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on October 11, 2011
I just got back from watching this exact performance at my local theatre, and I must admit, I am most impressed.

I was frightened that this might not be a staging at all, but more along the lines of a "concert in costume" much like the dissapointment I felt when I saw the Les Miserable's concert on Public TV.

Fear not. This production is pretty dead on to the staging that appears in the shows that I have watched live, and considering this was filmed "live" and simulcast, it is truly a sight to behold.

While this performance can't even compare to "being there" it is far removed than the sterile affair put on the screen by Joel Schumaker. Don't get me wrong. There is plenty of things I like about the movie, (like the spine tingling opening sequence, or the red hot sexuality of Point of No Return). But this by far is the most accurate "filming" I have seen of any ALW production.

Unlike Joseph, JC Superstar and CATS, which were "staged" recordings specifically for video, with all the "cuts" that go with it, This is a live filming that was simulcast live around the world on Oct 2, 2011 and ran on limited encore performances in movie theatres for the next few days. There are no "best performances" or "second chances". We get what was actually presented to the audience on Oct 2, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Due to the height of the roof of the Royal Albert Hall and either logistics or safety concerns revolving around hurling a Chandalier from such a dizzying height, suffice it to say, the chandalier does not crash to the stage at the end of Act 1, nor does it "float" from the stage in it's glory during the overture. Instead, the tarp is removed during the overture, and fireworks accompany the chandeliers destruction at the end of Act 1. This is sure to be a bit of a disappointment to most Phantom fans, and if you need to experience a crashing chandalier, you will have to go to one of the live performances currently touring around the world. On the plus side there are quite a few shots of the show taken "throguh" the chandelier onto the stage below, which gives you the feeling that you are the phantom, spying at the action below from top of the chandelier. It's not as dramatic, but they did what they could and it's hard to fault them for something that was probably completely out of their control.

The production also makes extensive use of LED screens as backdrops much like was done in Love Never Dies. This can is be both effective and a bit disconcerting. One example is the backdrop of Andre and Fermin's office, which is setup to look like a wall with opera posters posted on it. From a distance, these work fine. However, some of the cameras are really close to the stage and causes this effect to pixelate greatly which takes away some of the suspension of disbelief.

The use of LED screens is also used to mimic Christines Mirror during her Angel of Music number in which Christine approaches the mirror with the Phantoms face singing in the upper right corner of the mirror. Towards the end, the screen simply slides away to review the Phantom walking towards her with the fog rolling at his feet.

Another different use of the screens is during "Notes" when the phantom is reading how Christine is to star in 'Il Muto, we see handwriting appearing as well as the phantom singing his instructions on how Christine is to be granted the role of the dutchess while Carlotta plays the pageboy. One cool effect that the LED screens provided was during the end of Think of Me, Christine faces the rear of the stage, and the actual applause from the live audience is projected on the rear screens giving the audience the feeling that they are behind Christine and their own reaction is the reaction of the "audience" who just watched her aria from Hannibal. It's hard to describe but a cool efect.

It's also fair to note that these "screens" were necessary given the sheer size of the arena, and in the vastness of the RAH, some consideration had to be made to those in the nosebleed seats, so we see some scenes where the Phantom is projected on the real wall so that the paying customer in the back can better see the action.

It's just that they lose much of their effectiveness when filmed.

Speaking of filming, the camera work is stunning. Thanks to HD and the extreme closeup we fully see the emotional range the Phantom shows at his love/hate relationship with Christine. Some might say we see too much as I was distracted by wrinkles in the Phantoms facial prostesis where it was peeling from his neckline. Proof positive that this was shot live.

The performances from the cast were spot on, and it's amazing how I find different parts of the musical which resonate with me depending on the production.

In the live stage productions I have seen, the "Phantom of The Opera/Music of the Night" sequence always sent shivers down my spine. The motion picture's rendition of "Past the Point of No Return" has a sexual tension and animal magnetism not experienced on any stage performance I have seen. The stand out number for me in this version clearly was "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again." This has never been a favorite number of mine until now. Sierra Boggess really sells that performance and my mouth was on the floor when it was over.

The Phantom in this production is also more believable. Ramin Karimloo brings out an anquished performance of a "monster" with the heart of an "artist". His makeup is not over the top but grotesque enough to give someone pause. My biggest beef about the motion picture is that no woman in her right mind would have rejected Gerard Butler's Phantom. Even with his "hideous" makeup he was way too pretty. A slight rash, a droopy eye and a swollen lip? Really? I've seen uglier people at Wal-Mart. But Karimloo's Phantom is sufficiently hideous. You sense the bravery it took Christine to kiss him in the final scene and that courage is not lost on the Phantom, which leads to his change of heart.

One suprising highlight was the role of Carlotta. In all the past performances, Carlotta was portrayed in Caricature. Nowehre is this more apparant than in Minnie Drivers over the top performance in the film. Here, Carlotta is almost a sympathetic character. She clearly fears not only the Phantom, but also the rise of this "precious little Ingenue". She clearly see's Christine as a threat to her dominance at the Opera and we see a true human side to her as portrayed by her fear when the piano starts playing by itself during the rehersal for Don Juan Triumphant. In the past Carlotta had always been a throwaway part, but in this performance it is done with an authenticity that I have never before seen.

Overall, the show is brilliant and I am ecstatic that it will be coming to DVD/Blu-Ray. Unfortunately Phantom is no longer touring in North America, so my chances to see it live require a trip to New York, or Las Vegas to see the "truncated" version. And if my children never have the opportunity to see it live, at least they can appreciate this version. While it is nowhere close to experiencing Phantom for yourself, it is definitely more authentic than the movie, and slight staging differences aside, is as accurate a staging of the original show as could be done in the venue that it was pressented.

One final bonus is the appearance on stage of the surviving Orignal London Cast including Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Unfortunately Michael does no singing, but we do get two numbers with Sarah and four previous phantoms. The Phantoms are outstanding, but clearly Sarah's voice lacks the punch it had 25 years ago. This is not a criticism but just a fact of growing older. It was still nice to see the original production team on stage.

While it seems I have levied quite a few criticisms in this review, it is simply there to let you know what you are getting before you buy. The performance was outstanding and much more accurate to the original show than the movie. If you are a fan of the original show, you will find plenty to like here. If you are a fan of the movie, you will see different nuances than was presented by the film.

Anyway, however you look at it. At it's core, it is still Phantom, and a mighty fine one at that. A must buy for anyone who loves this show, and anyone who has yet to see it performed on stage.
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on October 6, 2011
For the 25th anniversary of Phantom Andrew and Cameron did a fully staged concert version of pretty much the whole show at London's Royal Albert Hall complete with minor set piece and fully costumed with a cast and orchestra of over 200. (More complete then the movie just a like cut here or there NOTHING to really get excited over.) This version is nothing short of incredible. Now fans of Sarah and Michael DON'T KILL ME, please. I saw this in the theater for the live broadcast and was amazed by the performances in this. Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, who co-starred in the "Phantom" sequel "Love Never Dies" in London, reunited for the special production and with amazing chemistry. Having grown up on the OLC recording and owning about a half a dozen others I've never grown to really like the piece outside of the original cast. Maybe it's nostalgia for it or just the way others have sung it but this time I was blown away. Never in my life have I cried at this show until now. Ramin's Music of the Night was like hearing the song for the first time all over again and Sierra's high notes are flawless and clearer then ever Sarah did back in her early days. The odd standout performance for me was of all things Kiera Duffy as 'Carlotta'. She brought a fullness and venerability to the role I never ever thought about and her look go absolute terror during the rehearsals for The Phantom's opera still sticks out in my mind as genius. The performances in this alone make this for me THE version of phantom. Visually one should know off the bat that the chandler does not crash down... it is after all just a concert. The staging is mostly done with LED screens which, while not MY preferred thing, are alright. Small set piece are brought on and off and the costumes are all here in their glory. While I hope the LES screens don't make their way into the regular staging they did help to set the mood for the night, but it was hands down the cast and orchestra that makes this astounding. At the end there is the usual speeches and bringing out of the old cast and Michael and Sarah are there and while Michel doesn't sing Sarah does. She sounded eh.. ok... I wish she would get over her whole singing-with-my-arms-in-front-of-me thing but it was nice as she was backed by four past phantoms. That all is just sprinkles and dusting on what I hope will be looked back as one of the finest performances of this show ever done.
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on October 19, 2017
I love this version of Phantom of the Opera. I have the movie but have never been privileged to see a stage performance. This is excellently produced and performed. If you're a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Phantom of the Opera you will definitely want this in your collection. The bonus features are great if you would like to see behind the scenes and have a glimpse of what goes into a production like this. I'm glad I decided to add this to my DVD collection. Don't miss the bows at the end of the performance! There is a special treat in store.
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on October 9, 2017
I bought this DVD for on reason - Ramin Karimloo. Don't get me wrong, I am a Phantom fan, but Ramin Karimloo won me over while listening to Love Never Dies. He sold it as the Phantom in Love Never Dies and he sells it in this production of the Phantom as well. The whole DVD is masterfully filmed and puts you in a better seat than the front row for the production. If you are a fan of the Phantom, you need to check this out.
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In early October, 2011, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" was performed live at the Royal Albert Hall in London and broadcast live to theaters around the world. There were three performances: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sunday's was widely considered the best, as the earlier performances suffered from various glitches and flaws. This DVD appears to be Sunday's performance--but it's been edited so that the few flaws that existed are minimized. Consider it the best of the best!

The one element that bugged me the most is now gone. When Christine takes her bow at the end of "Think of Me" the cameras turn around and project a view of the audience onto the backdrops, so that Christine appears to have a real audience to bow to. On Sunday's performance, an usher was seating someone right at that moment. Bad timing! Guests in obviously modern clothing could be seen, pulling the viewers out of the moment. But in the DVD, that scene was replaced with a different version, where there are no ushers in sight and everyone is seated and applauding for Christine. Much better! The other edits were subtle and hard to spot, but it made for a smoother overall production.

For those who haven't seen "The Phantom of the Opera", the story is classic: a love triangle between The Phantom, Christine, and Raoul. The Phantom has secretly been teaching Christine to sing. In the process, he falls in love with her. When she achieves success, she catches the eye of Raoul, her childhood sweetheart. The two become involved, much to the Phantom's dismay. In some versions, it's clear that Christine loves Raoul wholeheartedly and wants nothing to do with the Phantom. But in this version, Christine appears to be torn. I won't spoil the ending, but suffice to say, I haven't seen the show yet where I didn't cry at the end.

The music is spectacular and moving. The sets are minimal, but effective. The costumes are gorgeous! And the actors were well-chosen. Ramin Karimloo is the best Phantom I've ever seen. He and Sierra Boggess have fantastic chemistry! And they should, for it's not their first time in the roles. Ramin played the Phantom in London, and Sierra played Christine in Las Vegas. They also played the Phantom and Christine together in the sequel, "Love Never Dies". Their voices are superb. Hadley Fraser was perfect as Raoul, too. Boyish and innocent, yet strong and protective of Christine.

Nothing can beat watching the show live. But this DVD is the next best thing.
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on July 19, 2017
This is fabulous! It is actually staged rather than stand-and-sung. Top notch performances. At the end there is a bit extra with Sarah Brightman. It's pretty close to the new touring staging. The scaffolding is a bit different than the current touring company, but that's pretty minor. If you love Phantom, you will love this.
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on March 9, 2012
This would be a perfect Blu-Ray if it was not the sound inconsistencies. I give 5 stars just for the Show including the wonderful music, and spectacular performance of the entire cast, 4.5 stars for the stunning picture, but only 4 stars for the sound, because it lacked dynamic and volume for the vocals that often got a very low level sound compared to the sound of the orchestra. A wonderful Show that was almost damaged by a mistaken sound engineering. Also, lacked best sound involvement, and even the stereo effect was poorly exploited by putting the whole orchestra at center stage, unless I choose to play stereo sound with Dolby PLIIx when, in this case, the sound is more dynamic and engaging. However, when I saw the "grand finale", all the criticisms that I made with respect to the sound does not seem so important. From this point the sound gets more dynamic and with more volume, and ends up enriching greatly the guest Sarah Brightman's participation in the presence of the current and old phantoms, and together they conclude the show with an "grand, and exciting, finale". I just read a review from a Brazilian who complains about the errors from the lyrics of songs in Portuguese-BR subtitles. Yes, it is true, if someone tries to follow the direction of history with subtitles, the person will be confused and don't will understand the correct meaning of the phrase. This shows total lack of knowledge of the translation work. A shocking example was the inexplicable reversal of English word "masquerade" to "Carnaval" in the subtitles, and several other inexcusable mistakes revealed in the subtitles for the Portuguese-BR(Brazil). However, selecting subtitles for the Portuguese-PT(Portugal), I could see that another translator did his best work of translation, where I can not identify translation errors that could confuse the reader.
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on September 14, 2017
I very much want to give this 5-start rating. I echo earlier comments that this performance is exquisite. I don't think you will find a better rendition of this musical; everyone is perfect in his/her role. However, BUYER BEWARE! While the Blu-Ray disc plays in my Blu-Ray player, the DVD in this set is Region 2, which is Europe. None of my devices will play the DVD, which should have been Region 1. If you live in North America, find another seller (not skyvo-direct-usa) and make sure the DVD is a Region 1. On a very positive note, the Customer Service department was swift to answer my email and willing to resolve the issue quickly, and that adds to my reasons for being a loyal Amazon customer.
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on May 20, 2015
I saw Phantom live maybe five times in San Francisco..... I had to take anyone I knew who never saw it, and it gave me an excuse to see it again.

When the Movie Came out I just didn't want to see what Hollywood would do to Phantom, I even said All they had to do is film a live stage show. They might have done a fine job, Some day I will see it

If you have seen the Opera Live you don't need me to tell you what its about... So I will tell you this They did a wonderful job filming it, to me one of the more amazing staging moments was when Christina gets the lead and does her performance and Curtains in the back of the stage open up and she takes her bows from adoring fans The Curtains close and you the real audience are now back stage All of that is there......

There was a time I got a bit confused during the Rooftop scene..... Since the Orchestra is stationed above the stage...... I got a bit confused when the Phantom appeared above. it was also the first time I noticed the viewing screen, because it was one of the first time the camera backed

After the show ends Andrew Lloyd Webber comes out Stay around for that too Because he brings out more and more people This is not one of the extras it is part of the whole show...... all in all it lasts near 3 hours with after show features. Yes the orginal Christina appears, Im drawing a blank as I write this

If you feel about this as I do You will love this dvd and all it brings....... There is no other Opera in my collection But there This one is Next to my Three stooges collection And I don't write many reviews but I do believe I have never given 5 stars
Hope you enjoy

There are times in this DVD through Slow spots like when the owners are featured You start to think Hey I could fast forward this to Christina and the Phantom... But I didnt
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VINE VOICEon July 4, 2013
The 25th anniversary production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is such an amazing musical on so many levels. Everything about this presentation captures how this classic story should look and feel--epic and grandiose, moving and emotional, majestic and enchanting. It is a perfect blend of orchestra, story, singing, mood and emotion; in short, it is a flawless musical.

For one, the performers are exceptional, and quite flawless, especially given that this was a live performance with the world watching. Sierra Boggess, as Christina Daae, is simply amazing, stealing the show with her beautiful voice and singing. She also has the perfect range of emotion in the scenes with the Phantom. Wendy Ferguson also does a fantastic job as well as Christina's foil. Ramin Karimloo does an exceptional job as the Phantom, giving the appropriate blend of pathos to the tragic figure.

Furthermore, the production is visually stunning. There are so many scenes that are handled eloquently with the right amount of power and emotion (the graveyard scene with Christine, the masquerade scene, the opening, the finale). The Phantom of the Opera should be seen but also felt, and this production accomplishes this. You literally feel like you are there in the audience watching this. Any film version of The Phantom really pales in comparison to this. One reviewer said it best: it is the difference between fast food and filet mignon.

There is also a Grand Finale with the original cast from 1986 coming out and singing with this cast. Andrew Lloyd Webber also makes an appearance. Very cool!

The extras include a behind the scenes feature, looking at the preparation for before the big event, with the cast and crew getting ready for the world to see their performance. This really puts into perspective how much work the crew and cast did to get ready, and how much detail goes into this.
The sound and picture quality are also great as well.

There are so many good things to say about this production. Highly recommended for any fan of the musical.
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