The Phantom of the Opera [SARAH BRIGHTMAN] (1/11/86) #7 UK
All I Ask of You [SARAH BRIGHTMAN/ STEVE HARLEY] (10/4/86) #7 UK
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again [SARAH BRIGHTMAN] (1/10/87) #7 UK
The soundtrack also adds the brand new “Learn to Be Lonely,” performed by Minnie Driver. A special edition soundtrack is a double-disc version including film dialogue.
The Phantom of the Opera cast album/ soundtrack
Andrew Lloyd Webber/ Charles Hart/ Richard Stilgoe (writers)
The Phantom of the Opera was originally a 1911 gothic mystery novel by French novelist Gaston Leroux. Ken Hill did a musical version of the book in 1976; ten years later it was adapted again. “The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Charles Hart and…Richard Stilgoe, directed by Hal Prince, choreographed by Gillian Lynne, lighting by Andrew Bridge and designed by Maria Bjornson. The musical focuses on a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius known as ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, who terrorizes the Paris Opera House.” WK
Webber originally “approached Jim Steinman to write the lyrics because of his ‘dark obsessive side’, but the writer/ producer declined in order to fulfil his commitments on a Bonnie Tyler album. The pair did eventually collaborate on Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation of Whistle Down the Wind.” WK
“Alan Jay Lerner was then recruited, but died soon after beginning the project, and none of his contributions remained in the show. Richard Stilgoe, who also wrote the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, then wrote lyrics for the production. However, the composer felt that Stilgoe’s lyrics were too witty and clever, rather than romantic. Charles Hart was invited to rewrite the lyrics. Some of Stilgoe’s original contributions are still present in the final version.” WK
“The Phantom of the Opera opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on October 9, 1986, where it celebrated its 9,000th performance on 31 May 2008. The original cast included Michael Crawford as the titular character, Sarah Brightman as Christine, and Steve Barton as Raoul. It is now the second-longest-running West End musical of all time, behind Les Miserables.” WK
“The musical opened… in New York in January 1988,” WR becoming “the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, breaking the record held by Lloyd Webber’s Cats on January 9, 2006, with its 7,486th performance. The musical won both the Olivier Award and Tony Award as the best musical in its debut years on the West End and Broadway.” WK
“According to the musical’s website, it has been seen in 124 cities in 25 countries and played to over 100 million people…Phantom is the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time. The New York production alone has grossed US $600 million, making it the most financially successful Broadway show in history. In a sign of its continuing popularity, Phantom ranked second in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the ‘Nation’s Number One Essential Musicals.’” WK
“Because the same starring performers, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, moved from the West End to Broadway, there was no original Broadway cast recording, the original London cast album serving to represent both stagings. In line with the success of the show, that album, a double-disc set, was also a hit, selling four million copies in the U.S. alone by 1996.” WR “The two-disc set comes with a booklet that has not only the lyrics, but also the dialog and stage directions. Sarah Brightman appears as Christine Daae (the heroine) and Michael Crawford as the Phantom.” TH “A one-disc ‘highlights’ version” TH sold another four million copies.
“Although there was also an original Canadian cast album (not to mention foreign language versions from such countries as Japan and Austria), the movie soundtrack represents the first major re-recording of the score since 1986. Again, Lloyd Webber has opted to issue it in two versions, but this time, the 63-minute single CD is considered the standard release, with the double-disc set billed as the ‘special edition’ version. Even fans of the show and the film may want to stick with the shorter one, however. The two-hour special edition is that rarity, a soundtrack album that actually contains the complete, unedited film soundtrack, including dialogue, incidental background music, and sound effects. This, of course, makes it something of an odd listening experience, especially because there doesn’t seem to be any reason why some dialogue is spoken and some is rendered in singsong recitative. Lloyd Webber has written some extra background music here and there, as well as one new song, and that’s an oddity, too. Minnie Driver, who plays the prima donna Carlotta, had her singing dubbed by Margaret Preece, but she turns up at the end and, over the closing credits, sings Learn to Be Lonely, an irrelevant and musically out-of-place song clearly composed just to have a new tune that would be Academy Award-eligible. The film’s other singers are adequate but no competition to Crawford, Brightman, and their colleagues, and the initial recording remains the one to buy.” WR