Urban Legends

The Singer and the Chandelier

The Legend

Christine Daae, a singer at the Paris Opera House, was hounded by a mysterious man who she believed to be her benefactor but whom she discovered is evil and horribly disfigured. One night, the singer cowered on the roof of the opera house where she could be alone while her part was being played by someone else because she was too afraid to go on stage.

As Christine wandered on the roof, she saw a strange bulb screwed into the stone at her feet. Fearing that it was some nefarious device left by her evil "benefactor," she unscrewed the bulb and threw it over the edge of the roof.

Moments later, a great crash and a wave of screams reached her ears. Christine had unscrewed the main connection to the opera house's grand chandelier and sent the enormous tangle of metal and glass plummeting into the crowd below.

Behind the Legend

This incident occurred, largely as described, in Paris in 1925. Its description has changed significantly in the intervening years, in part because of a musical version of the tale by Andrew Lloyd Weber. The popular stage production originally starred Michael Crawford, riding a wave of success after his lead role in the wildly popular Condorman.

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