Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

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Good old-fashioned movie musicals are all too rare these days, but it's still surprising that it took so long for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera to leap from stage to silver screen. After all, this wildly popular musical was almost tailor-made for celluloid: It shares itsSee more details below


Good old-fashioned movie musicals are all too rare these days, but it's still surprising that it took so long for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera to leap from stage to silver screen. After all, this wildly popular musical was almost tailor-made for celluloid: It shares its plot with a classic horror movie; its setting in (and beneath) the opulent Paris Opera invites spectacular cinematic grandeur; and Lloyd Webber's music itself owes much to Hollywood's lush scores. Phantom fanatics may debate the merits of Joel Schumacher's 2004 film, but it's clearly a must-see. The soundtrack, featuring all of the highlights of the romantic score, is no less essential. Longtime aficionados shouldn't discard their copies of the original-cast album - Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were iconic as the Phantom and Christine, and newcomers Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum have their work cut out for them in assuming the roles. But these talented singer-actors ride the surging waves of Lloyd Webber's melodies with confidence, and they use their voices dramatically to invest the characters with convincing flesh-and-blood personalities. Best of all, the rich orchestrations sound absolutely gorgeous here -- more spine-tingling than ever. To listen to this soundtrack is to remember all over again why the musical became such a phenomenon: With its thematic mix of thrills, chills, and romance, Phantom holds the audience's emotions firmly in its grip from start to finish, and this performance never fails to hit the right dramatic chord.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux's 1911 gothic mystery novel The Phantom of the Opera proved to be at least the composer's second most successful project, behind only Cats, and with the potential to outdo even that blockbuster. The musical opened in London in October 1986 and in New York in January 1988, and both productions were still running (along with many others around the world) when the film version finally premiered in December 2004. Because the same starring performers, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, moved from the West End to Broadway, there was no original Broadway cast recording, the original London cast album serving to represent both stagings. In line with the success of the show, that album, a double-disc set, was also a hit, selling four million copies in the U.S. alone by 1996, with another four million copies of a single-disc highlights version as well. Although there was also an original Canadian cast album (not to mention foreign-language versions from such countries as Japan and Austria), the movie soundtrack represents the first major re-recording of the score since 1986. Again, Lloyd Webber has opted to issue it in two versions, but this time, the 63-minute single CD is considered the standard release, with the double-disc set billed as the Special Edition version. Even fans of the show and the film may want to stick with the shorter one, however. The two-hour special edition is that rarity, a soundtrack album that actually contains the complete, unedited film soundtrack, including dialogue, incidental background music, and sound effects. This, of course, makes it something of an odd listening experience, especially because there doesn't seem to be any reason why some dialogue is spoken and some is rendered in singsong recitative. Lloyd Webber has written some extra background music here and there, as well as one new song, and that's an oddity, too. Minnie Driver, who plays the prima donna Carlotta, had her singing dubbed by Margaret Preece, but she turns up at the end and, over the closing credits, sings "Learn to Be Lonely," an irrelevant and musically out-of-place song clearly composed just to have a new tune that would be Academy Award eligible. The film's other singers are adequate but no competition to Crawford, Brightman, and their colleagues, and the initial recording remains the one to buy.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Simon Callow   Vocals,cast
Patrick Wilson   Vocals,cast
Simon Lee   Conductor
Victor McGuire   Vocals,cast
Miranda Richardson   Vocals,cast
Minnie Driver   Vocals,cast,Singer
Imogen Bailey   cast
London Oratory Choir   Choir, Chorus
Paul Brooke   Vocals,cast
Gerard Butler   Vocals,cast
Jesika Cannon   Vocals,cast
Lucy Casson   Vocals,cast
Oliver Chopping   Vocals,cast
Jennifer Ellison   Vocals,cast
James Fleet   Vocals,cast
Ciaran Hinds   Vocals,cast
Laura Hounsom   Vocals,cast
Halcro Johnston   Vocals,cast
Ramin Karimloo   Vocals,cast
Kevin R. McNally   cast
Murray Melvin   Vocals,cast
Chris Overton   Vocals,cast
Judith Paris   Vocals,cast
Margaret Preece   Vocals,cast
Emmy Rossum   Vocals,cast
Lee Sellers   Vocals,cast
Alison Skilbeck   Vocals,cast
Lorraine Stewart   Vocals,cast
Jose Tirado   Vocals,cast
Miles Western   Vocals,cast
Imogen Bain   Vocals
David Langham   Vocals
Kevin McNally   Vocals
Jonathan D. Ellis   Vocals
London Oratory School Boys Choir   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Andrew Lloyd Webber   Producer,Liner Notes,Author,Orchestration,Audio Production
Mike Batt   Lyricist
David Cullen   Orchestration
Charles Hart   Lyricist
Mike Ross-Trevor   Engineer
Robin Sellars   Engineer
Richard Stilgoe   Lyricist
Nigel Wright   Producer,Audio Production
Joel Schumacher   Liner Notes,Author
Simon Rhodes   Engineer
Anne Skates   Choir Contractor
Steve Rooke   Engineer,Mastering
Elena Oria   Vocal Coach
Peter Manning   Orchestra Leader
Mary Hammond   Vocal Coach
Craig "Pup" Heath   Engineer,Engineering
Robert Renga   Engineer,Engineering
Elena Doria   Vocal Coach
Jill McCullough   Dialect Coach

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