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If Barton and Crawford were switched... 
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Post If Barton and Crawford were switched...
As a Jim Steinman fan, I've heard Steve and Michael both play Count Von Krolock. I also know that they were the original Raoul and Phantom, respectively.

However, as I never really liked Phantom, I downloaded the OCR years ago and never really listened to it. When I did, after seeing the movie and a few touring productions, I was surprised that Steve still had his strong, masculine voice, but Michael was still a thin-voiced, absurdly high tenor, with a tendency towards falsetto passages.

What if Barton and Crawford had been switched, and each played the opposite role? Do you think a darker, stronger Phantom and a more romantic, softer Raoul would work?

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Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:33 pm
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That would've been interesting to see Steve and Michael switch roles. I believe I heard or read somewhere that when the two of them were asked to do the show, Michael thought he was gonna play Raoul and Steve thought he was gonna play the Phantom. (In which he did eventually-I love Steve's Phantom.)

Michael singing "All I Ask of You:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZQ1oTa5hQA

Steve Singing "The Phantom of the Opera"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POuXkv4cOBo

Picture if you will. :)

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Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:33 pm
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I heard Michael Crawford sing WYWSHA and thought it was very, very weird. I mean, original Phantom sings Christine? It was like when Bernadette Peters recorded Hello, Little Girl and Any Moment. Stuff like that bothers me...because it seems so out of place, you know?

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Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:36 pm
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Tony Winner
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While I absolutely love Steve Barton, I've never really cared too much for him as The Phantom. There's something very - no pun intended - majestic about his Phantom, but it came across (to me, at least) as too harsh. But his Final Lair...especially the "I love you" was heartbreaking.

I have to say that I didn't think I'd like the idea of Crawford singing "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," but he did it when I saw him in concert in the early 90s and I have to say it was wonderful. That and "Gethsemane" were the high points of the show.

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Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:24 pm
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I would have been fantastic. I've never liked Crawford's voice anyway. To whiney and strained. Barton makes singing sound easy. And is a great actor too.


Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:10 pm
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Wow, I love Steve's voice as the Phantom! I actually prefer darker, deeper-voiced Phantoms anyway.


Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:27 pm
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Tony Winner
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I love Steve Barton's Phantom, but I'm even more impressed by what Michael Crawford did with the role. I think he contributed a lot more than most people are aware of.

Not sure I would want to see Crawford as Raoul, but it would definitely be a memorable performance to have them switch roles.

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Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:26 am
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operafantomet wrote:
I love Steve Barton's Phantom, but I'm even more impressed by what Michael Crawford did with the role. I think he contributed a lot more than most people are aware of.


He and Hal Prince together *created* the role. He contributed a lot to the way the role is still being played and sung. There are rehearsal videos on youtube somewhere that give a clue to this process although apparently the process was well along when they were made. I believe the same clips appeared in one of the two documentaries on the making of POTO.



Quote:
Not sure I would want to see Crawford as Raoul, but it would definitely be a memorable performance to have them switch roles.


It would have been an interesting experiment if only we could jump into a time machine and go back to the 1980s.

I think Steve had a wonderful voice---No telling how the show would have been different if he had been in on the creation of the main character. Nonetheless, I love the show as it is.

Although a couple of posters on this thread describe Crawford's voice as "thin voiced" or "whiny" or "too high" or "strained," it doesn't sound that way to me, and the reviews of the time lauded Crawford, both for his singing and for his acting. People who saw and heard him play the role usually have a higher opinion of his singing than those who have heard mainly the OLC.

By the way, the OLC was recorded quite early in the London run of the show. Crawford played the role off and on from 1986 to 1990 something. During that time, he never stopped working on the role and on his voice, and his voice improved with time.


Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:05 pm
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8O Wow. I thought he was amazing in the OLC...if he was better by 1990, I need to hear some of that.

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Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:41 pm
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I love Barton's voice as Raoul and von Krolock, but what I've heard of him as the Phantom didn't sound right. Something about his vibrato just sounded too broad - possibly just in contrast with Crawford, who had none.

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Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:46 pm
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Pastiche wrote:
operafantomet wrote:
I love Steve Barton's Phantom, but I'm even more impressed by what Michael Crawford did with the role. I think he contributed a lot more than most people are aware of.


He and Hal Prince together *created* the role. He contributed a lot to the way the role is still being played and sung. There are rehearsal videos on youtube somewhere that give a clue to this process although apparently the process was well along when they were made. I believe the same clips appeared in one of the two documentaries on the making of POTO.



Quote:
Not sure I would want to see Crawford as Raoul, but it would definitely be a memorable performance to have them switch roles.


It would have been an interesting experiment if only we could jump into a time machine and go back to the 1980s.

I think Steve had a wonderful voice---No telling how the show would have been different if he had been in on the creation of the main character. Nonetheless, I love the show as it is.

Although a couple of posters on this thread describe Crawford's voice as "thin voiced" or "whiny" or "too high" or "strained," it doesn't sound that way to me, and the reviews of the time lauded Crawford, both for his singing and for his acting. People who saw and heard him play the role usually have a higher opinion of his singing than those who have heard mainly the OLC.

By the way, the OLC was recorded quite early in the London run of the show. Crawford played the role off and on from 1986 to 1990 something. During that time, he never stopped working on the role and on his voice, and his voice improved with time.


I for one did see Crawford perform the role in Los Angeles when Phantom opened there. He was wonderful! His voice was anything but thin. Michael has a very powerful voice. His voice also has a lot of flexibility which allowed him to give a very nuanced performance.

I also saw Michael sing "All I ask of You" in concert. He was every bit as good on that song as any Raoul I've ever seen. His rendition of Gethsemene in that same concert was one of the most powerful vocal performances I have ever witnessed.

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Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:41 pm
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Pastiche wrote:
Quote:
Not sure I would want to see Crawford as Raoul, but it would definitely be a memorable performance to have them switch roles.


Although a couple of posters on this thread describe Crawford's voice as "thin voiced" or "whiny" or "too high" or "strained," it doesn't sound that way to me, and the reviews of the time lauded Crawford, both for his singing and for his acting. People who saw and heard him play the role usually have a higher opinion of his singing than those who have heard mainly the OLC.

By the way, the OLC was recorded quite early in the London run of the show. Crawford played the role off and on from 1986 to 1990 something. During that time, he never stopped working on the role and on his voice, and his voice improved with time.

I totally agree. He has a certain "mannered" style in the OLC which wasn't as present on stage. And comparing his early London days to his late Los Angeles run... it's the same man, it's his distinctive style, but his performances are still oceans apart. One can even hear a big difference from the London previews to his 1987 performances.

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