Phantom of the Opera star Ramin Karimloo talks to Tribute about 25th Anniversary DVD

Canadian-raised Ramin Karimloo has become a huge star in England. He has the distinction of being the youngest performer ever at age 29 to play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and also performed the role on the new DVD: The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. The lavishly staged production at London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall was beamed live via satellite to cinemas around the world on October 2, 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beloved musical. This DVD marks the first time a live performance of the blockbuster musical has been made available for home viewing. Besides starring Ramin as the lovestruck Phantom and Sierra Boggess as the beautiful and gifted soprano Christine, the show also features special guest appearances from the actors who originated the roles of The Phantom and Christine, Tony Award winner Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, as well as Colm Wilkinson who originated the show in Toronto. Tribute had the opportunity to speak to Ramin, who’s currently in London performing the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at The Queen’s Theatre, to talk about the DVD release.

Ramin, who moved to Canada from Rome at the age of two with his family, was born in Iran and raised in Peterborough, then spent his teenage years growing up in Richmond Hill. At 13, when he saw Colm Wilkinson perform the title role in the Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera, it had a profound effect on him.

When did you decide you wanted to be a performer?
I remember as a kid I saw Phantom in 1992 and that started me thinking that I wanted to be an actor, and I thought playing the title role would be cool. I made a bet with my friends, saying I bet you any money one day I’ll become the Phantom and from there, my love grew for the old school method actors, growing up watching Pacino, De Niro, Brando and Daniel Day Lewis and I just thought, ‘They’re the real deal.’

And then you met Colm at the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera; what was that like?
That was like coming around full circle, I remember when they introduced him, I still felt like a kid waiting for him at the stage door. Our families have become friends and who would’ve thought that that would come true let alone doing what I get to do, especially alongside Colm, in both anniversaries now (of Les Miserables and of The Phantom).

How did you decide to move to England?
I wanted to be an actor. I’ve never distinguished a difference — as some people do — between musicals and straight acting, I just think that’s a lot of nonsense. You’re either an actor or you’re not. I wound up working on a cruise ship as a singer. I saw an ad for auditions in a Toronto newspaper  on a British-based ship and that sort of got me connected and gave me some knowledge of what’s going on in the West End.

Is there any one performance that stands out in your mind? Maybe because something unusual happened, or something went wrong during a show?
No, because I like when things happen and things change because that makes it more real. I guess ultimately the one performance that will always stay with me, because it was my final one as the Phantom, was the Royal Hall. You can’t top that.

Do you have a favorite role that you’ve performed?
I’m really enjoying Jean Valjean right now. I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as I have, I’m so glad I was talked into doing it. And honestly Phantom is always going to hold a place for me.

Is there any role you’d like to play in the future?
Yeah, I’ll take anything that’s challenging. This year I have a couple of films lined up. I’d love to play Stanley in A Streetcar named Desire.

I heard you’ve got two movies lined up for this year — are movies something you’d like to do more of?
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been really enjoying my time on camera in the past year. I’ve been doing little tidbits — I just shot my music video for my album (entitled Ramin, which will be released in March 2012) and I did a little guest spot on Ricky Gervais’s sitcom. It’s a part of the craft that I haven’t explored as much as I’d like so this year, to do these two films, I’m really happy about that. It’ll be fun to do that.

Can you tell us anything about the movies?
There’s one that I just signed up for and I’m not sure I can say much about that – I know it’s shooting in Budapest in March. The other one, it’s called Bad Town and I’m really lucky to be playing the lead in that. So that’s going to be a real challenge.

Do you have any plans to make your Canadian musical theater debut?
I would do it in a heartbeat. I’ve heard murmurings of Les Mis returning there and I’m really enjoying my time as Jean Valjean now so if that opportunity was there and I had the time to do it and if they would want me, I’d be there in a heartbeat. I’d love to get back home for awhile. I’m a Canadian boy at heart. I’d like to come back and reenergize on Canadian soil. ~Alexandra Heilbron

The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary is available February 7th on DVD and Blu-Ray.

BLU-RAY and DVD Bonus Features:

  • The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
    • “Getting Past the Point of No Return:” A behind-the-scenes “Making Of” feature starring the cast and crew.
    • Love Never Dies
    • “Making Of” Featurette:  Take a look behind the scenes at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s breathtaking sequel

Lurking beneath the glamor and spectacle of the Paris Opera House, the horribly disfigured Phantom, once a promising musician, now terrorizes the opera company.  Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the Phantom is drawn to the beautiful ingénue Christine Daaé and begins coaching her secretly, as a tragic romance unfolds between the unlikely pair. This dazzling live restaging of the original production recreates the jaw-dropping scenery and breathtaking special effects of the original, set to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting score.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House.  He has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love – Christine Daaé. Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. So, it is with excitement she accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan, to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… not knowing what is in store for them.

Watch the trailer here: Phantom of the Opera trailer

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Joan • January 8, 2012 @ 10:33 PM

    I love Phantom, I saw it about 6 times when it was in Toronto, twice starring Colm. He’s amazing. I can’t wait to see Ramin in the role, I loved him in the 25th Anniversary of Les Mis on PBS!

  2. Lauren • January 9, 2012 @ 6:08 PM

    I loved viewing Ramin for the First Time in the Phantom of the Opera at the 25th. Even though I saw it in a Cinema. Anyways, I cannot wait to see the DVD when I receive it. I know this is the one im going to replay over and over again. Ramin’s my new favorite Phantom. Ramins’ the second Phantom that’s powerful enough to me make me cry. I love the Phantom and he did a brilliant job! <3

  3. Anna • January 12, 2012 @ 3:58 AM

    Just a small correction. Anthony Warlow is the youngest performer ever to play the role of the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. Ramin played the Phantom in Love Never Dies at 29 – completely different show. He was in his 30’s when he played the Phantom in the original show. The distinction therein remains with Australia’s Anthony Warlow who was 29 when hand picked by Cameron Mackintosh to play the role of the Phantom in POTO.
    All that aside, Ramin is incredible! I was totally blown away by his performance in POTO Albert Hall. An incredible talent. I would love to see him live.

  4. Mark • January 17, 2012 @ 10:24 AM

    Anna – not quite accurate. Ramin took on the role in Phantom in 2007, two years before he did Love Never Dies. So he was 29 at that point and was 31 when he made the leap to Love Never Dies.

  5. Craig • January 24, 2012 @ 3:33 PM

    All wrong I’m afraid 😉 Jonathan Roxmouth at age 24 has become the youngest lead after taking on the role of Phantom in the South African version this year … which will soon be touring the Far East, too.

  6. Emma • April 5, 2012 @ 10:10 PM

    Ramin has the most amazing voice ever! It is truly a gift from God!Love him in both Phantom and Les Mis DVDs! I would love to see him live! Please bring Ramin back to Toronto!

  7. Emma • April 5, 2012 @ 10:10 PM

    Ramin has the most amazing voice ever! It is truly a gift from God!Love him in both Phantom and Les Mis DVDs! I would love to see him live! Please bring Ramin back to Toronto!

  8. janet • April 16, 2012 @ 8:23 PM

    I can’t wait to get the dvd and cd of phantom but only want the one with Ramin and Sierra in it.I loved the way they sang.acted,wonderful

  9. carlea • April 19, 2012 @ 1:34 AM

    Dearest Darlingest Ramin,
    this is apart wrote i have started for you
    “Beautiful, what id give to blend my voice, my music with yours, so beautiful, to twist our love as one, pasion entertwined…” you are indeed MY angel of music. I wish you werent married so i could marry you, and we sing together, then we’d have cute lil Iranian-Canadian singing babies 🙂
    LOVE with ALLLLLLLLL my heart,
    Carlea (the hopeful dreamer)

  10. carlea • April 19, 2012 @ 1:35 AM

    apart of a song i wrote for you**

  11. janet • May 22, 2012 @ 1:43 PM

    I know young people dream but I always feel sorry for the wife as what does she think and how does she feel seeing all these womwn over her Husband.I to think he is gorgous and a wonderful singing,Father,Husband.I don’t think I could handle all Mandy and other wives do.I think she has a Husband that loves her,is coonfident and beautiful herself so nothing to worry about.The two little boys are beautiful and he is so proud of them.

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