I've seen some movie musicals over the years that I enjoyed. I didn't know too much about the actual Broadway shows for a long time. One day I caught something on tv about Andrew Lloyd Webber's upcoming new show, The Phantom of the Opera. Some of the rehearsals for the show were shown, and I heard some of The Music of the Night. That was all it took to get me hooked. It was a few years later before I heard any more of the music when I finally got the Highlights from The Phantom of the Opera CD. I have wanted to see the show for years, but I haven't been able to yet. I now also own the original cast recording soundtrack.
The Phantom of the Opera Original Cast Recording contains two CDs. There is a booklet that has the lyrics to the songs included. There is a short statement in the booklet from Webber saying that some things from the show had to be cut to fit on the soundtrack recording. The booklet contains things that were cut, including some spoken dialogue. The parts that were left off the recording are indented and in smaller type in the booklet, so people who want to follow along when listening will know what to skip over. I had a little bit of trouble following it right at first, but I quickly figured it out. There isn't a summary of the plot included. I was able to figure out what was going on easily by the songs. This recording features the original cast of the stage musical. I also have another soundtrack for The Phantom of the Opera. It has one CD and contains highlights from the show. There are other soundtracks out as well for other versions of the stage production. There are two soundtracks that were recently released for the movie version as well.
The Phantom of the Opera told the story of a man, called the Phantom, who lived beneath the Paris Opera House.
A short prologue took place during an auction at the Paris Opera House. A man named Raoul was there. He recognized a music box. The auctioneer then talked about the chandelier that was involved in what happened many years before with the Phantom of the Opera. The chandelier had been restored and wired for electric. The Overture began when the chandelier was turned on. The story went back many years to the time things happened in the Opera House with the Phantom.
Members of the cast of the opera Hannibal were rehearsing. Carlotta had the lead female role. A young woman named Christine played one of the slave girls. From the booklet, it looks like a lot was cut from this part. Carlotta started to sing Think of Me when something crashed to floor near her. The chorus believed that the Phantom of the Opera was to blame. Carlotta left the stage. The new managers, Monsieur Andre and Monsieur Firmin, were worried they would have to cancel the show. A few people said that Christine could do the part because she had been getting lessons. She was allowed to sing the part. Raoul realized that he knew Christine when he heard her sing Think of Me. They had known each other when they were younger. He was captivated by her voice.
Think of me, think of me fondly,
when we've said goodbye
Remember me once in a while -
please promise me you'll try
After the performance, Christine talked to Meg about her Angel of Music that had been teaching her. Meg left and Raoul arrived to see Christine. She was happy to see him. She told him about her angel. He wanted to take her to dinner, but Christine said she couldn't because the angel was strict. Raoul left the room briefly, and Christine's angel, the Phantom, arrived. His singing seemed to put Christine into a trance and she entered a secret passageway with him. Raoul returned to find the room empty. Christine and the Phantom sang together about their unique relationship while traveling to where he lived.
In sleep he sang to me,
in dreams he came...
That voice which calls to me
and speaks my name ...
And do I dream again?
For now I find
the Phantom of the Opera is there -
inside my mind...
Sing once again with me
our strange duet...
My power over you
grows stronger yet...
and though you turn from me,
to glance behind,
the Phantom of the Opera is there -
inside your mind
Once they reached their destination, the Phantom sang about how he used the Music of the Night to entrance Christine.
Touch me, Trust me,
savor each sensation!
Let the dream begin
let your darker side give in
to the power of
the music that I write -
the power of the music of the night...
Christine became use to the Phantom during the time she spent with him. It became clear that he was in love with her and he wanted her to stay with him. Christine managed to remove his mask, which angered him. He decided to take her back to the opera house. The managers were upset by what had been going on, but tickets continued to sell. They received notes from the Phantom with instructions for the opera house. Raoul and Carlotta also received notes. The Phantom wanted Christine to play the lead in the opera instead of Carlotta. If his wishes weren't followed, something horrible would happen. Carlotta was furious about the notes and accused Raoul of sending them to get Christine a better part. The managers pacified Carlotta and put Christine in a non singing part. The Phantom was very unhappy and something did happen. The managers announced that there would be a short break and that Christine would take over the part. Christine and Raoul went to the roof where they pledged their love for each other.
Say you love me
every waking moment
turn my head
with talk of summertime
Say you need me with you,
now and always...
promise me that all you say is true
that's all I ask of you...
Let me be your shelter
let me be your light
No-one will find you -
Your fears are far behind you...
The Phantom saw Raoul and Christine together and he wasn't happy. He felt that she betrayed him. Back in the opera house, after the opera started again, the Phantom caused trouble with the chandelier, making it crash at Christine's feet.
Six months passed since the Phantom caused the chandelier to crash. Raoul and Christine were engaged, though they were keeping it a secret. Raoul was ready to tell everyone, but Christine didn't feel the time was right yet. She was still worried about the Phantom. There was a masquerade ball at the opera house and everyone was in costume.
Paper faces on parade...
Hide your face so the world will never find you!
The Phantom showed up for the first time in six months. He was still able to mesmerize Christine. He had written a new opera and he had specific instructions. He wanted Christine to perform the lead. Carlotta was furious over that, and again accused Christine of being involved with what the Phantom planned. Christine didn't want any part in the opera. Raoul believed they could use the Phantom's plans and trap him. Christine was afraid of the power the Phantom still had over her, but Raoul convinced her to go along with the plan.
The Phantom of the Opera was a love story. I have seen it described as a gothic love story, and I think that description fits. Some of the people that worked in the Opera House knew about the Phantom, but he was still shrouded in mystery. He wore a mask that covered part of his face because he was disfigured. His past wasn't well known. He was considered a monster by most people. He fell in love with Christine and secretly gave her singing lessons. He wanted her to be with him. He scared people and was able to make strange things happen. He used that to get Christine to bigger parts. Raoul and Christine had known each other when they were children. He saw her perform and the two renewed their friendship. They fell in love, which angered the Phantom. Christine had very mixed feelings about the Phantom. She was drawn to him, but she also seemed to fear him and the power he had over her. Even after she pledged her love to Raoul and they were engaged she was still drawn to the Phantom. The love triangle did add conflict to the story. There were a few moments that lightened the mood briefly, but overall, this was a serious, dark story.
The Phantom of the Opera Original Cast Recording featured Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine. They were both made famous by their roles in the musical. They are probably who most people think of in the parts when The Phantom of the Opera is brought up. The musical has a large group of fans and some of them can get very vocal over who they feel is the best Phantom. I do still hope to see the stage version some day. I know there will be different people in the parts, so the song will end up sounding different. That doesn't mean that I won't be able to enjoy the show. I want to see the movie version as well. I have heard part of the soundtrack to the movie. The voices sounded different, but there are different actors in the parts, so I expected that. Some people compare everyone in the roles to Crawford and Brightman and get very critical when the other actors don't measure up. Crawford and Brightman did create the roles, but that doesn't mean that other people can't be good in the roles as well. No one else is going to sound exactly like Crawford and Brightman in these roles. People should keep that in mind when seeing a version that has different people in the parts.
The music from The Phantom of the Opera Original Cast Recording is beautiful. The musical is set in the Paris Opera House and some of the characters are actors in some operas. Some of the songs are supposed to be from some of the operas being performed. I don't know that much about opera, but I thought that operas were performed in Italian. No songs in The Phantom of the Opera are in Italian. Several of the songs have the women, usually Carlotta or Christine singing very high notes. I know that Andrew Lloyd Webber has done that in several of his other musicals. The music for all the songs is very elaborate, but it doesn't over power the singing. The music is softer in some songs, or it starts off softer and gets louder as the song progresses. String instruments were used frequently. A thundering organ is used in the overturn, the song The Phantom of the Opera, and briefly in a few other pieces. The organ did make the music more unique. The organ frequently signaled the arrival of the Phantom. The tone of the music conveyed the mood of the characters during the different parts. The music sounded louder and harsh when something upsetting happened. The music conveyed what was going very well. There was a screaming womans voice heard when some things were discovered. The screaming was jarring, but it did go with what was happening at that time.
Sarah Brightman has a pure sounding voice. She had no trouble hitting the many high notes required in her songs. Her voice sounded rich and full in every song she sang. She has a large vocal range, which is needed to be able to sing several of the songs. She had to sing lower notes in a few songs, but most of her songs had higher notes in them. She first sang in Think of Me. After that she was singing in most of the songs. I have read that Webber wrote the part of Christine for her. They were married when he was working on the musical. Rosemary Ashe played Carlotta. She was the star of the opera house until the Phantom stepped in to get Christine lead roles. Her singing parts sounded more operatic to me. The Phantom did make something rather funny happen to her at one point. Steve Barton played Raoul. He handled the part very well. His voice was very powerful and rich sounding. His voice blended nicely with Sarah Brightman's on the songs they did together. There were some songs where several cast members were singing. In some of those songs, different people were singing different lines. The voices did all blend together well, though Carlotta's always stood out when she was singing with a group. Her voice was a bit over powering at times, but it wasn't really annoying. The over powering voice worked for her character.
The first time the Phantom was heard singing, his voice seemed to be echoing, making him sound more mysterious and powerful. His voice didn't sound that way in all the songs, but that effect was repeated again later. Michael Crawford also has a large vocal range. Most of his songs seemed to feature higher notes. The Music of the Night, one of my favorite songs, really showed off his vocal range since it had lower notes and also some rather high notes. Personally, I think he sounds better when singing at the lower end of his range. He could hit the higher notes without any trouble, but his voice did sound a bit feminine on the highest of those notes. The other characters didn't have as much singing to do. All of the singing sounded very good throughout both the CDs. All the actors were able to convey the emotions their characters were feeling at different times through their singing.
There isn't any song that I hate on The Phantom of the Opera Original Cast Recording. There are a few songs that sound more jarring that I don't like as well, but they do go with what was going on in the story at that particular point. The music is beautiful. I love The Music of the Night. I think that is my favorite song from The Phantom of the Opera. It is probably one of the better known songs from the musical. A small part of that song is what started my love of the music from this musical. Crawford's voice sounds wonderful on that song. I also really like The Phantom of the Opera, Think of Me, All I Ask of You, Masquerade and Past the Point of No Return. All I Ask of You is a beautiful love song that Christine and Raoul sing to each other. Later, the Phantom also sings a bit of the song. Masquerade was sung by the entire cast at the beginning of the second act during the masquerade party when the Phantom returned to the opera house. The song has a unique melody. Past the Point of No Return took place near the end and has Christine, Raoul, and the Phantom singing, sometimes totally different things at the same time.
Rosemary Ashe - Carlotta
Steve Barton - Raoul
Sarah Brightman - Christine
Michael Crawford - Phantom
David Firth - Monsieur Andre
John Savident - Monsieur Firmin
Think of Me
Angel of Music
Little Lotte .../The Mirror ...(Angel of Music)
The Phantom of the Opera
The Music of the Night
I Remember .../Stranger Than you Dreamt It ...
Magical Lasso ...
Notes .../Prima Donna
Poor Fool. He Makes Me Laugh
Why Have you Brought me Here .../Raoul, I've Been There ...
All I Ask of You
All I Ask of You (Reprise)
Masquerade/Why so Silent
Twisted Every Way
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
Wandering Child/Bravo Monsieur
The Point of No Return
Down Once More .../Track Down This Murderer ...
The story of the Phantom was first told in the book The Phantom of the Opera written by M. Gaston Leroux in 1911. Since then the story has been told many times. The first movie version was released in 1925. Lon Chaney played the Phantom. Another movie version was released in 1943. The story and even characters were changed greatly from the source material. In 1962 Hammer Films released their version of the story. Two different movie versions were done in 1974. A version featuring Jane Seymour aired on CBS in 1983 that had a lot of changes. In 1986, Andrew Lloyd Weber released the musical version of the story he adapted from the book. The production opened in London and then moved to Broadway a year later. The show is still playing around the world. The show won seven Tony awards. Two more horror movie versions of the story were released after the musical. Susan Kay wrote a book called Phantom in 2001 that explored the life of the Phantom before the events in The Phantom of the Opera. A film version of the musical was released on December 22, 2004.
I love the music from The Phantom of the Opera and have enjoyed my copy of The Phantom of the Opera Original Cast Recording since I got it. The CD is a must have for people who have seen and enjoyed the show. People who havent seen The Phantom of the Opera but have liked other musicals may enjoy this CD.