The year is 1861. A new opera is being rehearsed at the Opéra Populaire. In the middle of the rehearsal, a backdrop counterweight suddenly falls to the floor: the Phantom of the Opera has caused yet another accident. Carlotta, the diva of the Opéra, refuses to perform a role assigned to her, and an inexperienced chorus girl named Christine is given her big chance. The performance is successful, and Christine reports to her friend that she has been taking voice lessons from a mysterious figure, the ‘Angel of Music’.
The Phantom insists that Christina be given the lead role in the next opera. The directors and staff, however, decide to defy the Phantom’s edict. The accidents continue. Later, the Phantom demands that the Opéra produce an opera written by him, with a lead role tailored for Christine.
The opera directors agree, but only because they intend to take the opportunity to apprehend the Phantom at the premiere. The plan backfires: the Phantom murders the star tenor of the Opéra and appears on stage in costume to sing a duet with Christine. As Christine unmasks the Phantom in full view of the audience, he is enraged and drags Christine with him into the cellars. The opera staff follow in pursuit, including Raoul, a patron of the opera and Christine’s beloved. The Phantom captures Raoul and threatens to kill him unless Christine agrees to marry the Phantom. Christine makes her choice, and when the rest of the opera staff arrive, the Phantom has vanished.