The Phantom of the Opera (Original Cast Recording)
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Nothing beats Broadway. Not even Hollywood.
I am a huge Phantom Phan! After reading the book (by Gaston Leroux), I knew I had to see the musical. I've seen it twice and would love to see it again. The music is absolutely magical. Every single cast member has a wonderful voice. If you've seen the movie and thought it was good, I highly suggest you listen to these REAL singers with REAL talent. The movie may have looked beautiful, but the vocals were not worthy of the score. Nothing could ever beat this entrancing Broadway classic. Buy it!! What are you waiting for?
The Reason Why I'm A Phan
This album was my first true encounter with the magic that is Phantom. From the very first chord of the Overture, I was hooked by the spellbinding music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The voices are awesome; Michael Crawford's ghostly tenor and Sarah Brightman's lovely soprano make them the ideal Erik and Christine to me. And then there's the late, great Steve Barton (Raoul), whose gentle and soothing baritone provides a very nice contrast to Crawford's sometimes maniacal-sounding voice. (MC's evil laugh at the end of the "All I Ask Reprise" alone is worth the cost of this album.) My only real complaint is that "Down Once More..." sounds a bit emotionless, but that's because it was recorded in a studio rather than an actual stage performance. Definitely my favorite cast recording of all time.
Haunting and Heartbreaking
I like Broadway in general, but I've never found a musical, or a soundtrack from a musical, that can even begin to compare with Phantom. I absolutely love the movie (if you haven't seen it you need to!) However, if you're only going to buy one version of the soundtrack, I would suggest this, the Original Cast Recording. This IS Phantom. Even though I love Gerard Butler, Crawford's voice fits his role so well that it's hard to compare. Each and every song is wonderful. But I'll pick just a few of my very favorites to recommend: ~Point of No Return. So powerful and intense, you can almost feel the music. ~All I Ask Of You. And especially the reprise--wow! ~Phantom of the Opera. All-around awesome! It has cool lyrics, and that great melody (the Phantom "theme", same as in the overture). It gets you into this sort of mood. ~and of course Music of the Night. Quite a lot better than the movie version. Not quite as good as the original Broadway recording with the FIRST version of the lyrics, but obviously still excellent. This song really embodies the whole "feeling" of Phantom. It has a lot going for it--a hauntingly beautiful tune, Michael Crawford's equally enchanting voice, an almost hypnotic feel, and exceptionally good lyrics. When playing Music of the Night, really LISTEN to what he's saying. It kind of sends chills down your spine. Personally, I don't think very many musicals can boast lyrics as lovely or fitting as "Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor/ Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender". Anyway! Moving on! ~It's worth buying the whole album to get the last track--Down Once More. I still cry everytime I hear the end. I like how this version includes the parts of the score that aren't as well known, or that aren't major musical numbers. For example, 'Why So Silent' and 'Twisted Every Way', although not long, are great songs. I particularly appreciate the inclusion of 'I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamed It'. This is arguably the best music out there. Listening to it brings out so many emotions--it's incredible. To put it simply, I love Phantom! Buy this music, and you'll find you will too.