In the Preface to The Phantom of the Opera, the book’s narrator tells of the methods he used to research the legend of the phantom. Writing roughly thirty years after the events conveyed in the novel, he tells of his research in the library at the Paris Opera house; his interviews with people who were present at the time; his reliance on the memoirs of one of the opera’s directors at that time; and his own study of the opera house.
The first three chapters take place on the night that the old opera directors are retiring and turning over the directorship to Armand Moncharmin and Firmin Richard. While the performers are preparing for the night’s show, several of the dancers claim to have seen the phantom. In the basement, Joseph Buquet, the chief stagehand, is found hanged.
At the retirement party, all attention is drawn to the mature, nuanced performance of Christine Daaé, previously an obscure understudy. Raoul de Chegny, attending the opera with his older brother, Count Phillippe de Chegny, falls in love with Christine. When she faints, Raoul pushes his way into the crowd in her dressing room and tells her that he is the little boy who chased her scarf into the sea. After the room is cleared, he listens outside the door and hears a male voice talking with her inside, saying that he has made her a star.
The retiring directors tell the new directors about the phantom...
(The entire section is 1315 words.)
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