Do the Actors in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Really Sing?

The Phantom of the Opera premiered in the U.S. in 2004 and stars Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, and Minnie Driver. It is based on a 1986 musical of the same name. While stage actors sing live every night, one might wonder if the actors in the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera really sing.

Minnie Driver, Patrick Wilson, Emmy Rossum, and Gerard Butler at the 2004 New York premiere for 'The Phantom of the Opera'
Minnie Driver, Patrick Wilson, Emmy Rossum, and Gerard Butler | Gregory Pace/FilmMagic

What is ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ about?

The stage production of The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running Broadway musical and is known for its timeless music written by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lloyd Webber’s musical is based on a novel called  Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux.

In The Phantom of the Opera, Christine Daaé (Rossum) is a young dancer who works at an opera theatre. At the start of the movie, the theatre is preparing a production of Hannibal starring Carlotta Giudicelli (Driver).

The theatre often deals with strange events caused by an “Opera Ghost,” and this leads to Carlotta quitting. Christine is cast as the lead instead due to her beautiful singing voice. She later reveals that she receives lessons from someone called the “Angel of Music,” and she believes her father sent her the angel when he died.

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Christine reunites with her childhood sweetheart Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (Wilson), and out of jealousy, the Phantom of the Opera (Butler) reveals that he has been her music teacher.

The remainder of the movie follows the Phantom’s obsession with Christine. As Christine continues to grow her relationship with Raoul, the Phantom wrecks havoc on the opera house.

Did the actors do their own singing in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’?

In the stage production of The Phantom of the Opera, the actors sing live every performance. Sometimes in movies, studios will cast actors for speaking roles but cast professionally-trained singers for the character’s singing parts.

Before being cast as Christine, Rossum was a trained singer. According to Biography.com, she joined “the Children’s Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera at the age of seven” and spent several years “singing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.”

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Wilson also had singing experience. Before the actor was cast as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, Wilson appeared in multiple musicals on Broadway.

He received Tony Award nominations for his roles in The Full Monty and Oklahoma!, and after playing Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera he returned to Broadway and starred in Barefoot in the Park and All My Sons.

Some actors in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ did not have singing experience

While actors like Rossum and Wilson had singing and theatre experience before being cast in The Phantom of the Opera, other actors in the movie did not.

Butler ended up having singing lessons after he was cast as the famous Phantom of the Opera.

“I always just sang for me, for fun,” Butler told WTOP. “I was a shower singer, then suddenly I had to sing ‘Music of the Night’ for Andrew Lloyd Webber. At that point, I had two singing lessons. I took my first singing lesson for Phantom of the Opera.”

Out of all of the major actors in The Phantom of the Opera, Driver did not actually sing as Carlotta. This is because Carlotta is a trained operatic soprano, and Driver did not have the singing experience to sing in that way. In the credits of the movie, singer Margaret Preece is credited as the singing voice for Carlotta.