Phantom Of The Opera curse again?

PARIS • The curse of The Phantom Of The Opera appears to have struck again with a fire at a Paris theatre on Sunday which is threatening to derail the debut of the musical's 30th anniversary production in France next month.

The global sensation composed by Britain's Andrew Lloyd Webber was to open at the Mogador theatre in Paris on Oct 13.

But a blaze that started under the stage of the Mogador on Sunday morning has thrown the plan into doubt, the theatre's management said in a statement.

A fireman was injured bringing the fire under control.

A superstition has grown over the years among theatre-makers and audiences that performances of Phantom are somehow cursed - in much the same way that actors shy away from uttering the name of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

In 1896, a chandelier counterweight fell from the ceiling killing a patron at the Paris Opera House, inspiring Gaston Leroux to write the novel on which the Phantom musical is based.

Sunday's fire damaged scenery for the upcoming production, along with part of the theatre's floor, the Mogador said. "(It is) difficult to estimate the time needed for the repairs at the moment," its statement said.

"We will probably know tomorrow if we will need to delay the performance," the theatre's director, Laurent Bentata, said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Phantom, which had its world premiere at Her Majesty's Theatre in London in 1986, is the most lucrative theatre venture of all time, grossing a reported US$5.6 billion (S$7.6 billion) worldwide.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Phantom Of The Opera curse again?'. Print Edition | Subscribe