The Phantom of the Palais Garnier

The novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra written by the French novelist, Gaston Leroux was first published on January 8th, 1910.

However, the story itself was separated in many sections to appear in Le Gaulois from September 23rd, 1909 and saw the final publication in 1910.

The inspiration for the Phantom came from the Palais Garnier…

Original Musical Summary

Deformed since birth, a bitter man known only as the Phantom lives in the sewers underneath the Paris Opera House.

Venetian Mask

He falls in love with the obscure chorus singer Christine, and privately tutors her while terrorizing the rest of the opera house and demanding Christine be given lead roles.

The Gothic Fiction

The story is known to everyone; it has been for over a century now. Either the original silver screen movie from the twenties, or the musical, or even the last movie with Gerard Butler, one of them taught you about the story of The Phantom of the Opera.

Phantom of the Opera - Lon Chaney - 1925
Phantom of the Opera – Lon Chaney – 1925

 

“If I am the phantom, it is because man’s hatred has made me so. If I am to be saved it is because your love redeems me.” — Phantom of the Opera

Part of the classic monsters, The Phantom of the Opera inspired many novelists and many people throughout decades of histories. A little like Frankenstein, the character itself is unique and doesn’t have a “specie” to rely upon like werewolves, vampires or even Bigfoot. The character is alone in a pool of monsters that have their entire people to themselves.

His story is one of the most popular in Gothic culture, and many people are divided when it comes to saying if the Phantom is indeed a monster as many sympathize with the character. Erik would’ve been my choice over Raoul from the beginning.

Palais Garnier - Opéra de Paris - France
Palais Garnier – Opéra de Paris – France

 

Gothic fiction is a genre that isn’t as popular as others and is often left aside or mistaken as horror or paranormal. However, The Phantom of the Opera is the perfect example of a misinterpreted genre, classic, set in a Victorian scenery, romance mixed with darkness and taking place at night.

The Inspiration

Gaston Leroux, the novelist, and creator of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra said before passing, that what he wrote was true. He believed that at Palais Garnier, the inspiration for the Paris Opera House mentioned in the novel, was haunted by a ghost or ghoul living below the infrastructure.

“I tore off my mask so as not to lose one of her tears… and she did not run away!…and she did not die!… She remained alive, weeping over me, weeping with me. We cried together! I have tasted all the happiness the world can offer.” — Phantom of the Opera

Despite being no island below the Palais Garnier, it is relatively accurate that while it was being constructed, there was enough water to have the builders work their way around it after relentlessly trying to pump all the water out.

Chandelier

As for the seven-ton chandelier made of bronze and crystal had never fallen from the ceiling by accident or sabotage. However, there has been a report that one of its fixtures fell and did kill someone instantly through impact.

Phantom Haven

Is there a ghost or a disfigured man who once inhabited the secluded island below the Palais Garnier and turned it into his haven? Many doubts it, however, it is believed that Gaston Leroux inspired himself based on actual event and reports and only embellished the stories and folktales that were told.

Welcome to September, the month of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra!

The OCD Vampire,
Alexa Wayne


8 thoughts on “The Phantom of the Palais Garnier

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