The Phantom of the Opera

Early in my college career Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical play The Phantom of the Opera came into focus for me.  It had been camped on Broadway for months and had expanded to a theater in LA.  Both locations were selling out regularly.  I became interested in the play because of a roommate who’d seen it and loved it.  I listened to her soundtrack, bought the soundtrack, read the original book, bought the original book, looked through books about the creation of the play, and finally convinced my family to go and see it while we were in LA for a trip to Disneyland.  I loved it, but became convinced that my family members were phlistines because they didn’t properly appreciate it. (I’ve revised this opinion since).  Then my life moved on and I haven’t spent much of the intervening 11 years thinking about phantoms or operas.

Then the other day I was browsing a movie trailer site and saw a trailer labeled Phantom of the Opera.  I clicked and discovered to my surprise that the artistic wrangling over the creation of a movie based on Webbers’ play had been worked through, and the film will come out in theaters this December.  I’m going to be there.  I looked at who they picked for the major parts and the faces look right to me.  The images in the trailer looked beautiful.  I figure the probability that they failed to capture the glory of the play is pretty high, but the nostalgia alone is worth $4.50 (I do matinees).

This morning I pulled out my dusty copy of the Phantom Soundtrack and listened to it while I cleaned the kitchen.  By “listened” I mean “sang along at the top of my voice.”  I love being able to match the high notes in beautiful songs although a few of the highest notes were only reachable by screeching.  I screeched away joyfully.  No one who can tell on me is within hearing range.  Gleek and Patches seemed to take the performance in stride and just went on with their day. 

Now I’m wanting to get the highlights soundtrack for Les Miserables which was really popular at the same time, but which I never acquired the soundtrack for.  I used to be able to sing those songs by heart, but I’ve forgotten most of the words now.  While I’m at it I might pick up the soundtrack for Chicago, that movie was absolutely fantastic and I want to learn those songs.  Unfortunately I just tightened up the budget so no splurging for me today.  I’ll just have to stick them on my wish list and look forward to Christmas.  Perhaps my local library has them.  For now I’m going to go pop in the second disc of Phantom and go fold some laundry.

11 thoughts on “The Phantom of the Opera”

  1. I adored playing Phantom of the Opera medley on the alto saxophone in high school. It was great. So was Les Miserables. Now if I can just lay my hands on the music again. I’ve finally to my saxophone back but upon ransacking dad’s house I couldn’t find the music and he won’t let me take away any music anyhow even if it is mine from high school (he’s mental, luckily it isn’t genetic).

  2. For Les Miz, I would suggest the London one…the In Concert two CD set. Fantastic rendition, and it includes Do You Hear the People Sing in every language that Les Miz has been done in, each individual verse sung by a different Valjean.

    Just love it.

    And I plan to see the movie Phantom as well, though I’d love to see a Les Miz musical version movie come out. That’d be really nice, actually.

  3. Chicago

    Recommend the Original London Cast Recording of Chicago, it’s fantastic. Ute Lemper and Ruthie Henshell were just superb and I was lucky enough to see them in the show too.

  4. I love musicals…we should have a big silly musical singing time next time I see you 🙂

    Can’t wait to see the movie. We have the London Cast’s soundtrack for Phantom so when I sing along I sing with a British accent unless I concentrate 🙂

  5. I concur — though the two disk “Original Soundtrack” is also extremely good.

    “In Concert” is also available as a video. The performance was done with minimalist sets, but the singing was excellent. And that extended finale with all of the “Jean Valjean”s from around the world — extraordinary.

    I have the play nearly memorized — but only in English. ];-)

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  6. …. making notes here ….

    Hmmm. Things to schedule when Sandra’s at a Con:

    1) Sing-A-Long.
    2) Babysitting during that time slot so she can attend.

    Things to add to the “Thank You Sandra For Being Our Guest” list:

    1) Chicago soundtrack
    2) Les Miserables soundtrack


  7. I’ve heard the London “full” version (three discs, I think, and covers the entire production) and the Broadway “highlights” version (two discs). The London version was a great disappointment to me; the only improvement was that their Eponine could sing. >:) But otherwise, I much prefered the Broadway soundtrack.

    By contrast, the only true “Chess” soundtrack is the London studio recording, because anyone other than Murray Head trying to sing “One Night in Bangkok” just sounds ridiculous. 😀

  8. Hey! I like the oriental Eponine! ];-)

    Though it took a while — she has to grow on you, I think.

    Since “One Night in Bangkok” became quite popular on the radio, a different singer would sound as peculiar as Barry Manilow singing “Memories” from Cats. He did. It was.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  9. Hey! I like the oriental Eponine!

    My apologies for the confusion — what I was trying to say is that I like the Japanese Eponine, too. She’s the ONLY thing I like better about the London three-disc album of Les Mis. 🙂

    On Chess — it’s not just that I’ve heard “One Night in Bangkok” many times on the radio. I’ve listened many many times to that set of CDs, so all of the songs are quite familiar to me. But hearing someone else sing the part of the Russian is not nearly so jarring. Murray Head has a very distinctive voice and singing style, and it really suits the part of the American. Anyone else sounds wrong singing any of the American’s lines.

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