2) JENNIFER BASSETT - The Phantom of the Opera

2 The directors of the Opera House

The Opera House was famous, and the directors of the Opera
House were very important men. It was the first week of work
for the two new directors, Monsieur Armand Moncharmin and
Monsieur Firmin Richard. In the directors' office the next day,
the two men talked about Joseph Buquet.
'It was an accident,' Monsieur Armand said angrily. 'Or
Buquet killed himself.'
'An accident? ... Killed himself?' Monsieur Firmin said.
'Which story do you want, my friend? Or do you want the story
of the ghost?'
'Don't talk to me about ghosts!' Monsieur Armand said. 'We
have 1,500 people working for us in this Opera House, and
everybody is talking about the ghost. They're all mad! I don't
want to hear about the ghost, OK?'
Monsieur Firmin looked at a letter on the table next to him.
'And what arc we going to do about this letter, Armand?'
'Do?' cried Monsieur Armand. 'Why, do nothing, of course!
What can we do?'
The two men read the letter again. It wasn't very long.
To the new directors
Because you are new in the Opera House, 1 am writing to tell
you some important things. Never sell tickets for Box 5; that is
my box for every opera night. Madame Giry, the doorkeeper,
knows all about it. Also, I need money for my work in the Opera
House. I am not expensive, and I am happy to take only 20,0()0
francs a month. That is all. But please remember, I can be a good
friend, but a bad enemy.
'Don't sell tickets for Box 5! 20,000 francs a month!'
Monsieur Armand was very angry again. 'That's the best box
in the Opera House, and we need the money, Firmin! And who
is this O.G., eh? Tell me that!'
'Opera ghost, of course,' Monsieur Firmin said. 'But you're
right, Armand. We can do nothing about this letter. It's a joke,
a bad joke. Somebody thinks we are fools, because we are new
here. There are no ghosts in the Opera House!'
The two men then talked about the opera for that night. It
was Faust, and usually La Carlotta sang Margarita. La Carlotta
was Spanish, and the best singer in Paris. But today, La Carlotta
was ill.
'Everybody in Paris is going to be at the opera tonight,' said
Monsieur Armand, 'and our best singer is ill. Suddenly! She
writes a letter to us just this morning - she is ill, she cannot sing
'Don't get angry again, Armand,' Monsieur Firmin said
quickly. 'We have Christine Daae, that young singer from
Norway. She can sing Margarita tonight. She has a good voice.'
'But she's so young, and nobody knows her! Nobody wants
to listen to a new singer.'
'Wait and see. Perhaps Daae can sing better than La
Carlotta. Who knows?'