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THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

The Music of the Night
The original cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera has sold over 40 million copies worldwide and is the biggest selling cast album of all time. It was the first cast album in British musical history to enter the charts at number one, and has since garnered gold and platinum status in both the UK and the United States. The stirring melodies and vibrant score have earned producer-composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his collaborators countless awards and acclaim.

"Andrew has entertained millions of people all over the world,” says director Joel Schumacher. "Phantom has one memorable song after the other, with some of the most beautiful melodies he's ever written. And Charles Hart's lyrics are quite stunning.” 

"This music is so incredibly moving and powerful,” adds Gerry Butler. "I've heard it so much now, and yet it never fails to move me.”

As infectious as Lloyd Webber's Phantom compositions are, the songs are actually quite sophisticated and difficult to sing properly. "The preparation I had from the Metropolitan Opera was invaluable,” says Emmy Rossum, who began training at the famed New York opera house at the tender age of seven. "I couldn't have done it without the discipline that was instilled in me at the Met.” 

The feature film version of Phantom presented Lloyd Webber with the opportunity to re-visit the original recordings and, supported by a healthy budget, he realized that he could afford to produce a full orchestral version of this much-loved score. The project also offered him the chance to write a completely new song and several major sections of underscore to complement the screenplay. This was familiar territory, as Lloyd Webber wrote the scores for several films early on in his career, such as The Odessa File and Gumshoe.

In order to help realize his musical vision for the film, Lloyd Webber turned to his trusted team: music co-producer Nigel Wright and music supervisor Simon Lee. Wright has worked with Lloyd Webber for over fifteen years, producing cast albums and video soundtracks, including the soundtrack to the award-winning 1996 film Evita. But, as Wright explains, "Phantom is the one we've all been waiting years to do. This is the big one!”

The lengthy Phantom audition and casting process – and Lloyd Webber's resolve that the cast be capable of singing their roles to a first class standard – required music supervisor Simon Lee to begin his involvement in February 2003, seven months before shooting began. Lee worked with all the principal actors, ensuring that their singing ability met Lloyd Webber's impeccable standard. Lee sees his involvement at every stage as fundamental to maximizing the abilities of the cast, in particular the Phantom, played by Gerard Butler. "Gerry was not a stage-trained singer, but had sung in a band,” he says. "He has been a total revelation in the last year we've been working, and I'm very proud of his achievement.”

Shooting any music-driven movie involves a great number of challenges, but filming Phantom was even more demanding than the average musical. As Wright explains, "On every other musical movie I've made, you rehearse, then pre-record the whole soundtrack and shoot from there. What we did with Phantom was stay just one step ahead of the shooting schedule, so that the playback tracks could accommodate performances that were growing and developing during rehearsal.” 

This recording and re-recording process was continuous; a recording studio was even set up in Lloyd Webber's office at Pinewood Studios, whereby actors could, at any time, be whisked away to record a new vocal and the playback track be altered for the next scene. It was a totally organic process for the actors and the music team alike – but this didn't come without its difficulties. "When we started production, we were three weeks ahead of schedule, but by the end, we were three hours

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