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Darin De Paul,
In 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera arrived on the West End stage at Her Majesty's Theatre. Fast forward 25 years and Phantom has achieved global success, millions of viewers, a film adaptation in 2004 and a musical sequel. Now viewers have the chance to experience this phenomenal show right from their own screens. Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall, this stunning performance brings the show to a bigger stage and celebrates its role as one of the biggest shows in theatre history, with speeches, performances and appearances by the original cast and some of the show's most notable Phantoms, including John Owen-Jones and Colm Wilkinson. Starring Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, Phantom tells the story of a deformed musical genius who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House. Shunned by society, the Phantom seeks revenge in cruel and often violent acts. The Phantom is in love with chorus girl Christine Daaé and has been secretly training her to replace La ... Written by
The concert featured parts which would be used in the 25th Anniversary UK Tour of Phantom of the Opera, including the new chandelier, no appearance of the mirror bride in "Music of the Night" and Christine's masquerade dress not having puffy sleeves. See more »
Ramin Karimloo's tattoo (on his wrist) is visible in one of the close-ups during "Music of the Night". See more »
Have you gorged yourself at last in your lust for blood? Am I now to be prey to your lust for revenge?
This face which condemns me to wallow in blood has also denied me the joys of the flesh. This face the infection which poisons our love. This face which earned a mother's fear and loathing. A mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing. Pity comes too late! Turn around and face your fate! An eternity of *this* before your eyes.
This haunted face holds no horror for me...
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Finally a full staging of my favourite musical and the second longest running one in the U.K is here for the first time on DVD. This live production filmed straight from the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, which was broadcasted to cinemas and theatres around the world and celebrates 25 years of the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical, is nothing short of a lavish treat for the eyes and ears, with amazing performances and acting from the cast, including all the songs that fans of the show will know and remember.
The 25th Anniversary production stars the amazingly talented Iranian born Canadian Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom and American Broadway star Sierra Boggess as Christine Daae, with a great supporting performance from Hadley Fraser as Christine's love interest Raoul. Karimloo and Boggess incidentally are no strangers to the characters, having played them previously in the London production of the sequel to this show 'Love Never Dies'. Their chemistry on stage is perfect as are their performances.
Ramin is terrific as the Phantom and injects emotion and passion into the show playing the phantom as essentially a victim, with a voice that at times can be vengeful and deadly, yet soft and vulnerable at others. His delivery of the 'insolent boy' line near the beginning strikes fear right around the Albert Hall. I would even go as far to say that he is the best Phantom that I've watched so far, having previously experienced others on stage live and unfortunately the terrible 2004 movie version starring Gerard Butler. His acting is great without being over the top, and you really feel for the character. Sierra Bogges is also amazing displaying sensitivity, vulnerability and sexuality all throughout the show. Her performance of 'past of the point no return' being a particular highlight. The two leads work very well together and make the show believable.
There are also good supporting performances too. Hadley Fraser's Raoul is dynamic and energetic without becoming too irritating and makes quite a good match against the Phantom in the battle for Christine's heart. Wendy Ferguson and Wynne (Go Compare) Evans are very funny as the diva Carlotta and Piangi, the two Italian opera supremos who are the subjects of Phantom's rage and eventually driven to obedience. Equally as funny and memorable are the opera house managers Firmin and Andre, played brilliantly by Barry James and Gareth Snook, who camp it up and provide some additional comedy.
The staging and scenery is spectacular, with the doomed chandelier hanging above the audience and the on stage sets, especially the bridge leading to the Phantom's lair, featuring prominently. Due to the venue they had to make a very slight change to the chandelier scene at the end of the first part of the show, but it isn't a big deal and still has a great impact in my opinion.
The show is pretty much identical to that of the theatre version that one may see in London's West End or anywhere else it may be on. Some lines were changed ever so slightly but nothing noticeable or significant. The performances throughout will leave you astounded and definitely not disappointed. In fact there are simply no scenes or performances that can be criticised. If you are a fan of the show you will love this and not be disappointed.
As in usual 'anniversary style', like the Les Miserables 25th concert, they bring back all the old Phantom's and stars who have performed over the years in various productions. Including Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Andrew Lloyd-Webber also makes a speech about the show and it's legacy.
So now finally you can watch the show like you were in the theatre itself whenever you want. One advantage this production has over seeing it live is that you get to see all the facial expressions and emotions up close, thereby really getting a feel for the show almost like a movie in some parts (but definitely much better than the actual movie).
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