Released: 7 February 2012 by Universal Studios
Original performance: 2 October 2011
Starring: Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Hadley Fraser
Directed by: Laurence Connor
3.5 stars (out of 4)
Far beneath the majesty and splendor of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protegee Christine Daae is so strong that even her heart cannot resist. (thephantomoftheopera.com/the-show/)
Yes, I admit it – I’m a Phan of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s gothic musical The Phantom of the Opera. I saw the original Phantom in New York City three to four times with Michael Crawford and the late Steve Barton playing The Phantom and Raoul respectively (Sarah Brightman had already left the show by the time I was able to get a ticket). I actually moved to California when the show opened in Los Angeles with Michael Crawford again in the title role (although my favorite Phantom has always been Davis Gaines). I’ve seen it in London at the West End, on tour, in Las Vegas (with Boggess as Christine), and even the 2004 movie with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. I adore this show. So I felt it was high time I saw the 25th Anniversary concert which was presented at London’s Royal Albert Hall in October 2011 – and I’m so glad I did.
The singing in this 25th Anniversary production is outstanding. There is no doubt that the three leads – Karimloo as The Phantom, Boggess as Christine, and Fraser as Raoul – put their all into this show. This was my first time hearing Karimloo and Fraser, and their voices are beautifully warm. Karimloo was able to hit each note in “Music of the Night” with confidence, while Fraser’s tone complemented Boggess’ very well in “All I Ask of You.” Boggess is the standout, however, as Christine. Her range was wide and gorgeous. Although I felt she got the most warmth out of the lower to mid range, her soaring soprano notes in “Think of Me” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” were thrilling to hear and made me sit up and take note of those songs. My favorite part of this production, though, was her duet with Karimloo on the title song – stunning singing from both actors. “The Point of No Return” – which is probably my favorite song in the show – was very well done, but I have never seen it performed live as well as it was done in the 2004 movie. There is a sexual chemistry between Butler and Rossum on-screen in that scene that has never been duplicated. At least, however, it was the full song – in the Las Vegas production that is the number that has been butchered the most. (more…)