In the current production, it’s on the ceiling covered in dusty looking cloth for the auction, and the fabric, several triangular pieces held by some sort of clip at one point at the bottom, whisks away at the “Perhaps we can frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little ILLUMINATION, Gentlemen!” Then it lights up all twinkly and dramatic as the DUNNNNN! DUNDUNDUNDUNDUNNNNNNNN (dun dun)… chords start.
Before the fall, when the Phantom yells, “She’s singing to bring down the chandelier!” (which is NOT when the chandelier falls, and never was), the chandelier starts to sway, and then it settles down to stillness again (leading newbies to believe that was the end of that). Several minutes later, it does indeed plunge to the audience, although it stops, I dunno, maybe 15 feet up. Being right underneath it, though, I admit I did cringe, even though I knew it would stop in time.
This post has links to highly unauthorized pictures I took - not during the show, 'cause I’m not an asshole, but before the show started and then at intermission, before they pulled the chandelier back up.
In the original staging and some of the touring sites after, it would plunge towards the audience, and then veer at the last minute to the stage, where it would land and break apart into several pieces. That’s not practical or safe in all touring sites where your theaters are going to be different and may not have the right kind of rigging set up.