Thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s YouTube channel, The Shows Must Go On!, we were able to watch the 25th Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera held at the Royal Albert Hall. Sadly, as of this writing, it’s no longer available since the shows are just up for 48 hours.
The Phantom of the Opera has been my all-time favorite musicals of all time. It was around ’98 or ’99, when I used to work at San Francisco, CA when my friends and I watched an amazing matinee showing of Phantom. Since then I’ve been wanting to attend another show. Sadly, we missed the one here at Auckland. So watching this is the next best thing for now, especially during this lockdown, until we get a chance to watch another live presentation.
When I was younger, even before knowing about this musical, I’ve always liked Barbra Streisand’s rendition of All I Ask of You everytime I heard it on the radio. There is a haunting quality to that song. I never knew then that that song is from Phantom.
That’s the beauty of Webber’s musicals — they have the power to get into your consciousness. Even if one is not familiar with the musical, he will still know the songs from the musical since most of them have become a part of popular music.
Case in point, the aforementioned All I Ask of You and Memory (from Cats) by Streisand as well. Songs from the musical Starlight Express comes to mind, with the title track becoming a pop song as well as Make Up My Heart and Only You. Same with the musical Evita, Don’t Cry for me Argentina was a radio staple as well as You Don’t Love Me as popularised by Madonna from the movie version.
Now back to the 25th Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera. Watching a recorded musical is far more superior than watching the movie version. And this live performance of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall surely did not disappoint. From the opening sets up to the closing song, everything is top caliber. The performances of Ramin Karimloo (Phantom) and Sierra Boggess (Christine) are superb! Not a few times, we were wanting to stand up in ovation.
After the main show, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber got out to a huge applause from the audience. We even got a bonus performance from Sarah Brightman plus four others who’ve been a Phantom in one time or another. Sadly, Michael Crawford was unable to sing since he just came off a matinee performance of another musical and was saving his voice for the evening performance of that musical.
I would easily watch this again. I might buy the blu-ray. In the meantime, I would just listen to my Phantom soundtrack on CD. Or on Spotify, that will do too.
Before I go, here’s Sierra Boggess as Christine, singing Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. Enjoy!