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The Phantom of the Opera (French: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra) is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois from 28 September 1909, to 8 January 1910. It was published in volume form in late March 1910 by Pierre Lafitte. The novel is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during the nineteenth century and an apocryphal tale concerning the use of a former ballet pupil's skeleton in Carl Maria von Weber's 1841 production of Der Freischütz. It has been successfully adapted into various stage and film adaptations, most notable of which are the 1925 film depiction featuring Lon Chaney, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical.

In 1921 Paris, the Palais Garnier is believed to be haunted by an entity known as the Phantom or the Opera Ghost. One day, the stagehand, Joseph Buquet, is found hanged, presumably by the Phantom, after boasting about him to the corps de ballet. At the same time, Christine Daaé, a young Swedish soprano, has been tutored by what she believes to be the Angel of Music, sent by her deceased father. On the night of the gala performance for the old manager's retirement, Christine is called upon to sing in the place of the Opera's leading soprano, Carlotta, who is ill, and her performance is an astonishing success. The Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who was present at the performance, recognises her as his childhood playmate, and recalls his love for her. He attempts to visit her backstage, where he hears a man speaking to her from inside her dressing room. He investigates the room once Christine leaves, only to find that there's no one else in the room.

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