The chandelier that swooped over a record number of audiences has returned home to the Princess Theatre.
    With The Phantom of the Opera about to begin, the famous 400kg chandelier that swoops above the audience and crashes into the stage was installed this week.
    First seen in the original production 17 years ago, the chandelier has since travelled by air, sea and road through Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and South Africa.
    Technical director Richard Martin says it is made of 17,000 individually knotted beads that took four women almost six months to make.
    "Despite what many people think -- that it really crashes every night -- we prefer to call it a controlled descent," Martin says.
    "There are two large motors in the ceiling that are controlled by computer and have seven separate safety interlock devices to ensure the crash is completely safe."
    The chandelier, modelled on the one at the Paris Opera House, falls from the ceiling at the end of the first act at 1.9m a second.
    Costing $50,000 to create, it consists of steel, plastic and aluminium.
    It is tested before every performance and has never been involved in an accident, fault or injury.
    "The stage crew check it every day for loose globes and beads to make sure nothing falls into the audience," Martin says.