Expanded edition includes a bonus disc with 11 tracks.
For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws
did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album
approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and the London Boys Choir. This deluxe, double-disc version showcases all of Phantom
's key songs, with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emmy Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs--which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver. --Jerry McCulley