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The lights dim at the Paris Opera House. The exquisite Christine Daae enraptures the audience with her mellifluous voice. Immediately, Raoul de Chagny falls deeply in love. But the legend of the disfigured “opera ghost” haunts the performance, and as Raoul begins his pursuit of Christine, he is pulled into the depths of the opera house, and into the depths of human emotions. Soon Raoul discovers that the ghost is real and that he wields a terrifying power over Christine–a power as unimaginable as the ghost’s masked face. As Raoul and the ghost vie for Christine’s love, a journey begins into the dark recesses of the human heart, where desire, vulnerability, fear, and violence unravel in a tragic confrontation.
87,000 words, with a reading time of ~ 5.3 hours (~ 348 pages), and first published in 1910. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2010.
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It was the evening on which MM. Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giving a last gala performance to mark their retirement. Suddenly the dressing–room of La Sorelli, one of the principal dancers, was invaded by half–a–dozen young ladies of the ballet, who had come up from the stage after “dancing” Polyeucte. They rushed in amid great confusion, some giving vent to forced and unnatural laughter, others to cries of terror. Sorelli, who wished to be alone for a moment to “run through” the speech which she was to make to the resigning managers, looked around angrily at the mad and tumultuous crowd. It was little Jammes—the girl with the tip–tilted nose, the forget–me–not eyes, the rose–red cheeks and the lily–white neck and shoulders—who gave the explanation in a trembling voice:
“It’s the ghost!” And she locked the door.
Sorelli’s dressing–room was fitted up with official, commonplace elegance. A pier–glass, a sofa, a dressing–table and a cupboard or two provided the necessary furniture. On the walls hung a few engravings, relics of the mother, who had known the glories of the old Opera in the Rue le Peletier; portraits of Vestris, Gardel, Dupont, Bigottini. But the room seemed a palace to the brats of the corps de ballet, who were lodged in common dressing–rooms where they spent their time singing, quarreling, smacking the dressers and hair–dressers and buying one another glasses of cassis, beer, or even rhum, until the call–boy’s bell rang.