This is what I wrote about seeing Phantom for the very first time in London March 4, 1987.
Saw Phantom of the Opera. The seats were way up in nose bleed territory. The show was excellent. The set was fantastic. When the Phantom takes Christine to his island, they actually row down the stage. Then once they arrive or I should say as they are arriving candelabras come up from the floor. There were a few slow spots but then they would go into a song that sent shivers up my spine.
Another amazing aspect of the set was the chandelier. It starts out on the floor of the stage. The show start with an auction set in the future after all the events in the show have taken place. One of the items is the chandelier. As the auctioneer starts to describe the piece and the strange events of the phantom of the phantom of the opera, the music starts and the chandelier rises up from the stage and moves to the top of ceiling of the theater. Then at the end of the first act the phantom causes the chandelier to fall to the stage floor.
The phantom appears in one scene above the curtain on a platform. This gives the impression of him creeping around the opera house.
The final scene is the most memorable. The phantom has taken Christine back to his island. There are being chased by people from the theater and Christine's lover Raoul. Eventually Raoul catches up to them, but he is captured by the phantom. The phantom is going to hang Raoul and turns to Christine and says choose me or Raoul will die. Christine eventually kissed the phantom. The phantom releases Raoul and tells them to go before any one else arrives. After watching them leave, the phantom goes over to his chair sits down and throws his cape over his body. At the same time the people from the theater have reached the island. One of them goes over to the chair and removes the cape. The phantom is gone. All that remains is the mask which is picked up and show to the audience. The curtain comes down. After that there was a moment of complete silence from the audience almost as if everyone let out a breath and then thunderous applause. The man who played Raoul was the understudy and he had a great voice.