As much a brand name as a composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber
never does anything In a small way. 1988's The Phantom of The Opera
, perhaps the finest effort of Lord Webber's career, began life with a particularly human heart beating at its center: Michael Crawford
's Phantom. The very last word in swoony romanticism, honey-tenored Crawford stormed Broadway and jumped-started a late-career revival that has yet to slow down. This double-disc, original cast recording also features costar Sarah Brightman (the former Mrs. Lloyd Webber), who uses her powerful voice to stunning advantage on "All I Ask of You" and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again." Crawford's gorgeous, hushed vocal dazzles in the memorable showpiece, "The Music of the Night," as spectacular and definitive a Broadway moment as any in the last half-century.