3) JENNIFER BASSETT - The Phantom of the Opera.


3) JENNIFER BASSETT - The Phantom of the Opera

3 Christine Daae

Monsieur Firmin was right. All Paris talked about the new Margarita in Faust, the girl with the beautiful voice, the girl with the voice of an angel. People loved her. They laughed and cried and called for more. Daae was wonderful, the best singer in the world! Behind the stage Meg Giry looked at Annie Sorelli.
'Christine Daae never sang like thar before,' she said to Annie. 'Why was she so good tonight?'
'Perhaps she's got a new music teacher,' Annie said.

The noise in the Opera House went on for a long time. In Box 14, Philippe, the Comte de Chagny, turned to his younger brother and smiled.
'Well, Raoul, what did you think of Daae tonight?'
Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, was twenty-one years old. He had blue eyes and black hair, and a wonderful smile. The Chagny family was old and rich, and many girls in Paris were in love with the young Vicomte. But Raoul was not interested in them. He smiled back at his brother.
'What can I say? Christine is an angel, that's all. I'm going to her dressing-room to see her tonight.'

Philippe laughed. He was twenty years older than Raoul, and was more like a father than a brother.
'Ah, I understand,' he said. 'You are in love! But this is your first night in Paris, your first visit to the opera. How do you know Christine Daae?'
'You remember four years ago, when I was on holiday by the sea, in Brittany?' Raoul said. 'Well, I met Christine there. I was in love with her then, and I'm still in love with her today!'
The Comte de Chagny looked at his brother.
'Mmm, I see,' he said slowly. 'Well, Raoul, remember she is only an opera singer. We know nothing about her family.'

But Raoul did not listen. To him, good families were not important, and young men never listen to their older brothers. There were many people in Christine Daae's dressing-room that night. But there was a doctor with Christine, and her beautiful face looked white and ill. Raoul went quickly across the room and took her hand.
'Christine! What's the matter? Are you ill?'
He went down on the floor by her chair. 'Don't you remember me - Raoul de Chagny, in Brittany?'
Christine looked at him, and her blue eyes were afraid. She took her hand away.
'No, I don't know you. Please go away. I'm not well.'

Raoul stood up, his face red. Before he could speak, the doctor said quickly,
'Yes, yes, please go away. Everybody, please leave the room. Mademoiselle Daae needs to be quiet. She is very tired.'
He moved to the door, and soon everybody left the room. Christine Daae was alone in her dressing-room. Outside in the passage the young Vicomte was angry and unhappy. How could Christine forget him? How could she say that to him? He waited for some minutes, then, very quietly and carefully, he went back to the door of her dressing-room. But he did not open the door, because just then he heard a man's voice in the room!

'Christine, you must love me!' the voice said.
Then Raoul heard Christine's voice.
'How can you talk like that? When I sing only for you ...? Tonight, I gave everything to you, everything. And now I'm so tired.' Her voice was unhappy and afraid.
'You sang like an angel,' the man's voice said.
Raoul walked away. So that was the answer! Christine Daae had a lover. But why was her voice so unhappy? He waited in the shadows near her room. He wanted to see her lover - his enemy!

After about ten minutes Christine came out of her room, alone, and walked away down the passage. Raoul waited, but no man came out after her. There was nobody in the passage, so Raoul went quickly up to the door of the dressing-room, opened it and went in. He closed the door quietly behind him, then called out:
'Where are you? I know you're in here! Come out!'
There was no answer. Raoul looked everywhere - under the chairs, behind all the clothes, in all the dark corners of the room. There was nobody there.