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The Phantom of the Opera (Highlights from the 1989 Original Canadian Cast) Cast Recording

4.2 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, November 26, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Contains highlights from the Andrew Lloyd Webber brainchild performed in Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal & Calgary during April, 1991 through September, 1992. Stars Colm Wilkinson & Rebecca Caine in leading roles.

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A few years after The Phantom of the Opera debuted in London, Harold Prince unveiled Andrew Lloyd Webber's gothic musical in Canada, in 1989. It was so good that this recording of highlights from the Canadian cast is--dare we say it?--more enjoyable than the equivalent London cast highlights album. No, it doesn't have the authenticity of London principals Sarah Brightman (for whom then-husband Lloyd Webber wrote the role of Christine) and Michael Crawford, but it doesn't have their idiosyncrasies, either, and it does have the richer voices of Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine (who played Jean Valjean and older Cosette, respectively, in the 1985 London cast of Les Misérables). At 69 minutes, the Canadian album is also 10 minutes longer than the London, allowing inclusion of the prologue and dress rehearsal for Hannibal. Of course, Lloyd Webber's melodies--"Angel of Music," "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"--are scrumptious on any continent. --David Horiuchi
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Product Details

  • Performer: Peter Cormican, Rebecca Caine, Colm Wilkinson, Gregory Cross
  • Orchestra: Theatre Orchestra
  • Composer: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Audio CD (November 26, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B0000072VS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,591 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The first thing you have to know is that this recording is not the entire musical. A few songs have been omitted. However, it's still worth a purchase, as the cast is absolutely fantastic.

Okay, first off is Rebecca Caine as Christine. While other women have attempted to play the awkward, timid teenager that Christine is, Caine takes a different approach. Her vocals are smooth and confident, and while it's impossible to believe that she's a teenager, she sings like an angel. Her voice is also very controlled--it doesn't quiver, like Sarah Brightman's, or croak unexpectedly, like Emmy Rossum's. She's a fantastic Christine.

Colm Wilkinson as the Phantom was a pleasant surprise. Of course, imagining Jean Valjean seducing Cosette is more than a bit disturbing, but Wilkinson and Caine play off each other superbly, and it's particularly evident during "Wandering Child." But the real highlight of Wilkinson's performance is "The Music of the Night." His vocals are indescribably gorgeous, and he brings a passion to the role that will make even the most hardcore Raoul sympathizer see the Phantom in a different light. Maybe it's just me, but I found Wilkinson's performance more believable than that of the original London Phantom, Michael Crawford. While Crawford's voice is thin, feminine and nearly emotionless, Wilkinson sings the role with a hypnotic intensity that is truly beyond compare. There's so much emotion in every line he sings--if you loved him in Les Miserables, you'll be swooning here.

Byron Nease plays RAOUL! The main problem with HIM is that EVERY LINE is so OVEREMPHASIZED that ALL HIS VOCALS end up SOUNDING LIKE THIS!!!

Okay, enough of that.
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Format: Audio CD
I would've given this five stars, but a few songs are omitted. Other than that, though, it's absolutely excellent. Colm Wilkinson plays a terrific Phantom--worlds better than Michael Crawford could ever be. His voice positively soars, and "Music of the Night" is truly breathtaking.

For this Canadian version of Phantom, the role of Christine is played by the incredibly talented Rebecca Caine. Unlike Sarah Brightman, she is able to control her voice to the point that her vibrato isn't annoying. "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," a song that has traditionally bored me to death, was suddenly more interesting when I heard Rebecca sing it. My one problem was that during "The Phantom's Lair" (as "Down Once More" and "Track Down this Murderer" are dubbed on this CD), she seemed to forget herself, and her vocals often turned to strangled gasps.

Byron Nease is one of the best Raouls I've ever heard. His voice is positively angelic, and "All I Ask of You" was a delight. The role is played very well.

Perhaps my favorite vocalist here, however, is the fantastic Lyse Guerin, who played a splendid Carlotta. Her voice is absolutely gorgeous, and she totally nailed her self-absorbed, irritable character. I can't even begin to prase her performance in "Prima Donna"--it is simply something you must experience yourself. She also tends to speed up passages that Rosemary Ashe, the original Carlotta, sang rather slowly. This may sound like it would be annoying, but it actually adds some more flavor to the songs.

Our dear managers, Firmin and Andre, left me a bit speechless. During the first act, they had clear Canadian accents...which promptly disappeared by the second act. During "Notes!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading many of the reviews I think it boils down to one thing.
Who was the first person you heard sing the phantom..Mr. Wilkinson or Mr. Crawford?
I was able to see Mr. Wilkinson perform and was blown away by his singing. I had to buy the tape(didn't have a CD player then) and listened to it until it wore out. When my tape broke my mother bought me the recording with Mr. Crawford. Personally, I hated it. Ms. Brightman does a horrid job of singing, and Mr. Crawford did not have the sensual voice that I thought the Phantom should have. But I believe that if I had heard Mr. Crawford first I would have thought he the better phantom.
For someone who has just seen the movie, I strongly suggest buying this CD. The singers are much better. Mr. Wilkinson draws you in with his voice, especially in Music of the Night. You won't be disappointed. Compared to the London cast, I would say this is by the far superior Phantom of the Opera CD.
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Format: Audio CD
I had owned the London cast recording of Phantom for some 7 years before I bought this one, and it is very hard to say which one is better. As with all different cast recordings of musicals, both have their strong and weak points.
The Canadian cast is headed up by Colm Wilkinson, who is a superb singer but often sounds like he has something in his mouth. However, he certainly brings a new depth to the role of the phantom, and one can easily imagine his strange enunciation being caused by disfiguring scars or the mask that hides them.
Caine is very easy on the ear as Christine, and many prefer her voice to Sarah Brightman's. However, at the end of the title song "Phantom of the Opera" when she sings along to the Phantom's exhortations, she sounds to me as if she is struggling for the breath to reach the notes. She pauses a split second too long for breath between each phrase. This gives the impression that she's struggling.
The Carlotta of this recording is exquisite. She sounds like a real opera singer, and not like a musical performer trying to sound like a diva.
The only real fault with this particular recording is the fact that they have left out the duet between Meg & Christine, "Angel of Music". That's the only reason I took away the final star.
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The Phantom of the Opera (Highlights from the 1989 Original Canadian Cast)
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