the managers, and of Monsieur Lefevre before him, his "salary".
  • Ironic Echo: The final lyrics of "Music Of The Night" are the Phantom's passionate declaration of love for Christine. But when they are sung again at the end of the show, he is now expressing despair at having lost her forever.
    • "The Phantom of the Opera is there/here, INSIDE MY MIND!"
    • "Order your fine horses now!"
    • Phantom asked Christine if she can bear to look or "Think of Me" when she unmasks him in "Stranger Than You Dreamt It".
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: "Masquerade". (Though they do manage to tie the song itself back into an emotional moment with the Phantom near the end of the show, and even at the beginning of Act 2 it could be seen as a metaphor for the Phantom's situation.)
  • Jealous Romantic Witness: The Phantom witnesses Christine and Raoul have a romantic duet at the end of the first act, which spurs him to declare revenge on both of them and leads to the famous chandelier drop.
  • Kill and Replace: The Phantom does this with Piangi for "The Point of No Return," killing him with a Punjab lasso and wearing the face-obscuring Don Juan costume so he can take his place.
  • Lampshade Hanging: From "Prima Donna":
    You'd never get away with all this in a play!
    But if it's loudly sung and in a foreign tongue,
    it's just the sort of story audiences adore,
    in fact, a perfect opera!
    • "And what was it were supposed to have wrote? (I mean) Written!"
  • Laughing Mad:
    • The Phantom does this a lot in the Il Muto scene, whether he's making Carlotta croak or disrupting the ballet scene and offing Buquet. Depending on the actor playing him, he can also devolve to this in the final lair sequence.
    • The trope is pretty much averted, however, back when the Phantom whispers to Christine as the "angel of music" and for a good chunk of the story afterwards when she meets him in person, when he acts either cool and calm or passionately charismatic in his singing despite his obsessive insanity.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the conclusion of the first act, the Opera House cast has completed their performance of "Il Muto" and is taking their bows. This allows the audience to applaud the performers at the halfway point of the actual show. It's done several times throughout the show also, with the characters addressing the orchestra, etc.
  • Long-Runners: Since 1986 in London and 1988 in New York City; it's the longest-running Broadway show in the latter. (Les Misérables has got it licked by a year in London, and would have it similarly licked on Broadway had the Broadway version, which opened in 1987, a year before Phantom did, not closed in 2003.)
  • Love at First Note: The Phantom's interpretation of Raoul's feelings for Christine:
    The Phantom: He was bound to love you when he heard you sing.
    • This is probably projection, given the Phantom himself fell in love with Christine when he heard her singing.
      The Phantom: Since the moment I first heard you sing / I have needed you with me to serve me, to sing.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Masquerade" is a grand celebration...of concealing your identity "so the world will never find you!" A Dark Reprise appears at the end of the show.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Phantom follows Christine to her father's grave and, while she's at her most emotionally distraught and vulnerable, attempts to convince her to return to him by using his Compelling Voice as well as playing hard and fast on her daddy issues. Charming.
  • Manly Tears: The Phantom breaks down every time he loses Christine, especially at the end.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's deliberately left ambiguous as to whether this version of the Phantom actually does have supernatural abilities. Some of the things he does, like the mirror and shooting fire from his staff, are understandable, but a lot more — apparently teleporting at the end of "Why So Silent?", causing the piano to play itself during the rehearsal of Don Juan Triumphant, creating the massive amounts of fire to shoot up from the ground/stage in the graveyard, almost certainly teleporting during "Seal My Fate Tonight", making the gates in his lair rise with merely a gesture, and disappearing from under his cloak at the end of the show — while obviously stage effects in real life, have no practical explanation in the context of the story.
  • Mood Whiplash: Whatever romantic feelings the audience may have watching Christine and Raoul sing a love duet evaporate fast into a Mass "Oh, Crap!" once they leave the stage and the Phantom emerges from behind the statue of the angel, revealing that he's seen and heard everything and is pissed. Audiences have been known to gasp in horror at this moment.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Phantom's "All I Ask of You" reprise when Christine unmasks him.
  • Mythology Gag: Lloyd Webber has admitted to being inspired by the 1925 film version, and there are a couple of clear shout outs. Most obvious is the angry mob going after the Phantom near the end, but the flower hoops held by the Sylphides in the "Il Muto" ballet also match those used in one of the film ballets.
  • Neverending Terror: Some of Christine's lines referring to the title character include: "My God who is this man/Who hunts to kill/I can't escape from him/I never will". Referring to the plan to stage Don Juan Triumphant (the Phantom's own opera) with her performance as bait for a trap, Christine is reluctant to perform and says:
    "Raoul I'm frightened. Don't make me do this. It scares me.
    Don't put me through this ordeal by fire. He'll take me. I know.
    We'll be parted forever. He won't let me go.
    What I once used to dream, I now dread. If he finds me, it won't ever end."
  • No Name Given: Andrew Lloyd Webber doesn't call the Phantom "Erik". Ironically there was another musical called Phantom, released around the same time, that does refer to Erik by name. Even more ironically, in the original Leroux novel 'Erik' wasn't even the guy's original name, but one he chose for himself.
  • Nostalgic Musicbox: It has the image of a monkey sitting atop a barrel organ, and plays what is later revealed to be the "Masquerade" melody.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: While the West End (of course), the Broadway and the World Tour productions have everyone speaking and singing with an English accent, the restaged US tour has everyone speaking and singing with an American accent.
  • Number of the Beast: One has to wonder what jackass decided to tempt fate by putting the cursed chandelier with the bloody past into the musical's auction as Lot 666.
  • Obsession Song: The reprise of "All I Ask of You" at the end of Act One, as the Phantom swears revenge upon Christine for denying and rejecting him after all he's done for her.
  • Oedipus Complex:
    • Electra Complex. Part of Christine's attraction to the Phantom is that he reminds her of her father. (Note how most of the lyrics in "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" could just as easily apply to the Phantom.)
    • The first Toronto version had the Phantom and Christine being played by Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine, who only a few years earlier played a surrogate father and daughter pair in Les Misérables, essentially adding this edge to their scenes.
    • And the 2014 Broadway Phantom and Christine — Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess — played father and daughter Triton and Ariel in the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid, which rather gave their scenes this edge as well.
  • Oh, Crap!: A few moments throughout the show:
    • When the Phantom hangs Buquet above the stage. It's the moment where it hits you that the Phantom will resort to murder to get what he wants.
    • The end of "That's All I Ask Of You". As Christine and Raoul leave the stage, the Phantom climbs up from behind the angel statue, having heard everything. Audiences have been known to gasp in horror when he appears.
    • When Christine is deep in character in the middle of "The Point of No Return", she's running her hands over 'Don Juan's' covered face — and clearly feels the edge of a very familiar mask. She immediately breaks character and tries to run to safety in the wings, only for the Phantom to grab her and haul her back.
    • When Christine unmasks the Phantom in front of the audience, and then immediately after he takes her, Piangi's dead body is discovered.
    • Depending on how it's played, the Phantom has a major one when Christine lets him know what exactly she thinks of the choice he presented her, and that any pity she might have had for him until that point is gone.
  • Original Cast Precedent:
    • In every replica production of the theatrical Phantom (and most non-replica ones) Christine has brown or nearly black hair (despite the fact that in the book, Christine is blonde); the original West End Christine, Sarah Brightman, has very dark hair. Other inspiration may have come from the 1925 film, in which Mary Philbin has dark hair. Really Useful Group has also been known to keep a tight leash on character designs and appearances, so Executive Meddling may come into play here.
    • Averted with Emmi Christensson, current alternate in the West End production, who is actually Swedish and has been given a blonde wig.
    • Averted again with Celinde Schoenmaker, who has been given a much lighter wig for Christine, just not pure blonde like Emmi.
    • Also averted in the Hungarian and Finnish productions, where Christine is always blonde.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "The Point of No Return," the Phantom uses a Don Juan disguise to switch places with Piangi (the real Don Juan). It just about works, but fails because Piangi (the real Don Juan) is noticeably heavier-set than the Phantom, and, as it turns out, a little more dead. Making this slightly more plausible is that the Don Juan costume uses a heavy floor-length cloak with a deep cowl, and some Phantom actors go the extra mile by imitating Piangi's Italian accent in the scene. It still doesn't explain why nobody notices the guy performing with Christine is suddenly about a hundred pounds lighter, though...
    • This is why in Notes the Phantom instructs Piangi to lose some weight, so he can better imitate him. Some productions will remove padding from Piangi's costume to help with this.
  • Patter Song: ALW's version has "Notes" in the first act, which is a patter song with an increasing number of people all singing angrily at each other until the Phantom shuts them up.
  • Playing Gertrude: While the Phantom of the book is at least about fifty, the Phantom on stage is being played by successively younger actors — Ramin Karimloo was 30 when he portrayed the Phantom in Love Never Dies.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Played with when it comes to Andre and Firmin. They're not entirely incompetent, per se - they do know how to run the opera house and what's most likely to get customers in seats, as well as winging it when the Phantom ruins Carlotta's singing - but they're really in way over their heads and defer to Raoul during the climax in order to get things done. You do have to feel sorry for them, though; they got into the opera business to make a profit, not to deal with a mad man who extorts absurdly large amounts of cash and drops chandeliers when he gets annoyed.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Christine and Meg are very close, and very physically affectionate, to boot. They're constantly holding hands, whispering together, etc., and Meg is Christine's most unstinting support throughout.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Some of the actors playing the Phantom will depict him as this, especially during the final confrontation—Norm Lewis actually does a horse dance while singing "Order your fine horses now!", as a means of taunting the imprisoned Raoul and Christine.
  • Race Lift: In the early 90's, Robert Gulliame became the first African-American actor to play the Phantom when he replaced Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles production. Norm Lewis became the second—and Broadway's first—after 26 years in 2014, Derrick Davis became the third and Quentin Oliver Lee the fourth (both as part of the US tour). Meanwhile, Margaret Ann Gates was the first Asian Christine in the Toronto production while Ali Edwolt was the first on Broadway, Jordan Donica was the first African-American Raoul, and Patricia Phillips the first African-American Carlotta. The show reopened after the pandemic-forced shutdown with Lucy St. Louis as London's first black Christine, Beatrice Penny Toure as the second (as an understudy to Ms. St. Louis), and Jem as London's first black Raoul (though he too is an understudy rather than the chief actor). Emilie Koautchou as Broadway's (first as the alternate, then as the main one as of January 26, 2022), and Kanisha Marie Feliciano as the first Afro-Latina.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Christine really lets the Phantom have it when he pulls the Scarpia Ultimatum on her.
  • Red Right Hand: The Phantom has one of the most famous.
  • Reprise Medley: Everything after "Point of No Return".
  • Ring on a Necklace: Christine agrees to marry Raoul but she insists on keeping their engagement a secret, especially as she's concerned how the Phantom will react. As a result, she wears her engagement ring on a necklace so it's less conspicuous. It doesn't work: when the Phantom dramatically reappears at a masquerade ball, he lets Christine know that he's aware of her engagement and of his opinion on the matter by ripping the necklace off.
  • Sadistic Choice: "Twisted Every Way" and the "Point of No Return" reprise, where Christine is forced first to choose between justice and the man who, despite everything, inspired her voice; and then between staying with that crazed man forever and saving Raoul, or refusing him and letting Raoul die.
  • Say My Name:
    • "Christine, Christine" is sung multiple times in the same way by the Phantom, Raoul, Meg and Carlotta.
    • Christine screams Raoul's name when he saves her from falling back under the Phantom's influence at her father's grave.
  • Sensational Staircase Sequence: The masquerade ball features a dance on a staircase.
  • Shout-Out: The notes as the Count and Countess sing goodbye to each other in "Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh" sounds like the "Vincerò," part from "Nessun Dorma" of Turandot.
  • Shouting Free-for-All: "Notes" and its reprise are this in song form, with everyone of importance at the Opera Populaire receiving threatening notes from the Phantom, accusing others of being in league with him, and arguing over what to do about it.
  • Show Stopper: "The Phantom of the Opera" has the power to bring down the house. "Sing my angel! Sing for me!"
  • Show Within a Show: See Stylistic Suck below.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • Joseph Buquet really doesn't do much while he's alive besides loom about the place, tell the corps de ballet scary stories about the Phantom and set up the Chekhov's Gun of the Punjab lasso - but his shocking death is the final nail in the coffin of Christine deciding the Phantom is bad news and choosing Raoul; all (further) hell breaks loose from there.
    • For that matter, the Phantom himself. Would you believe that a (title!) character who so thoroughly dominates the show is only onstage for about 30-40 minutes of a two-and-a-half hour production?
  • The Song Before the Storm: "Prima Donna" and "Notes (reprise) - Twisted Every Way".
  • Stalker Shot: After the Phantom upstages a performance with a sudden murder, Christine dashes out of the theater in fear until Raoul arrives to calm her down. Thinking each other safe, they profess their love to one another before heading back inside... and as they leave, the Phantom crawls up into view, revealing he has heard their entire talk and is now very jealous and angry.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Both Ramin Karimloo as the title character and Hadley Fraser as Raoul count for many fans in The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as other times when said actors have been involved.
  • Stylistic Suck: The three fictional operas performed in the course of the story: Hannibal, a parody of the grand late classical operas from the like of Meyerbeer and Gluck, Il Muto, an obvious parody of Mozart — or one of that crowd — and Don Juan Triumphant, Sir Andrew's spoof on serialism in modern opera, overwrought with dissonance, and bathing in clichés.
  • Taking a Third Option: One way to interpret Christine's action when confronted with the Phantom's Sadistic Choice. She kisses him, thereby letting him experience compassion and kindness for the first time while still not choosing him over Raoul, which causes him to have a Heel Realization and let them go.
  • Tenor Boy: Raoul fits this trope, but note that the Phantom is also a tenor. Starting with the original London cast, in which Steve Barton (Raoul) was also Michael Crawford's (The Phantom's) understudy, it's common for Raoul's actor to understudy the Phantom's role, sometimes taking it over later.
  • This Is Reality: You'd never get away with all this in a play/ But if it's loudly sung and in a foreign tongue/ It's just the sort of story audiences adore In fact, a perfect opera!"
  • This Is as Far as I Go: Said word for word by Madame Giry as she leads Raoul part of the way to the Phantom's lair, points him in the right direction and leaves him to make the rest of the way by himself.
  • Title Drop: Happens every five seconds...
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: So many songs feature them. "Think of Me" is the first instance, as it begins in D but then goes up a half-step after the first verse and remains there for the rest of the song. The title theme song itself actually changes key with every verse.
  • The Unreveal: Although Madame Giry hints at the Phantom's Mysterious Past, it's never explained how she knows where his house is — or why she's unofficially on his 'payroll,' so to speak. (Aside from sheer terror, of course...)
    • Averted slightly with the movie musical; Madame Giry helped the Phantom escape from a traveling freak show as a child, so she probably feels responsible for him as a sort of guardian/acquaintance. The 25th Anniversary show also borrows bits of this backstory as well.
  • Villain Love Song: It's a Long List...
    • "The Mirror"
    • "The Music of the Night" is one of the most famous songs in musical theater and one of the best examples of this trope.
    • "Wandering Child"
    • "Point of No Return"
    • "Down Once More"
  • Villain Song: The title number.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Phantom has one of these at the climax of both acts. The first time, after Christine chooses Raoul and denies him, he causes the chandelier to nearly fall on her. The second time, after she unmasks him in front of everyone, he tries to force her to marry him, despite the fact that an angry mob is hunting him down. And both times it's incredibly painful to watch.
  • Wham Line: "He was bound to love you when he heard you sing." As the Phantom realizes that he himself sowed the seed of the love which took Christine from him.

"It's over now, the music of the night."


Video Example(s):


The Phantom of the Opera

One of the most recognizable tunes in the history of theatre. When you hear this, there can be no doubt: the Phantom of the Opera is there.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / Leitmotif

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