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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2011
On Blu Ray this makes a brilliant visual and auditory record of one of the best musicals ever made, for a fraction of the price of a seat. It is certainly a must-buy for any fan. In terms of the ability to get close to characters and see the detail of make-up, costumes and in clarity of audio, this exceeds any theatrical performance. The scale of set, orchestra and cast magnifies set pieces such as the opening or 'Masquerade'. Spine-tingling.

However, as Andrew Lloyd Webber himself points out, the success of a musical depends on many elements. Be aware that many of Phantom's signature staging effects are absent here, presumably due to limitations at the Royal Albert Hall. I was really disappointed, as the compromises led to something weaker and off-brand. The Phantom's appearance and drawing Christine into the mirror is handled more crudely through video projection and a sliding screen. The gangway does not tip from side to side, so less effectively illustrating the descent in to the Labyrinth. If you didn't know the show you could be mistaken for thinking the Phantom is lost, the way he wanders up and down! Saddest of all, the chandelier neither rises nor falls, though there are some nice pyrotechnic effects and moving camera work to disguise.

Lastly, I felt the Blu Ray missed a trick in not giving just a little more taste of the atmosphere of being at a live performance in the Albert Hall. The superb orchestra and the scale of the audience are rarely seen. Camera work is often so tightly focussed on individuals in the first half that some of the spectacle of the larger stage is lost and I was screaming for them to pull back and show me more. In the second half this worked better given the emotional interplay between the Phantom and Christine.

Overall still a fantastic experience, but disheartening given this will in years to come be regarded as the definitive recording of the show, and it fails to capture a few of the aspects that made it so magical on the stage.
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133 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2011
I was sat in the audience during the recording of this show on the Sunday night and it was undoubtably the BEST show I've ever experienced. The Albert Hall looked stunning inside and out with a Phantom 25th flag hanging from the building and posters above the doors. Cameron Mackintosh's production was Phantastic, giving the Albert Hall a wonderful theatre feel to it. The chandelier hanging from the ceiling was the same Swarovski chandelier used in the Phantom film, which was very beautiful and added to the grand scale of the evening. The show it's self was spectacular. With a cast and orchestra of over 200, they were all faultless. Sierra Boggess plays Christine better than I've seen anyone else in this role, her acting and singing are absolutely entrancing. The Phantom is played by the force of nature that is Ramin Karimloo. Words do not do this man justice, the sheer power of his voice was enough to blow you out your seat. But his voice is not all about power, he is also very controlled and subtle. This man IS the Phantom, but sadly this was his last ever performance in this role but I'm sure he will go on to more great roles. Ramin and Sierra have amazing chemistry together as they also played the Phantom and Christine together in Love Never Dies which has now sadly closed in London. There were some amazing special guests at the end of the performance, who include, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Owen Jones, Colm Wilkinson and many more. One last thing I hope they include is right at the very end (it may have been after the camera's were switched off, but I hope not) Michael Crawford made Ramin go back out for one final cheer. Then Sierra joined Ramin and he picked her up and walked off stage. BEST SHOW EVER!!! 10/10

EDIT: After watching the show back there are a couple of points to change in my review. It was actually Colm Wilkinson who made Ramin go out for a final cheer and the chandelier was custom made for the show, not the Swarovski one.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2011
I have just received this on Blu-Ray (Which also includes a copy of the DVD in case you haven't upgraded yet) and it is wonderful. This is not a concert like the Les Miserables 10th anniversary, but the fully-staged production in its entirety. Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess are enchanting as The Phantom and Christine and the rest of the cast excel in their roles in what is a beautifully staged and directed show. The designs are as gorgeous and sumptuous as they looked when the much-missed Maria Bjornson first designed them a quarter of a century ago. The lighting is atmospheric, the costumes and make-up sublime and the music as iconic, memorable and powerful as it has ever been.

To cap it off, after the curtain falls on the show, the legend that is Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber makes a speech that pays tribute to all those who have made the production a success over the last 25 years. He is joined by the original cast on stage, including Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, the latter of whom then performs with four of the actors to have portrayed The Phantom (Alas, not Michael Crawford but he joins in with everyone else on stage for the final line of 'Music of the Night'). There is only one Special Feature on the DVD version at least which is a documentary about the making of the Royal Albert Hall show and features interviews with the original choreographer and make-up designer. I've yet to check if the Blu-Ray disc itself includes any extra Special Features, but even if it doesn't this is still excellent value for money and a definite must-have for anyone who loves the show or musicals in general.

I personally feel that The Phantom of the Opera is the single greatest piece of entertainment of all time in any medium. This is a fitting tribute to a genuine phenomenon and one that I will treasure. It truly is a masterpiece and what happened in 1986 was genuine magic that has quite clearly endured and will continue to do so forever.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2011
This was never a fave show of mine, till i saw this production with this wonderful cast. Ramin, Sierra and Hadley are nothing short of sensational. Buy it now
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2011
This review is targetted more to those outside of Europe who may be interested in purchasing this. I live in the US and I just received my copy of "Phanton of the Oprea at Royal Albert Hall" by way of Amazon.com UK. Contrary to the info on this page the Blu-ray version is region free and will play on any machine regardless of location. Therefore anyone who wants can pick this up from Amazon.com UK without having to wait for the February 2012 release in the States. The DVD is region locked unfortunately. Rather than this page reading "Region B/2" it should actually read "Region free/2,4,5" (see my EDIT section below).

Now on to the review: The performances were excellent and the show in general was well filmed. There seemed to be a lot of chemistry between the two leads and they did not disappoint. I was only bothered by the use of the LCD screen in the stage background which I found distracting. It was definitely a five star viewing experience.

EDIT: I thought I would add a little more information on the region encodings of the DVD disc that is in this set. According to the ALW Really Useful Group website the DVD will play in region 2, 4, and 5. Regions 1 and 3 are out of luck. Since I have a Region 1 player I personally cannot play the DVD.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2011
I was highly anticipating the release of this CD/DVD and I was not dissapointed one little bit. To review the DVD specifically, it is just fantastic! The singing, the music, the atmosphere is just sublime! Ramin Karimloo IS the phantom, he does an amazing job and has the emotion and power in his voice that no other Phantom has. Sierra Boggess was also brilliant, as was Hadley Frasier as Raoul. The tweaks they made for the CD/DVD compared to the final performance night was good; for instance when the Phantom is attacking Christine and Raoul in the graveyard with the fireballs, sound effects have been added to make it much more dramatic, which works very well. This CD/DVD is amazing and everything a Phantom or musical fan could ever want!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2011
We have seen the stage show many times, we have seen the original video many times.
This 25th DVD edition is just amazing you can see all the facial expressions, and the details are absolutley fantastic.
I can recommened this dvd to everbody, whether you have seen the show or not.
"THIS DVD IS THE BEST"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2011
Following last year's spectacular anniversary presentation of Les Misérables at the O2, Cameron Mackintosh now performs the same feat at the Royal Albert Hall for The Phantom of the Opera.

This time, he and Andrew Lloyd Webber have elected to stage an entire theatrical performance. The venue is therefore sumptuously transformed to provide a magnificent proscenium with clever deployment of large video screens acting as curtains.

From its grand pyrotechnical opening to emotional finale, the show is brilliantly directed and performed. Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom is a force of nature; Sierra Boggess and Hadley Fraser provide great support as the other principal players. The ensemble incudes some 130 performers.

The best is saved until the end: as happened in the Les Misérables concert, the original cast is invited on stage. Sarah Brightman leads four Phantoms (including Colm Wilkinson and John Owen-Jones, who were members of the Valjean Quartet at the O2) in a thrilling rendition of the title song with each of them in turn imploring her to "Sing for me!" as it reaches its crescendo. Ramin Karimloo then joins them for "The Music of the Night".

The sole bonus feature, a 17-minute featurette entitled Getting Past the Point of No Return, gives some idea of the hard work that went on behind the scenes. In particular, Karimloo's make-up had to become more elaborate to withstand scrutiny by the HD cameras.

The picture, as you might expect, is stunning and the colours on the bright costumes really pop. The sound is DTS-HD 5.1 but ensure you select it from the menu first; otherwise it will default to 2.0 stereo. As far as I can tell, the disc is region-free and there are English SDH subtitles.

This Blu-ray represents the next best thing to being there and I thoroughly recommend it.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
On Sunday (2nd October 2011) my husband & I went to the Odeon cinema, Tunbridge Wells (the nearest participating theatre in our part of Kent) to see a "live" performance of The Phantom of the Opera. By "live" I mean that it was being broadcast simultaneously into theatres world-wide from the stage of The Royal Albert Hall, London. To my knowledge, this is the first time such a thing has been done (apart from sports events I mean.) But I'm very glad it did take place because, for the cost of a slightly more than usual cinema ticket, compared to that of over £200 a seat for the actual live performance, it suddenly made it accessible for everyone! And it was, without doubt, a fantastic performance - with the leads worthy of comparison to any of the big 'household' names in musicals out there. Having been a fan of 'Phantom' for years now, but never having been fortunate enough to see it live in the West End, I fell in love with the film of a few years ago (with Gerard Butler playing the Phantom and Emily Rossum taking on the role of Christine - both admirably.) I consequently wasn't expecting this version to equal the cinematic one - but it did - admitedly in a different way as stage is a much more restrictive medium than film, but this DVD has to be worth a viewing in order to see musical entertainment at its very best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2011
For under £9 where can you get a blu-ray/DVD musical that offers so much as this one? This anniversary version is certainly special. All the cast are fantastic and at the top of their game. The production is absolutely the best. After watching the Metropolitan Opera's 2010 Carmen earlier today I can tell you that everything about this Phantom far out strips a production by the Worlds biggest opera company. The costume budget for this Phantom must be more than the total budget for the Met Carmen.

Everyone compares the current version (whatever it is) to the original MichaelCrawford/Sarah Brightman version and I can say that this production lives up to the original London 1986 one. Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine are the equal to the originals. The best bit comes after the production is finished and Andrew Lloyd Webber comes onto the stage followed by the remaining members of the original London Cast, Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. We then have Sarah singing with 4 previous Phantoms with Karimloo joining in to make it five.

A fitting tribute to the finest musical of the past 30 years. And IMHO this version is much better than the film with Emmy Bossum and Gerard Butler.
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