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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic soundtrack and fascinating DVD
This soundtrack grows on me everytime I hear it, and it is fast becoming a favourite.

The varying music styles enhance the story being told - particularly those that evoke vaudeville and the turn of the century. The intriguing tune of "Beautiful" isn't beautiful in the melodious sense of the world, but its very difference in the notes chosen make it beautiful...
Published on 7 Mar 2010 by C. D. Meetens

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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well, can it live to the expectations? SPOILERS (kind of)
I saw the first ever public performance of the show (lucky me, but not for others, the first one was canceled, mine turned out to be THE first one)How to start addressing this show...with tact:

Let me start by saying that the story is not as strong as the original, none of the Gothic gore implied by The Phantom, this is a more human one. The phantom is not...
Published on 8 Mar 2010 by Antonio Acuna


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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic soundtrack and fascinating DVD, 7 Mar 2010
By 
C. D. Meetens "cdmeetens" (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This soundtrack grows on me everytime I hear it, and it is fast becoming a favourite.

The varying music styles enhance the story being told - particularly those that evoke vaudeville and the turn of the century. The intriguing tune of "Beautiful" isn't beautiful in the melodious sense of the world, but its very difference in the notes chosen make it beautiful in a strange and haunting way. The lovely harmonies and polite social graces covering up the truthful undertones of "Dear Old Friend" give at once an amusing and hummable song. "'Til I Hear You Sing" is an amazing ballad, and sung with such strength and emotion by Ramin Karimloo. My absolute favourite song on this album is the rock-opera style "The Beauty Underneath". The Phantom's entrance (not for the audience, but for Christine) is punctuated by the strong melody of "Beneath a Moonless Sky", which pervades the entire score. The "Coney Island Waltz" makes me think of carousels at old fairgrounds, but gradually changes to something more sinister, reminding us of who is behind Coney Island in "Love Never Dies".

While there are links to the original "The Phantom of the Opera", "Love Never Dies" can and does stand on its own.

There have been varying opinions on the soundtrack (and on the show), but I think it is like a lot of great music - music that endures - in that it is not always the first listen that traps you, but rather its ability to steal into your soul without you realising its growing effect. As someone who is fast getting hooked, I can't praise this soundtrack high enough.

The DVD includes interviews with Sierra Bogess (Christine), Ramin Karimloo (The Phantom), and Summer Strallen (Meg) for the cast, along with the director, lyricist, the creative team, and, naturally, Andrew Lloyd Webber. There are some fascinating moments, particularly those when you're taken behind the scenes to see the set taking shape.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific music, emotional and exciting lyrics, beautiful booklet and documentary, 11 Mar 2010
I was going to see the show on the first preview on 20th February but sadly it was cancelled because of technical difficulties. So I quickly ordered more tickets and then went on 5th March. I ordered this last Friday (5th March) and it turned up yesterday. I've listened to it five times already and now as I type the sixth.
In each time I've listened to it I hear something new just like what another reviewer said.

I love the music because it's just fits perfectly in the time when it's based - the early 1900s. One of my favourite songs is "'Till I Hear you Sing". It is very powerful and emotional and I feel like I'm going to cry whenever I listen to it. The reason of this is because of the performance by Ramin Karimloo who in my opinion is an absolutly brilliant Phantom. Another is "Beautiful" while my favourite (like other people I have read) is "The Beauty Underneath" because it has the most unique piece of music in the show and it reminds me of the rock-opera style from the first show and I thought that this song was the "Phantom of the Opera" song but for this show. My favourite non-lyric instrumental like piece is "The Coney Island Waltz", like other reviews have said (not just on here) it has reminded them of 'old fairgrounds' and then moves onto something else and I can feel the love and hatred the characters have to Coney Island and it's overall mastermind.

One of my favourite things about this show is how the show isn't a direct sequel. It's a sequel yes but like Andrew Lloyd Webber said it's a stand alone story but with links to the original like the characters and a few pieces of music. Another of my favourite things about this show/CD is how it's more or less the entire show on 2 discs (but you can listen to it in one go if you import it onto your computer). The documentary is really interesting. It gives loads of information and I was sad when it came to and end just like when I watched the show, I wanted it to go on because it was so interesting. I myself have worked in the theatre before on shows so I kenw mostly all the stuff they showed on it but I was suprised when I discovered there was more.

So, my conclusion is that this show is a really good and terrific show and so is it's soundtrack. Some people may hate it but in my opinion that's because they either can't accept the fact that theres a Phantom sequel or just because they were wishing for it to be better than the original and have the same magical touch. In my opinion it is on the same level of the original but doens't have the same magical touch, it has it's own and that is what sequels need - their own magic.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?, 7 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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A long cherished ambition realized - Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to his 1986 "The Phantom of the Opera". Imagine the critics eagerly sharpening their knives. How could this hope to match the worldwide record breaking popularity of the original! What folly to try!

Actually the new show manages very well the transition - although there is a major shock for those who remember the closing moments of the film.

Ten years have passed. Painfully aware he remains not the main love of wife Christine's life, Raoul has taken to gambling and drink. To pay off his debts, Christine accepts an engagement at America's Coney Island - oblivious that the Phantom is again pulling strings. He had been smuggled there from the opera house by Madame Giry and her daughter Meg. Still besotted, he is determined to reunite. The stage is thus set for the love triangle's new phase, ten year old son Gustave the new ingredient. (Yes, ten years old. Think for a moment. Consider implications.)

No more candles and gaslight. Now a world of electricity and razzmatazz, Coney Island very much the place to be - playground of rich and poor alike, freaks abounding so the Phantom has no reason to hide. Andrew Lloyd Webber makes the most of the opportunities to recreate the atmosphere and excitement of this bright new age, whilst indulging in another lush romantic wallow. Highlights are many - including The Coney Island Waltz, Look With Your Heart, The Beauty Underneath, the pulsating Devil Take the Hindmost. All need to be eclipsed, though, by the show's title number that comes near its close - the mere singing of which will alter for ever the lives of the six main characters. That song needs to deliver. It does.

"Phantom" devotees may be disappointed, especially by the darkening of Raoul's character. Rejoice, however, in all the strengths - the score itself, the powerful and moving performances by Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess as the Phantom and Christine. Charlie Manton as young Gustave also deserves special mention.

The de-luxe edition includes a 40 minute DVD interestingly tracing development of the show's concept and showing its preparations for the stage.

Simply be aware "The Phantom" it is not. Do not expect another chandelier to fall. Judge it on its own merits and enjoy yet another addition to your Andrew Lloyd Webber collection. The well has not run dry by any means.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantamastogical, 8 Mar 2010
By 
G. Lines "it's a fine life" (England) - See all my reviews
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Love Never Dies aka Phantom of the Opera 2 is now out and having pre ordered it in october last year,i eagerly awaited the release of the latest offering from Andrew Lloyd Webber.

And since it arrived this morning i have not stopped listening each and every track is a gem and the music proves Andrew can still write the best musicals around.

Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom is vocally outstanding as is Sierra Boggess as Christine, the score and lyrics are equally as good as Phantom of the opera.

Also featured on the CD is Summer Strallen as Meg Giry and fellow reality tv show star Niamh Perry in a minor role. For musical lovers anywhere this is a must.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well, can it live to the expectations? SPOILERS (kind of), 8 Mar 2010
By 
I saw the first ever public performance of the show (lucky me, but not for others, the first one was canceled, mine turned out to be THE first one)How to start addressing this show...with tact:

Let me start by saying that the story is not as strong as the original, none of the Gothic gore implied by The Phantom, this is a more human one. The phantom is not below anymore, but towers above, in a penthouse overlooking Coney Island. He can now 'walk amongst man' another freak in a permanent freak show. Hence, the phantom we meet here is less mysterious, his torment more complex, not just obsession, but vulnerability. The story falters at times, I must admit it, yet the show is beautifully done and manages to move you and close the chapter.

The music

1. Prologue
2. The Coney Island Waltz
3. That's the place that you ruined, you fool!

---A terrible opening for a show, akin to the dreadful opening to the woman in white (a show that should not have existed and has been mercifully musically remade into Love never dies). The saving grace is the Waltz and its marvelous projections (on the show) a lovely piece, truly pure Webber. That's the place you ruined, fool and prologue could go amiss and no one will notice.

4. Heaven By The Sea
---- nice song, a touch out of place with the darker more romantic music, but attempting to capture the banality and lightheartedness of the time and the society in NY at the time. It serves its purpose, the core musical theme being lifted mainly from a repetitive melodic phrase used to death in woman in white, still, nice.

5. Only For Him / Only For You
-----A nice song with a less forthcoming orchestration, lovely melodic tilt, intended to show Meg's love for the Phantom. It appears Webber tried to make a clear distinction between the deep love the phantom has for Christine with the 'cheap' and brassy tolerance he shows Meg, one (Christine's) is for sustenance, the other (Meg) is for survival. I like this song, maybe the distinction marked by the styles is rather too wide, making it two dimensional and one sided (leaning towards Christine)It achieves that.

6. The Aerie
----A lovely, haunting, beautiful instrumental, right from the bowels of the Phantom of the opera. Thick, serene, moving

7. Til I Hear You Sing
---Now we are talking, this is a magnificent song, a true descendant from the original Phantom. A pure display of the best Lloyd Webber can produce. Ramin is absolutely brilliant in it, This song makes the whole show worth it, really.

8. Giry Confronts The Phantom / 'Til I Hear You Sing
---A nice excuse for listening to Ramin again. Giry's bit is typical of the sung through melodic style in Phantom. Very well done by Giry.

9. Christine Disembarks
---mostly spoken, snippets of melodies in the background, mainly themes that will develop later

10. Arrival Of The Trio / Are You Ready To Begin?
I don't care for the three new characters..the Phantom's henchman. Their a-melodic and tense musical themes grind me, not good voices, neither great lyrics, they just add to the oddness that is the phantom, but are never developed enough to matter or to add any depth to the phantom, They are cliches that fill in space. I wish a judge would give Webber a court restraining order so he cannot get near electric guitars, he seems to think that by using them he is 'edgy', wrong! Lovely melodic bit at the end for Gustav, again, lots from woman in white.

11. What A Dreadful Town!...
---I like this song. A lovely string punctuation quite different from Webber's style. Mature, efficient.

12. Look With Your Heart
---Beautiful waltz, sweet, with surprising melodic changes that slide into one another. Fresh and tender.

13. Beneath A Moonless Sky
--This is the heavy bit! the first few notes and chords are straight from the beginning of the song 'the phantom of the opera', as the phantom enters the room of Christine and sees her for the first time in ten years. Although the refrain in this song will remind you of the cell block tango from Chicago (I mean it)it is a powerful, beautiful ballad (kind of a tango as well) here we get the whole story of what happened in the last ten years, a bit of a rush, but such a powerful song, the phantom has entered the room...really a triumph

14. Once Upon Another Time
---Less of a song than above, but still sweet and lovely with a great melodic surge, dense with meaning and very much an aria in the opera style.

15. "Mother Please, I'm Scared!"
--Incidental stuff, the phantom meets Gustav...we get the electric guitar...bearable...it works, just enough, the right balance.
16. Dear Old Friend
---Great song a la notes in Phantom. cleverly worded, with touches of the original show and to great effect. It does have the same rhythmic style as Prima Donna , and the scene calls for it, as Meg is a Prima Donna in her work at Coney and Christine is a Prima Donna in her own right, with the trick from notes of shifting between conversations.
17. Beautiful
---Haunting, sweet melody for Gustav.
18. The Beauty Underneath
---Loved by some, hated by almost every single soul that saw the show when I saw it. Too much guitar, too far off the musical style for the show, too modern. Honestly, I hated at the moment. One can imagine Elton John playing a set with AC/DC...it has its moments and many will like it...I found it a low point in the show, uncomfortable.
19. The Phantom Confronts Christine
---Nice, a mix of themes previously heard

Disc 2

1. Entr'acte
---Just that, but I love it.
2. Why Does She Love Me?
--A brooding song, quite different from the Webber stock, although in the same vein as his musical foundation for Sunset. Really nice and very well performed.
3. Devil Take The Hindmost
---Brilliant, brilliant...all I can say is 'Javert and Valjean's dialogue at Fantine's deathbed'...as powerful and as sublime.
4. Heaven By The Sea (Reprise)
---well..it is there...this being a not so great song and rather flat in its texture, i would have preferred another song to fill this slot instead of a rehash , almost feels as if Webber did not have enough time to come up with much musical vartiety and stuck to a couple of musical themes.
5. Ladies...Gents! / The Coney Island Waltz (Reprise)
---More of the same...I must admit I was bored by this point in the plot....
6. Bathing Beauty
---cute, very much a Webber song, catchy.
7. "Mother, Did You Watch?"
---Incidental, no new musical themes, just the same: mix and match. Still effective.
8. Before The Performance
Lovely, if because of the reprise of till I hear you sing. No new musical themes, again, reprises put together.
9. Devil Take The Hindmost
---A reprise but with a lot of pressure in it, a critical point in the plot, quite effective, really nice.
10. Love Never Dies
---This one is not new to us, heard it in the beautiful game and heard it by dame Kiri, yet it works well here, after all it was conceived years ago for this show. Sierra B has a wonderful voice, but the high notes are a push in her range, we can still say it is a breathless performance, a thousand times better than Katerine Jenkins and her catastrophic attempt at this song.
11. "Ah, Christine!..."
---more of the same,nice mix of earlier themes
12. "Gustave! Gustave!..."
---As above, more incidental music and earlier musical themes intertwined.
13. "Please Miss Giry, I want to go back..."
---climatic yet melodic-less ending. The final musical theme reprises the aeria and remind me of the very ending of Superstar, John Nineteen Forty-One. Maybe too weak for an ending (for this show)

So, do I like it? yes, overall a great musical that deserves many years on stage. I wish it had more original numbers and less reprises and that it did not have 'the beauty underneath' but hey, overall, a different show, this is not the phantom times 2, this is its own original show, with it's own personality. This show contains some of Webber's best ballads and melodies. Does it copy from his previous musical stock? yes, there is lots of Aspects of love, Woman in white and some Whistle down the wind...is it bad? well if we assume absolute originality as the definition of creativity, Sondheim has not been creative since Company, so there....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER DARES AND COMES UP WITH A WORTHY FOLLOW-UP, 21 Mar 2010
When in spring 2007 Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that his next musical will be a follow-up to his most successful work, `The Phantom of the Opera', many eyebrows were knitted and almost instantly many online theatrical forums were swarmed with bashing and hostile comments, continuing well until today. Yet the composer took this project quite seriously and took his time, carefully recording and re-orchestrating the cast recording that we have in front of us today. By and large, the finished work presents itself as a worthy sequel to the 1986 smash musical hit.

The plot has moved from the candle-illuminated Paris opera house ten years forward to 1907 and takes place at Coney Island, USA, famous for its fairground rides, resort beaches and freak shows in late 19th and early 20th century. This setting enabled ALW to mark his newest score with the stamp of that particular time. The principal characters of the first show (The Phantom, Christine, Raoul, now her husband, Madame Giry and her daughter Meg, with one addition, that of a 10-year old Gustave, their son) are all back and their fates are interwoven once again. Some choices have yet again to be made and some revelations from the past come to light. Most of the characters show different traits this time around and The Phantom is now living comfortably on the surface as a human rather than mysteriously below things as it was in the first show, feeling free `to walk among men', as one of the show lyrics puts it.

ALW composed a rich and diverse score for his latest work and it has all been recorded on this double CD. The setting has allowed him to compose in different fashions, from lushly orchestrated waltzes and classical ballads to ragtime, vaudeville and even progressive rock, the last one once again having the signature of the main male character. As this cast recording shows, the whole score is wonderfully orchestrated by ALW and his long-time associate David Cullen. My personal highlights include `The Coney Island Waltz' (the opening number), several soaring ballads (`Till I Hear You Sing'; `Beneath the Moonless Sky'; `Once Upon Another Time', the beautifully operatic `Love Never Dies'), a tour de force rock number `The Beauty Underneath' and delicate lyrical pieces such as `Beautiful' or Raoul's pondering of his relationship with Christine `Why does she love me?' The latter has a lovely delicate and discreet saxophone accompaniment just on the edges of the song. One should mention that only several music passages are quoted from the first show, them being in connection with similar choices the characters have again to make. There are also several very melodic ensemble numbers that achieve vocal harmony, such as `Dear Old Friend' and `Devil Takes the Hindmost'. In the end, the score comes across as the best ALW has composed in recent years.

The lyrics by Glenn Slater tell the main plot with basic simplicity, which is enough, despite the fact some might yearn for craftsmanship of Tim Rice.

The leads give one good performance. Ramin Karimloo, who played the main character in London for more than two years, is a powerful Phantom, boasting his vocal skills in the variety of songs this score presents. He has an equal partner in Sierra Boggess, Las Vegas's Christine of the first show, whose passion is best evident in her rendition of the title song. The supporting cast are also good in their roles: Joseph Millson's Raoul gives a touching performance in `Why Does She Love Me?, plus we have Summer Strallen playing Meg Giry and Sally Dexter, one of Britain's diverse actresses of stage and screen giving a voice to Madame Giry. A particular praise goes to young Charlie Manson however, whose angelic voice shines as he brings to life the young boy Gustave.

This deluxe cast recording comes with 2 CDs capturing the whole score and a special DVD that shows the development process and features interviews with ALW, Glenn Slater, director Jack O'Brien, the cast and the rest of the production team. It also shows footage from the London press launch in October last year. The recording includes a booklet with photos of those involved in the project, a note from the composer and a full libretto, the latter always coming in handy for the first listen.

To sum it up, `Love Never Dies' presents a commendable sequel to `The Phantom of the Opera' and reunites us once again with the characters so many people became accustomed with during many years `The Phantom of the Opera' has been playing on both sides of the pond.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantastic!, 9 Mar 2010
By 
David Jones "DGJBEAR" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love Never Dies [2 CD] (Audio CD)
Well I came to this with little anticipation. Some of the reviews of trhe previews were not great and I was never a huge fan of the original Phantom show or score. But I have to say that this is great. It is very clever at subtly developing themes from the original but not using the obvious melodies. The singing is superb and orchestrations lush. There does seem to be a negative groundswell of people pre-empting the opening tonight in London - my advice is to rid yourself of these thoughts and just listen with an open mind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entrancing Music, 17 Mar 2010
By 
I was lucky enough to see the show in preview. I thought it was wonderful and couldn't wait to get home and order the music from the show.
It is haunting and addictive is all I can say, thoroughly recommended. Go and see the show too!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars astounding, 9 Mar 2010
This review is from: Love Never Dies [2 CD] (Audio CD)
I saw this at the Adelphi last night (8/3/10), 3 years to the day since my first ever viewing of Phantom of the Opera. As a sequel, I was half excited, half-worried, as I didn't want the magic of the original to be ruined, but Lloyd-Webber has done an amazing job. The music is spectacular, and the ending is truly beautiful. Christine's voice in this is a little shrill for my liking, but Ramin Karimloo as the phantom gives a truly stunning vocal.

I will say though, don't buy if you're planning on seeing she show and don't want spoilers: the lyrics spell it all out. Wait until you've seen it.

Best tracks: Till I Hear You Sing, Beneath a Moonless Sky, The Beauty Underneath, Devil Take the Hindmost
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb music, 18 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Love Never Dies [2 CD] (Audio CD)
This is the CD of the original before they changed the order of songs ... however all the important tunes are there and get better and better the more you listen. It's actually a stunning score and hugely under-rated.
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