Hill wanted his audience to hear the kind of music that would have been heard at the Paris Opera House in the late nineteenth century, the time period in which the story of The Phantom of the Opera is set. He took music from beautiful opera arias by Gounod, Offenbach, Verdi, Weber and Donizetti and wrote witty, original English lyrics that told Gaston Leroux’s tale, to accompany them. We've listed the origins of each musical number in Hill's version below.
Welcome Sir, I'm So Delighted - "Jamais, foi de Cicerone" from La Vie Parisienne by Jacques Offenbach (First performed at the Palais-Royal Theatre, Paris, October 31st 1866)
Two young rakes pull the wool over the eys of tourists, longing to fulfill their fantasies in the Paris of the 1867 World Exhibition. The tune used is from a song in which one of them welcomes the latest suckers.
Accursed All Base Pursuit Of Earthly Pleasure - "Maudites soyez-vous" from Faust by Charles Gounod (First performed at the Théatre-Lyrique, Paris, March 19th 1859)
One strand only, the love story of Faust and Marguérite, was taken for Gounod's version of the legend. As the story begins, Faust, the aging philosopher, curses the physical longings to which he has never surrendered, and now never can.
How Dare She - "O inferno! Amelia qui!" from Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi (First performed at the Teatro de la Fenice, Venice, November 12th 1857)
Over a period of twenty years, Verdi revised this opera, in the process of creating one of his most intriguing characters, Simon, mighty doge of Genoa, yet still a man of the people. The aria on which our song in based is one of the angriest in opera, the young Gabriele Adorno tortured by jealousy at the thought of his beloved Amelia in the palace of his enemy, Boccanegra.
Late Last Night, I'm In The Cellars - "Son lo spirito che nega" from Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito (First performed at La Scala, Milan, March 5th 1868)
The Devil tells Dr. Faust that he is the spirit which denies all things, a tune which the Groom uses to describe a bad experience in the cellars.
All Of My Dreams Faded Suddenly - "Mesicku na nebi hlubokém" from Rusalka by Antonín Dvorák
Love Has Gone, Never Returning - "Elle a fui, La Tourturelle" from Les Contes D Hoffman by Jacques Offenbach (First performed at at the Opera-Comique, Paris, February 10th, 1881)
The consumptive Antonia sings a song of lost love which suits Christine's mood in the graveyard, believing, as she does, that Raoul has rejected her.
While Floating High Above - "Je crois entendre encore" from Les Pêcheurs de Perles by Georges Bizet
She Says Shes Got The Nodules - "A Paris nous arrivons en masse" from La Vie Parisienne by Jacques Offenbach
A bright tune originally written for a Brazilian millionaire who enjoys losing money.
What Do I See - "Que voice-je là?" from Faust by Charles Gounod
The heroine, Marguérite, is tempted by a mysterious casket of jewels, laid in her path by the devil, Mephistophélès.
To Pain My Heart Selfishly Dooms Me - "Adieu! Je ne veux pas te suivre, Fantôme" from Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach (First performed at the Opera-Comique, Paris, February 10th 1881)
The poet, Hoffman, betrayed by a courtesan, Guiletta, leads a sextet, cursing love, intoxicating and destructive. Offenbach died before the completion of this, his only truly serious work, and a number of changes have been made since by various people. It is almost certain this sextet was actually written as a quartet to complete the whole work, where it is dramatically much more satisfying.
Do I Hear My Lovers Voice? - "Ah! C'est la voix!" from Faust by Charles Gounod
Marguérite, in jail and condemned to death for killing her child, hears the voice of her love, Faust.
No Sign! I See No Sign! - "Du weißt daß, meine Frist" from Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber (First performed at the Schauspielhaus, Berlin, June 18th 1821)
This is from the hair-raising Wolf's Glen scene.
"Rè dell 'abisso, affrettati" from Un Ballo in Maschera by Giuseppe Verdi (First performed at the Apollo Theatre, Rome, February 13th, 1859)
This is Madam Giry's bit in the song. Ulrica, the fortune-teller, summons up the King of Darkness.
Somewhere Above The Sun Shines Bright - "Non so le tetre immagini" from Il Corsaro by Giuseppe Verdi (First performed at the Teatro Grande, Trieste, October 25th 1848)
Mendora, the heroine of Byron's poem, The Corsair, sings a romance.
Born With A Monstrous Countenance - "Mentre gonfiarsi l'anima" from Attila by Giuseppe Verdi (First produced at the Fenice, Venice, 1846)
Atilla, King of the Huns, has a nightmare. The Persian sings of another nightmare -- The Phantom of the Opera.
In The Shadows, Dim And Dreary - "Deserto sulla terra" from Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
What An Awful Way To Perish - "Chi mi frena in tal momento" from Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (First performed at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples, September 26th, 1835)
Inspired by Sir Walter Scott's novel, Donizetti composed one of his finest operas, containing a famous sextet, in which a number of different sentiments are expressed at the same time.
Ne'er Forsake Me, Here Remain - "Avant de quitter ces lieux" from Faust by Charles Gounod (First heard at Her Majesty's Theatre, London, in 1864)
To please the English baritone, Santley, Gounod added this, on of the opera's best-known tunes, five years after the premiere.
Ne'er Forsake Me, Here Remain (Reprise) - Same As Song 16 (Reprise)
He Will Not Go Without A Friend - "Alla vita è sempre ugual" from Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (First performance at the National Theatre, Prague, October 29th, 1787)
Don Juan, seducer and blasphemer, has been dragged down to Hell by the statue of a man he killed. Thos who are left moralise and wonder what will happen to him. Here, at the end of a scene of grand opera, we use only the last few lines.