The musical begins in 1911, at an auction of things found in the Paris Opera house. An old Raoul buys a little music box that used to belong to his lover Christine. When the broken chandelier comes up, we flashback to for the story of the Phantom of the Opera (Overture).
The first scene is a rehearsal of the opera 'Hanibal' in 1881:
Christine Daae is a chorus girl, who gets a chance to sing when the star, Carlotta, refuses to do it because the phantom is causing things to go wrong (Think of Me). She sings well in the actual performance and draws the attention of Roaul, a man who she used to know as a child. The Phantom has been training Christine to sing from behind her mirror, and her strange behaviour is noticed by her friend Meg (Angel of Music).
Raoul and Christine meet up and get on well, but before they've been together very long the phantom takes Christine through the mirror and down into his lair below the opera house (The Phantom of the Opera).
He tells her of his music and his desire to compose for her (The Music of the Night). The next morning Christine sees behind the phantoms mask, and he is angry that she has seen his disfigured face (Stranger than you dreamt it).
He takes her back, and is soon demanding that the stage managers give Christine the lead role in the next production, 'Il Muto'. They decide to defy the phantom, and keep Carlotta in the lead role (Prima Donna).
At the performance, the phantom makes Carlotta lose her voice. Before Christine can replace her, the garroted body of the head fly man is revealed at the back of the stage. Christine and Raoul go to the roof, where Raoul comforts Christine as she tells him about the phantom, and they realise their love for each other (All I Ask of You).
The phantom vows his revenge as Christine and Raoul decide to leave together. At the end of the act, the phantom cuts down the chandelier over the applauding audience of Il Muto.
It is 6 months later, and the phantom seems to have disappeared. Everyone is happy at the Masked Ball to celebrate New Year (Masquerade). But at the end, the phantom appears disguised as Red Death, and hands over an opera he has written, 'Don Juan Triumphant'.
He also takes Christines engagement ring; her and Raoul were planning to wed. The managers are forced to stage the phantoms opera, but Christine does not want the lead role the phantom intended for her. But Raoul thinks of a trap to catch the phantom, if only Christine will sing, which she agrees to.
Christine visits her fathers grave, hoping to her free herself from his memory (Wishing you were somehow here again).
The phantom is there, and tries to lure her back to him, but Raoul arrives and rescues her.
At the premiere of Don Juan Triumphant, the phantom replaces Piangi for the final scene with Christine (The Point of no Return).
She pulls off his mask, then escapes with her (having murdered Piangi). Raoul pursues them down to the phantom's lair, followed some way behind by a mob come to kill the phantom (Down Once More/Track down this Murderer).
In his lair, Christine confronts the phantom about the true deformity in his soul. Raoul arrives and the phantom lets him in, but then puts the lasso around his neck. He gives Christine a choice, he'll only save Raoul if she agrees to stay with him. Christine kisses the phantom, and with the mob getting close, he decides to free Raoul and let him and Christine escape together.
In a scene full of heart-wrenching emotion, the phantom must finally give up hope of being with Christine, but he leaves her with the words that he loves her.
The phantom sits in his throne as the mob approaches. When they arrive, Meg finds only the phantoms white mask.