18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Spiritualy rewarding music for real fan(tom)'s, 13 May 2003
The musical re-construction of Pierre Leroux's origional horror story is a masterful tribute to the great authors most famed work that will be well recieved by fans of the book and those new to the tale alike. Andrew Lloyd Webers operatic creation remains unparalled where lyrics and music are concerned, not merely in terms of sheer innovative genius, but also in the perfect performance of his cast. Michael Crawford plays the Phantom with an enthusiasm previoulsy unsseen in the role, bringing the monsterous character that is Erik across in such a manner as to invoke equal amounts of sympathy as hatred for the murderous ghost of the opera house, very much like how the creature was presented in the novel. Sarah Brightman's performance as Christine is that of an angel of music and whoever cast Steve Barton as the Viscound deChagny deserves a standing ovation.
The story concerns the character of Erik, who after suffering a terrible isolation beneath the opera house due to his monsterous appearance falls in love with the beautiful soprano Christine Daae. However, he is not the only one to have been ensnared by the singers beauty and voice, and her childhood friend Raoul deChagny completes the complex love triangle between the three major characters. While the Viscount is clearly the better looking and least unhinged of the two, he is evidently not as willing to kill those who get in the way of his love as his unworldly counterpart. While the story vaguely follows the smae lines as the novel, it has been seriously altered in certain aspects but this is in no way a bad thing. While a few unforgetable moments have had to have been left out of the finished cut (like the Phantoms attempt to drown the Persian Dagora in the underground lake) it' well worth the sacrifice when they're replaced by songs like 'The Point of No Return'.
The double disc package comes with a handy pocket sized booklet containing the entire score for the show as well as the numerous story elements that are not included on this two disc set. While its nowhere near as good as reading the book (which is a mere three quid from the Penguin Classics Collection) it will provide enough coverage of the plot to follow whats going on in between the songs.
All in all, a brilliant composition, digitially remastered to boot. Missing out on an oppurtunity to hear this masterpiece is folly akin to trimming your beard with a lawnmower. Dont make that mistake.