The musical theater community is quite familiar with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Many musical scores, including those for Evita, Dreamcoat, Cats, School of Rock, and many others, are attributed to him. When he performed the 1986 smash hit The Phantom of the Opera in front of a live audience with Sarah Brightman in 1998 for the composer’s 50th birthday celebration at The Royal Albert Hall, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas brought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s works to life.
The Phantom of the Opera, which is based on a well-known French novel, has music by Lloyd Webber, extra lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, and lyrics by Charles Hart. The New York production, which debuted in the 1980s and featured Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman at the time, won six 1988 Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, according to Playbill.
Banderas, who is well-known for his work in The Mask of Zorro and Spy Kids, has performed in musicals on stage before. In the 1990s, Banderas appeared in the film version of Evita as Che in another well-known Lloyd Webber musical, according to Playbill. Given that the composer and the actor already established a working relationship, there was even speculation of Banderas taking the lead role in the 2004 production of The Phantom of the Opera.
I’ll be there if they need me or believe I’m the right actor to portray that role on the big screen, Banderas said in 2003. “Since I performed in Evita, we have been in touch and have discussed Phantom. He brought me to London on multiple occasions when Shekhar Kapur was working on the film. Nothing took place. Warner Bros. was the one in charge of it.”
Therefore, it makes sense that Sarah Brightman, an English soprano, and Banderas’ live duet is so amazing. Banderas is a seasoned Broadway performer with a remarkably powerful voice, despite the fact that he may be more recognized for his appearances in blockbusters and family films. It is worthwhile to see the entire six-minute theatrical performance, which has a magnificently costumed organist, eerie lighting, and a complete orchestra. The clip opens with the organ’s ominous sound. Brightman unexpectedly arrives on stage in the spotlight. A quarter of the way through, Banderas enters and slowly approaches Brightman to join in on the ethereal duet. It’s fun to listen to the two of them sing together because of his enigmatic delivery.
Despite Banderas’ outstanding performance, Warner Bros. chose Gerard Butler to play the Phantom in the 2004 movie. Banderas’ portrayal of the Phantom on the big screen may never happen, but his early duet with Sarah Brightman will endure and highlight the actor’s underrated vocal prowess. Who knows, though? Banderas might get another chance if Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies, is made into a movie.