Best 1909 Adventures (6)
March 7, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1909 adventure novels. Happy 110th anniversary!
Gaston Leroux’s horror/romance crime adventure Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera).
Something very strange is happening at the Palais Garnier — an opera house in Paris. A stagehand is found hanged, then the rope around his neck goes missing. The company’s leading soprano, Carlotta, falls ill just before a gala performance… and the young soprano, Christine Daaé, who replaces Carlotta, is strangely accomplished. When the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who has loved Christine since childhood, visits her backstage after her triumphant debut, he hears a man’s voice; Christine reveals that she has been secretly tutored by the Angel of Music. Is it true that the Palais Garnier is haunted by an entity — the so-called Phantom of the Opera — who appears as if by magic? If so, the Phantom/Angel now has an agenda: He demands that Christine perform the lead role of Marguerite in the upcoming production of Faust. When his wishes are ignored, Carlotta falls ill again; a chandelier falls and kills an opera-goer. Christine then discovers that the Phantom is a deformed man — a circus performer whose own mother forced him to wear a mask, to cover up his skull-like face — who has fallen in love with her. When Erik abducts Christine, can Raoul penetrate into Erik’s secret lair, a fantastical maze of secret passages deep in the bowels of the opera house, and rescue her before it’s too late?
Fun facts: First serialized in Le Gaulois newspaper, 1909–1910. Published in book form, 1911. The Phantom of the Opera has been adapted into various stage and film adaptations, the most notable of which are the 1925 silent film starring Lon Chaney, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.