Gaston Leroux was French. He was born in Paris on 6th May 1868. His mother and father owned a clothes shop in Paris. Leroux was a lively boy. He liked literature and the theatre. Sometimes, he was in trouble with his parents and with the city officials. Leroux studied to be a lawyer but he did not enjoy this work. Then his father died and Leroux got one million francs.The young man spent all the money in six months!
In 1890, Leroux became a reporter. He worked for the newspaper, L'Echo de Paris. He wrote about trials and criminals. He also wrote reports about plays in the theatres. His reports were clear and exciting. He became successful. Later, he was a journalist for the Paris newspaper, Le Matin.
Leroux was a big, heavy man. He had a large blackbeard. He liked fine clothes and good food and drink.
From 1894 to 1906, Gaston Leroux travelled to many countries. He wrote about wars and revolutions. He visited dangerous places. Many times, he had to put on unusual clothes and change his hair. Then he left these countries safely.
Leroux started to write stories and plays in the
1900s. In 1907, he stopped travelling. He did not work as ajournalist. He did not write for newspapers. He wrote plays, poems and stories. He wrote adventure stories, romances, detective stories and horror stories. Some of his stories are: The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1907), The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1911), The Man Who Came Back From the Dead (1916), The Secret of the Night (1914) and The Bride of the Sun (1915). Leroux's most famous story, ThePhantom of the Opera, was published in 1911.
Leroux died in Nice, France on 16th April 1927- He was 59 years old.
A Note About This Story
Time: 1880 to 1890.
Places: Brittany, and the Paris Opera House, France.
The Phantom of the Opera is a horror story.
Gaston Leroux visited the Paris Opera House many times. He liked the huge, beautiful building. He watched ballets. He listened tomusic and operas. Operas are musical plays. In an opera, the people on the stage do not speak - they sing.
The Opera House was built between 1861 and 1875. It is 167 m long, 122 m wide and 81 m high. It has 17 floors and a tall roof. There are 80 dressing-rooms for the actors, dancers and musicians. There are very many stairs, corridors and storerooms. In the
1900s,1500 people worked in the building. Under the Opera House there were stables for horses. And there was a lake!
In 1910, Leroux heard some strange stories about the Opera House. The people of the Opera House talked about a ghost. The ghost lived in the building. Accidents had happened in the building too. Once, a huge glass chandelier fell from the ceiling. One woman died. Leroux thought aboutthese things and he wrote his book.
Many films and plays have been made of the story, The Phantom of the Opera. In 1925, there was an American film of the story. An actor called Lon Chaney was the Phantom. The film was very popular. In 1986, Andrew Lloyd-Webber wrote a musical play about the Phantom. Many thousands of people in London and New York have seen this musical.
The People in This StoryThe Angel of Music
The place was the coast of Brittany, in northern France. The time was a summer evening in 1880. Two people were sitting by the sea. They were sitting on a sandy beach, near an old church. They were a young girl and an old man. The girl was singing and the old man was playing a violin.
The young girl's name was Christine. The old man was her father.Christine and her father were travelling musicians. They travelled through all the countries of Europe. Sometimes, they performed music in hotels. Sometimes, they performed in the streets. Christine had a beautiful voice. In every country, people loved Christine's voice.
On that evening in 1880, Christine was looking at the sea. She was singing a sad song. It was a song about the sea, and about love....