The Phantom of the Opera is Gaston Leroux’s exquisite blend of Gothic horror and tragic romance, which formed the basis for a world-renowned stage musical. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with notes by Mireille Ribiere, and an introduction by Jann Matlock.
When the new managers of the Paris Opera House ignore their predecessors’ warnings about the hideous ‘Opera ghost’ stalking the theatre, it is a fatal mistake. The Phantom haunts the imagination of the beautiful and talented singer Christine Daae, appearing to her as the ‘Angel of Music’ – a disembodied voice, coaching her to sing as she never could before. When Christine is courted by a handsome young Viscount, the Phantom is consumed by jealousy and seeks revenge. And when Christine suddenly disappears after a triumphant singing performance, it becomes clear that the Phantom’s time has come. With its pervading atmosphere of menace, tinged with dark humour, The Phantom of the Opera (1910) has inspired film, stage and literature since its publication, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, the most successful theatrical show of all time. Mireille Ribiere’s highly readable and historically accurate translation captures the drive and drama of Leroux’s vivid tale, and is accompanied by extensive notes and further reading. Jann Matlock’s fascinating new introduction examines the Phantom’s legacy and uncovers the real secrets hidden in the Paris Opera House.
Gaston Leroux (1868-1927) was born in Paris, the son of a building contractor. His first novel was serialised in the late 1890s, and with the 1907 publication of The Mystery of the Yellow Room he launched his career as a pioneer of the French detective novel. The Phantom of the Opera (1910) has been Leroux’s best-known novel in the English-speaking world ever since the resounding success of the 1925 silent film version.
If you enjoyed The Phantom of the Opera, you might like Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, also available in Penguin Classics.