(A gauze half conceals the tableau of guests at the opera ball. The guests (whom we cannot yet see clearly) are in fancy dress: a peacock, a lion, a dragon, Mephistopheles, a highwayman, a clown, knights, ladies, an executioner. M. ANDRE enters. He is dressed as a skeleton in an opera cape. Almost immediately M. FIRMIN arrives.He is also dressed as a skeleton in an opera cape. The two skeletons see each other and approach nervously)

ANDRE

M'sieur Firmin?

FIRMIN

M'sieur Andre?

(Each raises his mask to the other. They recognise each other.)

FIRMIN

Dear Andre
what a splendid party!

ANDRE

The prologue
to a bright new year!

FIRMIN

Quite a night!
I'm impressed!

FIRMIN

Well, one does
one's best . . .

ANDRE AND FIRMIN (raising their glasses)

Here's to us!

FIRMIN

I must say, all the same, that
it's a shame that 'Phantom'
fellow isn't here!

(The gauze lifts fully to reveal the staircase of the opera house. The opera ball begins. Among the GUESTS are four carrying strange percussion instruments: a monkey with cymbals, a toy soldier with a drum, a triangle, bells. Together they play weirdly throughout)

CHORUS

Masquerade!
Paper faces on parade . . .
Masquerade!
Hide your face,
so the world will
never find you!

Masquerade!
Every face a different shade . . .
Masquerade!
Look around -
there's another
mask behind you!

Flash of mauve . . .
Splash of puce . . .
Fool and king . . .
Ghoul and goose . . .
Green and black . . .
Queen and priest . . .
Trace of rouge . . .
Face of beast . . .

Faces . . .
Take your turn, take a ride
on the merry-go-round . . .
in an inhuman race . . .

Eye of gold . . .
Thigh of blue . . .
True is false . . .
Who is who . . .?
Curl of lip . . .
Swirl of gown . . .
Ace of hearts . . .
Face of clown . . .

Faces . . .
Drink it in, drink it up,
till you've drowned
in the light . . .
in the sound . . .

RAOUL/CHRISTINE

But who can name the face . . .?

ALL

Masquerade!
Grinning yellows,
spinning reds . . .
Masquerade!
Take your fill -
let the spectacle
astound you!

Masquerade!
Burning glances,
turning heads . . .
Masquerade!
Stop and stare
at the sea of smiles
around you!

Masquerade!
Seething shadows
breathing lies . . .
Masquerade!
You can fool
any friend who
ever knew you!

Masquerade!
Leering satyrs,
peering eyes . . .
Masquerade!
Run and hide -
but a face will
still pursue you!

(The ENSEMBLE activity becomes background, as ANDRE, FIRMIN, MEG, GIRY, PIANGI and CARLOTTA come to the fore, glasses in hand)

GIRY

What a night

MEG

What a crowd!

ANDRE

Makes you glad!

FIRMIN

Makes you proud!
All the creme
de la creme!

CARLOTTA

Watching us watching them!

MEG AND GlRY

And all our fears
are in the past!

ANDRE

Six months...

PIANGI

Of relief!

CARLOTTA

Of delight!

ANDRE AND FIRMIN

Of Elysian peace!

MEG AND GIRY

And we can breathe at last!

CARLOTTA

No more notes!

PIANGI

No more ghost!

GIRY

Here's a health!

ANDRE

Here's a toast:
to a prosperous year!

FIRMIN

To the new chandelier!

PIANGI AND CARLOTTA

And may its
splendour never fade!

FIRMIN

Six months!

GIRY

What a joy!

MEG

What a change!

FIRMIN AND ANDRE

What a blessed release!

ANDRE

And what a masquerade!

(They clink glasses and move off RAOUL and CHRISTINE emerge. She is admiring a new acquisition:
an engagement ring from RAOUL, which she has attached to a gold chain around her neck.)

CHRISTINE

Think of it!
A secret engagement!
Look - your future bride!
Just think of it!

RAOUL

But why is it secret?
What have we to hide?

CHRISTINE

Please, let's not fight . . .

RAOUL

Christine, you're free!

CHRISTINE

Wait till the time is right . . .

RAOUL

When will that be?
It's an engagement,
not a crime!

Christine,
What are you
afraid of?

CHRISTINE

Let's not argue . . .

RAOUL

Let's not argue . . .

CHRISTINE

Please pretend . . .

RAOUL

I can only hope I'll . . .

CHRISTINE

You will . . .

BOTH

. . . understand
in time . . .

(Dance section, in which CHRISTINE, almost coquettish almost jittery, goes from man to man. But too many of her partners seem to be replicas of the PHANTOM, and each spins her with increasing force. Eventually RAOUL rescues her and holds her tightly. He whirls her back into the dance, as the music heads towards its climax.)

ALL

Masquerade!
Paper faces on parade!
Masquerade!
Hide your face,
so the world will
never find you!

Masquerade!
Every face a different shade!
Masquerade!
Look around -
There's another
mask behind you!

Masquerade!
Burning glances,
turning heads . . .
Masquerade!
Stop and stare
at the sea of smiles
around you!

Masquerade!
Grinning yellows,
spinning reds . . .
Masquerade!
Take your fill -
let the spectacle
astound you!

(At the height of the activity a grotesque figure suddenly appears at the lop of the staircase. Dressed all in crimson, with a death's head visible inside the hood of his robe, the PHANTOM has come to the party. With dreadful wooden steps he descends the stairs and takes the centre of the stage)

PHANTOM

Why so silent, good messieurs?
Did you think that I had left you for good?
Have you missed me, good messieurs?
I have written you an opera!

(He takes from under his robe an enormous bound manuscript)

Here I bring the finished score -
"Don Juan Triumphant" !

(He throws it to ANDRE)

I advise you
to comply -
my instructions
should be clear -
Remember
there are worse things
than a shattered chandelier . . .

(CHRISTlNE, mesmerized, approaches as the PHANTOM beckons her. He reaches out, grasps the chain that holds the secret engagement ring, and rips it from her throat)

Your chains are still mine -
you will sing for me!

(ALL cower in suspense as the music crescendos, until suddenly, his figure evaporates)


Lyrics submitted by fallacies

The Staircase Of The Opera House (scene 1) song meanings
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