So, I feel kind of bad, because I’ve never seen the stage production of The Phantom Of The Opera. Actually, I don’t feel bad, I just feel deprived. According to several friends that have seen it on BROADWAY, I’m really missing out.
But the movie production, released in 2004 by Joel Schumacher is absolutely wonderful, and now one of my favourite movies. I even snatched up a copy of the movie’s soundtrack to add it to my growing Phantom obsession. And let me say, I was more than pleased.
The CD brings all the wonderful music (composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber) from the movie/musical to my CD player, and if I turn it all the way up, I can sing along at the top of my lungs and pretend I’m Christine- until my neighbour complains, that is.
Overture, the famous score that plays whenever the Phantom (played by Gerard Butler) appears. You probably have heard this music before- but you wouldn’t recognize it until you heard it. A full orchestra is on hand to perform this haunting, yet beautiful melody. This overture was perfectly placed- it gets your heart racing in anticipation for what’s to come with the rest of this terrific album.
Soaring ballad, Think Of Me, is performed by the movie’s Christine, Emmy Rossum. The song starts off simple and sweet, as she reflects on a former lover, and asks him to remember her. An orchestra soars in before the chorus to give this song a dramatic flair. I adore this song- Rossum has a very impressive voice, and does a great job singing it, and I always long to be a soprano when she hits the high notes towards the end (alas, I am an alto). Patrick Wilson, who plays Raoul in the movie, also has a small part in this song as he sings to Christine and vows that he will never forget her.
Cue the dramatic music from the overture and we have the title track and the Phantom’s theme, Phantom of the Opera. I love the rock flair this song has to it- it combines operatic singing from Rossum and Butler with the beat of a Queen song or something similar and it’s completely modern and fun to listen to. Rossum and Butler harmonize well and sound great together, and Rossum hits some more high soprano notes towards the end, again rendering jealousy from me ;). The Music Of The Night is a soft and alluring ballad, and a stand-out moment for Butler, whom does an extraordinary job vocally. I am absolutely in love with his voice in this song- it’s soothing and soft, yet powerful and commanding at the same time. This song is probably one of my favourites on the album, which is saying a lot since I love every song. The score is also quite captivating and you get lost in the Phantom’s world and haunting life as you listen along.
Meanwhile, Rossum and Wilson duet on All I Ask Of You, the soaring ballad we’ve all been waiting for. Their voices blend very well together as they sing to each other about being in love and spending their lives together. The melody is catchy, and I’ve found myself humming the tune under my breath several times after listening to this song. The orchestra kicks in towards the end and gives a dramatic flair as Rossum and Wilson sing, “Anywhere you go/Let me go too/Love me/That’s all I ask of you.” A reprise (All I Ask Of You (reprise)) follows, and consists of Butler taking the lead with an angry song and blazing trumpets.
Masquerade is the film and album’s biggest musical number, with a hundred or so extras singing along. This song is quite vibrant and fun, but honestly it’s a lot better to watch than just listen to (this scene is HUGE and the costumes and sets are just spectacular). I don’t care for Prima Donna, but it’s mostly because I don’t care for any of the songs that don’t include the primary cast. This is Carlotta’s (played byMinnie Driver) song. I do enjoy listening to Margaret Preece (the singing voice of Carlotta- of course, Minnie Driver isn’t trained for operatic singing), but the schmaltzy sound is too over-the-top for me.
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again marks the return of my favourites. This song is haunting and touching, as Rossum cries out,”Too many years/Fighting back tears/Why can’t the past just die?” The melody is soft and sad, and yet again, Rossum’s vocals and the orchestra work are the strength of this somber ballad. My favourite part by far is when she softly sings, “Help me say goodbye” at the end. The Point Of No Return is another one of my favourites. Butler’s voice is again haunting and strong, and his and Rossum’s voices blend together very well. The melody, much like the other songs on the soundtrack, is catchy and memorable. Down Once More/Track Down The Murderer is one long track. Seriously, it runs for almost thirteen minutes, but at least it’s important to the story. Some of the same themes from the earlier songs in the score are present, but the song mostly serves as a storytelling device more than anything else.
The album ends with Learn To Be Lonely, an original song for the movie that’s played over the closing credits. It’s performed by Minnie Driver, but I honestly don’t care for this song. I really don’t like Driver’s voice (though I have to admit I saw her on Leno the other night, and I do like her single, “Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket”). This song could’ve been left off the album and some of the smaller songs from the movie (Like “Stranger Than You Dreamt It”- a song I LOVE) could’ve taken its place. Ah well..this is pretty much the only disappointment on a flawless album.
The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack is fantastic. Of course, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original compositions are amazing on their own, but the orchestration and singing from the film’s leads, Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, just add to the quality of the album. This is perfect for fans of the movie or Phantom of the Opera, in general, or just anyone whom loves a quality opera/musical score.
2. Think of Me
3. Angel of Music
4. The (Angel of Music)/Mirror
5. The Phantom of the Opera
6. The Music of the Night
7. Prima Donna
8. All I Ask of You
9. All I Ask of You (Reprise)
11. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
12. The Point of No Return
13. Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer
14. Learn to Be Lonely
*This is a “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.