Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber made a speech, paying particular tribute to the show's late designer Maria Bjornson. He then welcomed onto the stage, already crowded with a 200-strong company of performers and musicians, remaining members of the original creative team and cast, before introducing his own “angel of music”, Sarah Brightman, his soprano muse and then-wife, who originated the role of Christine Daae.
Brightman sang the title song, with backing by a quartet of Phantoms – three who've already made their mark on the role, Colm Wilkinson, Antony Warlow and John Owen-Jones, who's currently returned to the role at the West End's Her Majesty's Theatre, as well as young Peter Joback, who will take over there next year. They were joined by the 25th anniversary's star Ramin Karimloo, still wearing his mask, for a rendition of “The Music of the Night”.
Original Phantom Michael Crawford received the biggest round of applause and a spontaneous standing ovation on arrival. He was visibly moved by the response, his lip quivering as he waved to the crowds and was embraced by former colleagues.
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