I recently saw Russell Watson live and he performed this song. Although I enjoyed his rendition of it, I found myself comparing it to this version. I saw Les Mis when it first opened and I had the original cast recording on a cassette tape which has long since self destructed.
I needed to remind myself of this version to see if my memory was playing tricks.
This man's voice is so pure and controlled and I really do think his is the best version of this beautifully haunting song.
I'd rate his voice and that of Peter Karrie as the Phantom of the Opera as two of the best masters of controlled and beautiful vocals ever.