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Phantom Of The Opera – Special Edition Soundtrack Review

Category: Phantom of the Opera Reviews
Article Date: December 22, 2004 | Publication: Music from the Movies | Author: Nick Joy
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****1/2

“Beneath the Opera house, I know he’s there. He’s with me on the stage, he’s everywhere!” And now that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical has hit the big-screen, The Phantom truly is everywhere. Joel Schumacher continues on his path of attrition for the debacle of Batman and Robin with his lush, stylised, and very faithful adaptation of the West End and Broadway show.

This two-disc version contains most of the music from the movie, while the single-disc only has the songs. This version also has movie dialogue that, in the case of most soundtracks, is often a distraction, but on this occasion it helps link the songs and makes it comparable to the original cast recording. Fans of the show (and 40 million purchasers of the cast recording can’t all be wrong) will surely jump at the opportunity to listen to Lloyd Webber’s music, sounding even richer with accompaniment of a full orchestra. As well as boasting a fuller sound, the CD includes new music written by the composer for the movie (‘The Fairground’, ‘The Swordfight’) and a new end title song ‘Learn to be Lonely’ by Minnie Driver (surprisingly good voice, but not a memorable tune).

But enough of the background, what does the CD sound like, and were the producers right to replace Michael Crawford with Gerard Butler? While it would have been a nice touch for Crawford to play the big-screen version of a role that he created on the stage, he is blatantly too old for the role, and the young Butler has a presence that spells bigger box office. He is also proficient in the singing role of The Phantom, particularly in the eponymous song. He’s a bit shaky in ‘The Music of the Night’ and over the top in ‘The Point of No Return’, but overall it’s an assured performance, and a role that requires theatrical overstatement. Emmy Rossum, at just 18-years-old, is quite breathtaking as female lead Christine, boasting an impressive vocal range and depth of emotion.

The show’s most famous songs ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Angel of Music’, ‘The Music of the Night’, ‘All I Ask of You’ and ‘Wishing you were Somehow Here Again’ are all present and correct, boasting a high number of hits for a musical. In fact, the songs are so famous that it might prove difficult accepting anything other than the originals. But these movie versions are full-blooded interpretations and even Lloyd-Webber admits “it’s not at all based on the theatre visually or direction wise, but it’s still got the same essence.”

Those who never quite understood the phenomenal success of Lloyd-Webber’s 1980’s synth ‘n’ opera gothic romance will find little new to convert them, but fans will embrace the new material and alternate versions of the classic show tunes.

 


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