Vocally, Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler were poor choices for the roles of Christine Daae and the Phantom. Rossum’s voice, which has absolutely no operatic quality to it, is so thin and weak that it had to be boosted by an echo throughout almost the entire recording. Also, she lacks the strong lower register that is necessary for a vocally sound Christine.
During the advertising campaign before the film’s premier, it was noted, ad nauseam, that Rossum had previously sung with Placido Domingo at the Metropolitan Opera. However, if you do a little research, you will find that all she did at the Met was sing in the children’s chorus. Since participating in the 2004 Phantom, Rossum has not continued with classical or crossover music.
No one has ever understood why Gerard Butler, a man with no musical training or experience, was chosen for the role of the Phantom. His voice does have a dark, raspy quality that is perfect for the mysterious Phantom. However, Butler obviously lacks musicianship and he was unable to sustain many of the dramatic high notes. His voice was audibly wearing out by the end of the recording session: the final “Christine, I love you” as well as the conclusion were extremely weak.
Rossum’s and Butler’s lack of vocal ability made an absolute shambles of the famous theme song. Because of Rossum’s weak lower register, the first two verses of the song were pitched a half-step higher than originally written. The third verse was cut in order to keep the final vocalizations in the proper key. However, if by some miracle you can actually hear Rossum’s weak voice during the final bars, you will notice that she flats almost every note.
The Carlotta of Minnie Driver was superb. However, she did not do any of her own singing. Her voice was dubbed by the sadly ignored Margaret Preece. Driver did sing the added song, Learn to be Lonely.
Vocally, the one bright light of the soundtrack is the Raoul of Patrick Wilson. Wilson was the only member of the cast who had previously made a living singing music similar to that of The Phantom. His voice has a nice tone and he delivered his character’s vocal lines, particularly those in All I Ask of You, very well.
One can easily be star struck by the visual glamour that was put into the 2004 film. However, it doesn’t take much digging to discover that there are some major problems in the soundtrack.