Antonio Banderas never got to play the Phantom on the silver screen but he proved he was more than up to the job with a dramatic and compelling duet on “Phantom of the Opera” with soprano Sarah Brightman. The pair performed the song at the Andrew Lloyd Webber Royal Albert Hall Celebration and showed off terrific chemistry as well as impressive pipes.
After the grand pipe organ introduction, Brightman showed off why she became one of the top sopranos worldwide by nailing the dynamic opening verse. Banderas then made his entrance, bringing a smouldering intensity to the performance. He didn’t disappoint when it was his turn to sing either, and showcased a powerful and captivating tenor vocal on the famous theme. The video has been viewed 41 million times on YouTube and you can watch it for yourself below.
Banderas and Brightman singing together in the second chorus is a highlight of the song, and the leading man’s menacing voice paired with Brightman’s delicate soprano is the perfect combination. Both singers showcase their acting skills onstage, adding weight to the performance by playing into the story of doomed romance.
Banderas had long been interested in starring in a Phantom of the Opera film, saying ahead of the casting of the 2004 movie that “if they need me or they think that I am the person to play that character on the big screen, I’ll be there.” The Spaniard was in contention for the role, although in the end Gerard Butler was cast, likely because Banderas’s prior few films had not done well at the box office. You can hear the Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum version of the song in the video below.
Banderas as the Phantom got a very warm reception among fans online, with listeners adding positive comments such as “Antonio did a masterful job of the slow stalking approach, the unwavering gaze of an apex predator. It gave me the chills!” and “Antonio is the perfect phantom, his accent and him singing within his bounds is perfect. Sarah is also amazing, her vocal range is totally off the charts.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera musical opened in London’s West End in 1986 to rave reviews. The production starred Brightman, who was married to Webber at the time, in the lead role of Christine Daaé, alongside Michael Crawford as the Phantom. The show became the second-longest-running West End musical, behind Les Misérables, as well as the longest running show on Broadway.
The Royal Albert Hall performance really showcases Banderas and Brightman’s vocal prowess, as both the male and female parts in The Phantom of the Opera are famously demanding, requiring a wide vocal range. The soprano parts in particular are known for extensive use of high notes which really put the leading lady’s pipes to the test. If you would like to see more from Sarah Brightman, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel. You can also visit her official website for more information.