This is the most common Phantom of the Opera soundtrack available. Most non phans know about this one before finding out about other phantom soundtracks, if they find out about them at all.
Michael Crawford sings the role of the Phantom - he originated the role in London and on Broadway. His Phantom is an extraordinary phantom that I wish I had the privilege to see (I became a phan in 1994 - when he was already finished with the role). His voice is very melodic, and wonderfully soft - his emotions are very expressive - IMHO he definitely comes very close as to how the phantom would sound if I could really hear his voice.
Sarah Brightman sings the role of Christine. She has excellent range - she can easily tackle the voice part of the role very well. As she should since ALW wrote the part of Christine for her. That's also the reason all Christines are brunettes in the ALW musical and not blonde (as Christine is in the 1911 original novel by Leroux). Her voice is amazing but I have heard that she had flailing arm syndrome while performing so I don't think I missed anything by not seeing her as Christine.
The orchestrations and songs on this soundtrack are absolutely amazing - this soundtrack is partially responsible for hooking me on phantom - along with the 1990 Charles Dance mini series that I saw when I was 7 or 8 - I was listening to this soundtrack for a good 3 or 4 months before I saw the show for the first time on Broadway. My family knows this soundtrack because it's all I would listen to when I lived with them for about 2 or 3 years. My favorite song ever on this soundtrack has to be the title song - which of course is called The Phantom of the Opera - track # 7 on the first CD. Other favorites are Music of the Night - Masquerade - and Point of No Return - the final scene track is wonderfully emotional - but quite depressing as well - Michael Crawford ends the soundtrack with an emotional dramatic finish.
Any Phan must own this - I'm sure I'm preaching to owners of this soundtrack already if you're reading this blog - but if you're a newbie Phan - buy this now!