on January 25, 2005
Though vastly under-looked and over-scrutinized by critics and longtime enthusiasts of the original play, with all comparisons aside I personally feel that 'The Phantom Of The Opera' is one of the greatest cinematic experiences ever, and musically it is absolutely breathtaking. This is the type of film I always dreamed of being made. It's a beautiful, tragic tale of love, madness and seduction all rolled up into one. Thus, it is a romantic Gothic horror story unlike anything I've seen done before it and I, anyway, think that it is a masterpiece (and perhaps, even, a future classic?).
If you wish to hear the entire production, as not to miss anything, you'd be better off buying the two-disc deluxe edition, but if you simply want to hear the best tracks from the movie, this collection of highlights does just that. Of course, if you cherish the music as much as I do you might as well buy them both.
The melodies/lyrics in this soundtrack emit many different emotions, such as joyous confessions of love during "All I Ask Of You" that quickly changes into sadness as the Phantom, hurt and betrayed, sings the reprised version full of heartache and rage. On the other hand, "The Phantom Of The Opera" sends chills throughout my body as the orchestra, hauntingly beautiful organ and electric guitar play feverishly to the Phantom saying "sing, my angel of music" in a demanding yet hypnotizing tone while Christine obeys, singing higher and higher as if in some kind of trance. "The Music Of The Night" is another favorite of mine, along with "Prima Donna", "Masquerade", "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again", and "The Point Of No Return". I was also pleasantly surprised to enjoy the brand new studio track written specifically for the closing credits, "Learn To Be Lonely", which is sung by Minnie Driver who plays the hilarious opera diva, Carlotta. I only wish it were longer...
The lovely Emmy Rossum may be no Sarah Brightman but I think she lived up to the expectations Sarah left us with rather well (and, remember, she was only 17 during filming). She's able to be both a lustful temptress as well as sweet and innocent when needed. As for Gerard Butler, he may not have the world's greatest voice but, to me, his dark and rugged style fits his imperfect character perfectly. Now, for a complete turn around, I think most will agree with me when I say that Patrick Wilson (Raoul) has the most gorgeous voice of them all. But what did you expect? He's a 'pretty boy'.
'The Phantom Of The Opera' may still be out in theaters but I am already waiting with bated breath for the DVD to become available. Until then I at least have the soundtrack to replay certain scenes in my mind. The only gripe I have is, by listening to this, it makes me want to see the movie every time I do...
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has been a long time in coming to the screen, but thanks to the box-office boom of CHICAGO and MOULIN ROUGE (and subsequent renaissance of the movie musical), it's finally arrived - and it's gorgeous. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicalization of the Gaston Leroux potboiler has been enjoyed onstage now for 18 years, both the London and Broadway productions still high-sellers with theatergoers. This all-new PHANTOM will be welcomed by all Phans with open arms.
This single disc edition of the soundtrack comprises all the main numbers from the musical.
Gerard Butler is a fine Phantom (though occasionally quite raspy and with an accent that seems at odds with the character and other actors).
Young Emmy Rossum is a lovely Christine, and imbues the character with all the restlessness and uncertainty of youth (the only glaring change is the simplified cadenza at the end of "Think of Me"). Her soprano voice is quite beautiful, though it doesn't reach the dizzying heights of previous Christine's like Anna Maria Kaufmann, Rebecca Caine and Sarah Brightman.
Patrick Wilson is a dashing Raoul, beautifully sung (as you would expect from this veteran of Broadway's OKLAHOMA! and THE FULL MONTY). Raoul can be a difficult role to play (in the wrong hands he can be quite weak and effeminate), but Wilson gives us a strong, stridant and powerful adversary to the Phantom.
Margaret Preece (serving as the voice of Minnie Driver's imperious opera diva Carlotta) is thrillingly-sung in the breathtaking "Prima Donna". Jennifer Ellison is a fine little Meg Giry.
The orchestra is full and rich, and serves the music well (the trademark organ motif of the Overture and swelling passages of "All I Ask of You" are superbly-executed). In their brief moments here in this `highlights' disc, Miranda Richardson (as Madame Giry), Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (as opera managers Firmin and Andre) are all excellent.
This new PHANTOM recording deserves it's place on the shelf next to the original cast with Crawford and Brightman.
on July 22, 2005
Great sdtrk, the music is soaringly romantic and gothic.
Gerard Butler sings with beautiful emotion infusing passion where needed (i.e Point of No Return)and allowing his phantom to gain the sympathy of the audience. Emmy sings her parts beautifully with an ethereal, celtic-like quality to her voice. There is this awesome melancholic tone to her voice in Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again that I didn't get from Sarah Brightman in the Original Cast Recording. Patrick Wilson sings handsomely as Raoul. The Broadway actor saves Raoul's seemingly annoying character from being disliked by the crowd. He doesn't sound muffled, wimpy, out-of-date, boring, or stuck-up. His voice sounds crystal clear, young, romantic, and very manly.
The music is lush! it's fun, dark, romantic, sexy and tragic.
I really feel that it does justice to the musical and is able to stand on it's own.
I wholeheartedly recommend it, the only major problem with it is that many people have a problem with Gerard's voice. And while at the beginning I was one of them, I soon noticed something very different between the tenors who otherwise sang the phantom's part and Gerard. Granted that he is no tenor, but the actor sings with this feeling, conveying EMOTION and not just skills. The phantom's supposed to have an angelic, soaring, voice? Well gee, Michael Crawford sure didn't fit that description and still after eons have passed since the musical he gets all the praise. I haven't heard one actor that played the phantom fit the above description; so why should Gerard be bashed on? Infact, he's one of the best phantom's that I've heard and seen and that's overloooking his obvious attractiveness. The other guys may have the voice, but Gerard has the feeling, and that's far more crucial because the story dwells on a man full of passion and pain, and well, Gerard brought it out very nicely!
Besides, it's a FANTASY rendition of the phantom tale, not some documentary that has to be precise. Give the man credit for his notable scotsman courage to be able to take on this grand role. Even if you didn't like him, give him the merit he deserves people!
on May 24, 2005
I had never seen the play and I was unfortunate enough to miss the theatrical release of the film, so it wasn't until I rented the movie that I was finally blessed with this beautiful musical offering.
I am not exactly a big fan of Opera music so I was very surprised at how inspiring I found this soundtrack even aside from the movie.
1. Overture: This track brings you right into the score with the thundering organ piece when the chandelier is raised. A perfect beginning even though it is, surprisingly the only track of just music, it includes organs, brass, string and electronics all in one.
2. Think of Me: I loved this song in the movie and it is one of my favorites. The soft piano and then swelling orchestra fits Emmy Rossum's voice very well. It carries through the song to its climactic ending including Raoul's brief solo.
3. Angel of Music: This track begins with the Phantom's haunting "Brava" leading into Meg's entrance. Emmy Rossum and Jennifer Ellison then present a lovely introduction to the prevalent Angel of Music. Their voices meld very well and the harmony is beautiful.
4. Mirror (Angel of Music): Building to the first sounds of The Phantom himself, this track covers the entire exchange between The Phantom and Christine after Raoul leaves her dressing room, ending in the Phantom chanting, `I am your Angel of Music'.
5. Phantom of the Opera: Track 4 leads smoothly into the title song. A strangely beautiful number. I am always attracted to unusual combinations in music and this song certainly offered that, a haunting blend of electronics and opera. The low register of the song was also very intriguing and makes this song stand out from the others. This song also ends in a very impressive high soprano note by Rossum.
6. Music of the Night: This track covers the entire famous song, Music of the Night, uniquely and beautifully sung by Gerard Butler. The raw emotion behind his performance makes for a pleasingly hypnotic offering.
7. Prima Donna: The one humorous song to make this particular soundtrack's final cut. Well done by all involved; it bears repeated hearings to catch all the clever lyrics.
8. All I Ask of You: One of my absolute favorite tracks, this is Christine and Raoul's duet. Beginning with the soft music and carrying to the end. It is both stunning and comforting with both Patrick Wilson and Emmy Rossum giving it all the loving emotion they can and delivering wonderful harmony.
9. All I Ask of You (Reprise): Following the previous track is its reprise, beginning with the Phantom's devastating realization that Christine loves someone else, it includes him weeping over the fallen rose while you hear Raoul and Christine singing the final chorus of their song like an echo. Then the Phantom regains himself to finish the song in a powerful rage, this is overlaid by the organ theme.
10. Masquerade: I'll admit to this not being my favorite track but that is largely because I prefer solos and small harmonies, but if you enjoy full choral songs than you will enjoy this one. It begins with Firmin and Andre singing about the pleasant Gala evening, then the choral group sings. This then turns to Christine and Raoul discussing their secret engagement, the choral segment picks up once again finally ending with the interruption of the Phantom's theme.
11. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again: I will say now that I adore this song. One of the few complete solos, Emmy Rossum proves that she holds very well on her own with spectacular soprano and yet deep alto notes. It is both sad and enchanting and the final lines are especially beautiful.
12. Point of No Return: A fully hypnotic song, I didn't enjoy this duet as well as some of the others, but there are some pleasant surprises to be found on both Butler and Rossum's part. This track has the entire song of Point of No Return beginning with the moment The Phantom comes on stage and ending with the abrupt actions of Christine which end his reprise of All I Ask of You. It then plays through the powerful theme that follows the chandelier falling and the Phantom escaping with Christine. It surprisingly continues to play as we hear Carlotta's reaction to the death of Piangi, Firmin's statement that he and Andre are ruined, then more music and we hear Raoul asking Madame Giry where The Phantom has taken Christine. She tells him to follow and tells Meg to stay behind. The track at last ends with Meg holding back the growing mob with the word `No'.
13. Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer: This track is practically a Medley with all it includes and is thus one of my favorite tracks. First of all Down Once More, which alternates with the mob singing Track Down This Murderer. This pauses briefly for Raoul and Madame Giry singing "Your hand at the level of your eyes" then, (skipping over their dialogue) moves on to the short duet between Christine and the Phantom where he reveals some of his childhood to her and she tells him that it is his soul that is truly distorted. It then breaks to the Phantom acknowledging the arrival of Raoul, carrying all the way through to The Phantom tying Raoul to the gate. Following this is the absolutely fantastic song preformed by the three main characters. This segment runs from 4:50 to 5:55 and I had to listen to it several times just to get the full impact of the gorgeous harmony and the different lyrics. All three preformed beautifully together and it was a real reward to hear their talents combined. You then hear Christine and the Phantom's brief dialogue then her final solo before the kiss. The crescendo of Angel of Music comes at this point and is one of the most powerful moments of the soundtrack. You then hear the Phantom breathing and the mob's song comes back, The Phantom then tells them to go immediately. After this the music ends suddenly and returns with the tantalizing music box theme of Masquerade, the Phantom sings brokenly with the music ending in "Christine I love you." The music of her returning the ring and leaving then plays and finally we hear Raoul and Christine repeating the final verse of their song once more, the Phantom breaks in with the concluding line of an altered Music of the Night and the music hits a final crescendo (without the sound of breaking mirrors) and this music slows into the final stringed notes of the track.
14. Learn To Be Lonely: A truly sad credit song well preformed by Minnie Driver who's voice fit the mood very well and even without being opera this song seemed to blend well with the rest of the soundtrack.
The Music: I loved the music, it was haunting and tantalizing and powerful, it was very appropriately emotional and never completed a song dully. I really enjoyed discovering how various melodies were shared by different songs and was very impressed with how they could sound different even with the same music.
The Singing: I was wildly impressed by all the performances! Gerard Butler offered a raw quality to his character's voice that I thought was a very good decision, even though it was opera it was unique to his character and it also had the capability to reflect every emotion he was feeling. Patrick Wilson delivered a truly tender performance on all his major singing solos and added a desperation to the song they sing together. Emmy Rossum was simply amazing, I could not believe how young she was and enjoyed the softness and wide range of her voice, she provided lovely harmonies for the other two leads and at the same time preformed brilliantly in her solos. All supporting singers were also very good, their voices portrayed their characters very well and Jennifer Ellison in particular made a big difference in Angel of Music.
Altogether: I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed this soundtrack. It seems to offer a song for every mood and provides a desire for repeated listening. Even if you don't think you like opera, you should give this soundtrack a try, it may surprise you.
The Phantom of the Opera, Soundtrack: Rates 5 stars out of 5
on January 21, 2005
First I'd like to say that I am not rating this a perfect 5 because I'm Gerard Butler fan. I never even heard of him until the motion picture for Phantom. And where I live, all the original casting CD's were left on the shelf while I had to look for weeks before I could find a store with the Movie soundtrack in stock. Whoever it was that wrote that biased review grates on my nerves for being so assumptious.
Having heard the original cast soundtrack before the original movie soundtrack, I have to say I like the movie soundtrack a lot more. I must say the voice of the Phantom in the original cast is better trained, but the voice for Christine's character sounds strange, for lack of a better word.
I'll admit when I first saw the movie I thought Gerard's voice was a little weak, but after reaching some of those high notes, and hearing the power of emotion in his singing I prefer him over the original casting. And yes, his voice has an amazing and compelling, even sexy quality to it--when I hear his voice I need to stop what I'm doing and not even dare to move or breathe until it's over. The same goes for Emmy Rossum's voice. Impecable range, and such a sweet sound to it. Both their voices combined really takes you somewhere else.
on November 26, 2005
I have a degree in music and have laughed at some of the reviews here eulogizing the original performances by Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford to the detriment of Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler. I fell in love with Emmy Rossum's performance right from the start. She doesn't have Sarah Brightman's pedigree, but her performance has an innocence that I never saw in Sarah Brightman, whose voice I always disliked for its hard edge. I find Emmy Rossum's voice to be much more subtle and nuanced.
As for Gerard Butler, get over MC! I was fascinated by the contrast between Gerard Butler's rough sensuality and Patrick Wilson's upper class sophistication. I think that's what they were going for, and I think it succeeded! From a purely musical perspective, MC has a more trained voice; we all know that. But his Phantom to me seems more polished, cold and calculating than Gerard Butler's raw and sexy one. Are you looking for an operatic performance or the whole character?
By the way, I've seen 3 different Phantoms perform on stage and found aspects of each of their performances that I loved. I didn't expect to see or hear Sarah Brightman (thank goodness, no matter how huge her range is!!) or Michael Crawford, and I didn't. I saw new interpretations, which was great. So if you want Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford, listen to the old recordings. If your mind is open to new interpretations, get this - it sheds a whole new light on the story and its characters!
on September 1, 2005
Gorgeous, breathtaking, spellbinding. Ordinarily those words are hideously overused, but for once, they actually apply. Despite all the hullaballoo about Gerard Butler not being Michael Crawford (can he help that?), this is the best film soundtrack I have ever heard. Since I collect them, that is saying a lot.
Emmy Rossum shines, though she doesn't quite live up to Sarah Brightman's standards. She sings sweetly and even occasionally with some emotion. More on that later. Her vocal performance, especially in "The Phantom of the Opera," was excellent, especially for a sixteen-year-old, even if she sometimes becomes a bit shrill.
Patrick Wilson has a beautiful voice. I would love for him to become a full-time singer; that way we could enjoy his voice without having his atrocious acting foisted upon us. Fortunately, when one is listening to the soundtrack, it is possible to imagine that he has more than one facial expression. The excellence of his voice is especially noticeable in "All I ask of You," which, incidentally, is just about the only song that he really sings on this album, anyway.
And now for my favorite: Carlotta. Just joking! Gerard Butler was an amazing Phantom. His voice is not technically perfect as Mr. Crawford's was, but then, it isn't nasal, either, which is a huge plus. Also, Mr. Butler expresses emotion very strongly with his singing voice, something that is apparently very difficult to do, since no-one else in the film did it. His version of "Music of the Night" was wonderful, but my personal favorite (I must be sick-minded) was "The Point of No Return." Beautiful!
on January 18, 2007
As stated in my title, I did indeed grow up with Phantom of the Opera. Every Halloween, my mother would blare the soundtrack with open windows. She considered this to be ideal "scary" music. My guess is, is that she played the London cast recording. (This was quite a few years ago, so I can't be too sure) While it was playing, she would explain to me the story of the Phantom, what the songs meant, what was happening in the play. I quickly fell in love with the story, and eagerly anticipated Halloween, because she only played that soundtrack at that time of the year.
As an adult, I look back at all of the recordings I have heard. I am a fan of both opera and Broadway musicals, so I have immensely enjoyed the London recording. (Sadly, I have not yet had the opportunity to see the play in person, but the book by Gaston Leroux is coming) That recording was extremely powerful, and I could always sympathize with the raw pain that the Phantom presented.
Now, fast forward to the 2004 movie. The movie was intended to be different from the play, with ALW himself adjusting the music to have more of a rock feel. As such, the style was supposed to be different.
I read many reviews of this product before I finally decided that I would add my own opinion. Quite a few people have complained about Gerard Butler's singing. I feel that his singing was just as full of the raw emotion needed for the role Michael Crawford portrayed. BUT, as the music itself is different, a different, edgier sound was needed to complete it. Gerard does this quite well.
Plese do not compare two completely different formats of a wonderful musical. I would say, buy BOTH soundtracks, the movie version and the London original cast (and any other recordings you care to). Enjoy each for what they are, within the context of WHAT they are (movie vs. stage production). After all, I am sure that the Phantom himself would agree, it is all about the music.
on December 6, 2004
To begin with, I am not against the idea of someone new stepping into the roles of Christine or the Phantom. Honestly, I enjoy each edition of the Phantom soundtrack as a unique work unto itself. I have been privelaged enough to see the theatrical version of the show 16 times, in most cases with different leads in the aforementioned parts: such names as Colm Wilkonson, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Rebecca Caine and Jeff Hyslop to name a few. And from each, I experienced a slightly different interpretation of the principal roles. I think that, as a repeat connoisseur of the stage show, it is one of the things that kept me coming back to see it again and again-the variety of interpretations that each actor brought to the show. I need to emphasize this fact for anyone who is using this review to help make a decision to purchase this soundtrack because so many people have been against the casting of this movie simply because they are avid fans of Michael Crawford and/or Sarah Brightman in the original casting of the famed roles.
I must state first that there are a lot of things that I really DO like about the soundtrack. The instrumental scoring is rich, and sounds more vibrant than any other recording of the show to date. There are some instances where new music has been scored for use in the film, and the majority of the new material is decent to excellent. There are a few moments though where the scoring sounds very disjointed, clumsily segueing from the original score to movie scoring without much finesse. Some of the additions are very obvious and are a bit distracting when standing alone as musical scoring...perhaps it will work better when accompanied by the visuals of the movie.
The real struggle with this production is the casting. To give credit where it is deserved, the actors all seem to give genuine performances and should be praised for their efforts. Emmy Rossum is actually decent in the role of Christine. Her voice, though weaker in some respects than the type usually cast in the part, is still convincing and projects the innocence and vulnerability that Christine possesses. Gerrard Butler, who plays the coveted role of the Phantom, does so with an anger and rage that I think is often lacking from the theatrical productions...his tragic Phantom isn't only a victim but also a devicive monster who pursues his passions with vigor and lust. However, Butler's voice, combined with his thick (Irish?) accent are very distracting, especially in his performance of "The Point On No Return" and the final 10 minutes of the score. He is obviously not trained in classical voice and his poor pronunciation and obviously uncontrolled vibrato and breath support do nothing for the role.
Most dissatifying of all, though, is the casting of Minnie Driver in the role of Carlotta. Although I realize that much of Carlotta's dialogue is spoken rather than sung, it is infuriating to me that a voice double was brought in to sing all of Carlotta's parts. There are many famous vocal talents out there who could have been cast, and it seems that the casting director was looking for a famous name/face to bring additional attention to this film. I think that her casting is a mistake and is insulting to the leagues of women who have masterfully played the somewhat demanding part of Carlotta in the many stage productions of this show over the years.
Would I recommend the soundtrack? Yes, but with the notable understanding that this is NOT the theatrical soundtrack. For anyone who is seeking to experience the show for the first time, let me suggest the Canadian cast recording, which is, in this reviewer's opinion, the best cast recording of the show to date.
I was blown away by the movie and the sountrack. Emmy Rossum's voice is beautiful, vulnerable and stirring. The voice of Butler, as the Phantom, is rough and dark as this character's voice should be. I found not one thing disappointing. The music is just amazing. Listen to this sountrack and truley the phantom will be in your mind.