In Gaston Leroux's novel a half-crazed, disfigured musician living in the labyrinthine cellars of the Paris Opera house creates a series of strange and mysterious events to further the career of a beautiful young singer. The tale is widely regarded as one of the most famous of all horror stories, yet that fame is based primarily on various film and stage versions. (From the Kennebec large print jacket blurb.)
Leroux' story is better described as a romantic mystery.
In my teens I saw Hollywood’s 1943 production in which a musician's face is scarred by having acid thrown on it. Sixty years later I saw on PBS the 2004 release of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 stage musical and liked it enough to purchase the DVD. Several years later in a public library I saw the 2011 DVD release of Webber’s 25th Anniversary production. I viewed it and liked it much more than I did the 2004 DVD. It inspired me to read the novel and Webber's musicals follow the novel more closely than Hollywood’s 1925 or 1943 horror films did.
Several takes on the Phantom story
1. In Gaston Leroux's time he and Edgar Allan Poe were regarded as similarly-skilled mystery writers
2. Trust Hollywood to alter stories to appeal to American audiences. For instance, compare the violence in the English and American versions of the movie Wicker Man. Hollywood, in 1925 and again in 1943, made Leroux's Phantom mystery-romance a horror story.
3. Re the actors in the two Webber-version movies. I googled "Emmy Rossum vs. Sierra Boggess" and then "Gerard Butler vs. Ramin Karimloo" and found Boggess (2011) and Butler (2004) better liked.
4 Webber took the Phantom story to a musical denouement in his sequel Love Never Dies.