The Phantom of the Opera: Original London Cast Albums Review

When I was a child, there was a Carol Burnett/Julie Andrews skit that I thought was absolutely hilarious called “The Phantom of the Opry”:

Inspired, my parents gave me the “Highlights from The Phantom of the Opera: Original London Cast” album for my 8th birthday and I’ve been a huge “phan” ever since.

To this day, more than 25 years after the musical opened on London’s West End, the original London cast is considered the best by many phans. Though I enjoyed the 25th Anniversary Concert and the three touring productions I’ve seen of the stage musical, I have to agree. Sarah Brightman’s acting skills apparently left something to be desired on stage (see the music video below for evidence), but her high, pure soprano was perfect for the role of Christine and comes across beautifully in the cast albums, while Michael Crawford’s vocals – by turns hypnotically beautiful and threatening – epitomized angel, phantom, and ultimately, man.

Which original London cast album is right for you?

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Phantom, by Susan Kay Book Review



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Review:

Don’t be mislead by the terrible cover!

Gaston Leroux’s classic horror novel The Phantom of the Opera has received many adaptations in many different forms, the most famous of which include the 1925 silent film starring Lon Chaney and the Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. There have also been many literary adaptations, including retellings, “sequels,” and more. Phantom, by Susan Kay, is by far the best of these.

Leroux gave his readers some tantalizing hints of Erik’s life before he took up residence in the basement of the Paris opera house and became the dreaded “Opera Ghost,” but his novel covered only the last few months leading up to Erik’s death. Kay’s novel takes those scant hints and spins them into a rich backstory full of adventure and tragedy alike. She makes good use of several different narrators, including Erik’s mother, the Persian, Raoul, Christine, and Erik himself, to flesh out his story and bring it to life from birth til death, and beyond. Though I’m a diehard Erik/Christine shipper, my favorite aspect of the book may have been the relationship between Erik and the Persian (here named Nadir). It was wonderful to see it fleshed out and their interactions produced some of the book’s best moments and lines of dialogue.

Phantom is beautifully written and intensely emotional. I’m admittedly soft-hearted, but I cried multiple times reading this novel and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Most phans will adore Phantom, and it’s also an excellent introduction to the story for non-fans and casual fans, as it’s written in a more modern style than the original novel.

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My rating: (5 / 5)

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Concert Review



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Review:

I recently had the pleasure of watching the Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Concert on PBS.

As a longtime “phan” of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical, I was terribly disappointed by the 2004 film version. Though there were some impressive special effects – especially the amazing opening sequence – the singing was mediocre, the Phantom’s supposedly horrific deformity looked like a bad sunburn, and there were some remarkably stupid changes to the plot.

Despite high hopes, I came away from the theater after seeing the 2004 film with the conclusion that the world was still missing a great video Phantom for phans who can’t make it to Broadway or the West End whenever they want to see the show live. With the Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Concert, we’ve come much closer to having it.

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The Phantom of the Opera (2005) Movie Review

The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Actors: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver
Director: Joel Schumacher
Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
Language:
Subtitles:
Studio: WarnerBrothers
Running Time: 141 minutes

List Price: $5.97
Price: $4.20
137 offers available from $1.49
4.7 out of 5 stars (3822)

Review:

As a longtime “phan,” I was pretty excited about this film, but I’m sad to say it disappointed me. Though visually stunning (the opening scene when the theater is restored to former glory was particularly breathtaking), the vocals were not up to par, especially Gerard Butler as the Phantom, whose voice was gravelly rather than seductive and bore no resemblance to anything that might be realistically mistaken for the voice of an angel. There were also some alterations to the plot that managed to be both pointless and stupid, and I can’t get over the awfulness of Butler’s makeup, which resembled a bad sunburn or case of hives more than a terrifying deformity.

phantomdeformity

Oh well.

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My rating: (2 / 5)

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