Having never seen the broadway version I can't really compare the two, but this is the soundtrack I grew up with and loved. Something other reviewers have mentioned that I agree with is how each of the actors and actresses in this production can not only sing (and sing well in my opinion!), but actually act with the subtle changes in their voices, something Lloyd Webber seems uniquely skilled at writing music for. This version of the soundtrack is my favorite because it's basically like they captured the entire film on two discs; there's even snippets of dialogue in here! It helps it transition smoothly from one track to the next. I thought the pick of Gerard Butler for phantom was spectacularly cast: especially with how raw and savage his vocal transformation is in key emotional scenes. Honestly, all the casting for this was great! Emmy Rossum's sweet and earnest voice captures young Christine so well.
Don't even bother with the single disc version. This is the superior of...
This film version of Phantom is a guilty pleasure, and I can't help but enjoy the soundtrack greatly, it like the movie itself is full of over the top grandeur—no matter what flaws exist, I give it a top rating. The extended soundtrack is far better than the single-disc version hands down. Some will complain the singing isn't quite up to par, but for what it is, it's great. I feel like Christine's range is strained at the higher notes and our dear Opera Ghost has some occasional intonation issues. However, our Raoul is spot-on, as well as the rest of the cast. Despite any issues, the overall package is wonderful and shouldn't be compared to the play as much as letting it stand as its own entity. Taking it in that context combined with the expertly-devised visuals of the film, I think it achieved what it wanted to. It's Phantom of the Opera! Being over the top is what makes it epic. It doesn't have to be perfectly-executed to be great! :)
This recording does not rival the extraordinary original cast recordng or even the equally great 25th Anniversary recording at Royal Albert Hall, but is a must have for movie fans. I will admit I am one who was introduced to this musical through the moive and this very recording. After seeing the show live I realize that some of the negative comments in regard to the film are true, but in some ways a film should not be comapred to the thrill of live theater. The voices are decent and for those who are fans of the film I highly reccomend it.
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