Prologue It is Paris in 1905. An auction of old props and relics from the Opéra Populaire (fictional, but based loosely on Paris’s Palais Garnier) is underway. An elderly man, Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, purchases Lot 665, which is a music box topped with a monkey (“every detail exactly as she said,” he notes). The next item up for auction, Lot 666, is a broken but grand chandelier. The auctioneer remarks that the chandelier played a major role in "the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera." When the dust cover is pulled off of the chandelier, it flickers to life and ascends to the ceiling at the center of the auditorium; the audience is transported back in time to 1881 as the Opéra is restored to its former grandeur.
Act One The Opéra rehearses for that evening’s performance of Hannibal; as the company’s egotistical prima donna, Carlotta, sings her aria, a piece of the set suddenly falls from the catwalk. As the new owners of the company, André and Firmin, try to calm everyone down, the cast members gossip about how it must have been the doing of the fabled Phantom of the Opera. Carlotta, rattled and furious, storms offstage and refuses to go on. The Opéra’s ballet mistress, Madame Giry, mentions to André and Firmin that there is a chorus girl—Christine Daaé, the orphaned daughter of a famous Swedish violinist—who would be able to take over Carlotta’s role. Realizing that they must either gamble on Christine or cancel the show, they agree to hear her; to their surprise and delight, she sings the role beautifully and brings the house down that evening ("Think of Me").
Backstage after the show, Christine confides in her friend Meg Giry that she has never actually seen the teacher who has coached her so well, but that she knows him only as a mysterious voice, an "Angel of Music.” Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, who is a new patron of the Opéra and was in the audience, comes to the dressing room to congratulate Christine, who