Best Phantoms In Phantom of the Opera

The Top Ten
1 Ramin Karimloo

I resonate with Ramin's portrayal of The Phantom the most. His Final Lair performance makes me symphatise with and feel for the disfigured genius, despite all the unfavorable and contemptible things he has done. The way he delivers all the necessary emotions and personality to make every scene of his work is just top notch.

His singing? Sublime. I could honestly listen to him sing in his Phantom voice all day and never grow tired of it. Also, he is exactly how I imagine Erik would sound (and look) like.

I know nothing or nobody beats the original, but I will make an exemption for Ramin.

I've only been able to watch Ramin Karimloo on DVD and you tube, but I have to agree that he is the best Phantom out there, toppling even Michael Crawford. Crawford gives a classical, stylized performance, while Ramin definitely delivers the emotion, which coupled with an amazing voice, really makes you believe he IS the Phantom. Perhaps too, I am speculating that Ramin's success is partly due to the fact that he is the only performer compared to the others who has aspired to be the Phantom since childhood. I read that he skipped school and saw the Phantom at age 12, and life changed ever since. Gerard Butler delivers a brave, anguished performance, however his voice simply pales in comparison to Ramin.

He adds an intensity to the role that I've never seen before. He doesn't just act the part, he is the part. His voice is unique and engaging. His acting is brilliant and captivating. He emotionally engaged me in the performance like I've never been. His choice of movement and expressions just added so much to the character, I was completely intrigued. His dark side was thrilling and in such contrast to his tortured broken soul at points where he realizes he has lost Christine. The notes he sings, the way he sings them and the agony expressed in the acting. I almost can't bear to watch he makes you feel it with him.

I've often seen people defending Gerard Butler by saying he only had a few (4, I believe) voice lessons before he took the role, and that Ramin's voice is "too nice" to be the voice of someone growing up in an opera house, but the phantom is SUPPOSED to have an angelic voice, like Ramin's. Also, Ramin (and, if I'm not mistaken, John Owen-Jones) has never had any voice lessons. He saw the Phantom as a child, and decided that's what he wanted to be. He trained himself, and that's literally exactly like the actual Erik. People also use the argument that Gerard is hotter, which I'll never get, but have you seen Ramin without his mask?!? He is GORGEOUS. Also, I've seen the argument that Gerard is the better actor, but, especially at the end, Gerik seems, well, kind of bored, whereas Ramin sounds like he has absolutely lost it, at the "ANGEL IN HELL", and "GO NOW AND LEAVE ME". Especially with all the screaming. Karimloo loves his phantom screams. He puts so much torture and grit when he's ...more

2 Michael Crawford

The best phantom ever he just projects sexuality , romance, and passion. He brings phantom too life ! The rest of the phantoms can never ever come close too the original phantom Michael Crawford !
His voice makes your heart soar the original bad boy you just fall in love with.

Crawford, it's not even close. No one captured the crippling loneliness, the burning desire, the heart aching love the Phantom had like he did. No one has ever replicated that haunting, soaring angelic voice, that absolutely maniacal laugh, no one walked with his elegance and sensuality, no one was ever to express carnal need with so much sensuality and grace with just his 2 hands. Crawford's absolute love for the character he helped birth (just listen to him talk about him in interviews, it will make you cry) shines through the Phantom like a diamond.That's why it will never ever be replicated.

Michael will always be the true phantom - his depth and passion, his heartbreak and longing comes through in a very unique way. His unrequited desire goes straight to your heart and breaks it. Others may have great singing voices. Michael's voice is superb as well. Just the incredible way he uses it to wring every possible ounce of emotion out of himself and the Phantom's character will never be matched or improved upon.

Don't just believe me. Get the Michael Crawford CD of London Theatre and Broadway classics.

My mom told me that when I was about two years old, she would put on the disc of The Phantom of the Opera with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. She would also tell me the story while we were listening. And I used to cry because I felt so sorry for the phantom. To this day, I still think that Michael Crawford has that haunting and melodious voice that brings the character life. He is the original phantom and the one I thank for getting me interested in musical theater and Broadway.

3 John Owen Jones

I saw John Owen Jones play the Phantom this Thursday just gone. I can't tell you how amazing he is, but then again, Phantom fans will already know how amazing he is. If you haven't seen him live on stage, then you must! I feel so privileged to have seen John play the Phantom on stage, especially considering that it was part of only a three month run, and also considering of how much of a Phantom legend that he is! He puts so much effort into his performance and his singing is just amazing. He has a lot of power in his voice as well as some very soothing tones. You haven't heard 'The Music of the Night' until you've heard John sing it!

John Owen Jones is amazing! He sings with lots of emotion.. the power, clarity and ease with the high notes! Fantastic voice! I get goosebumps every time I hear him sing 'Music of the Night'. To me he's the best Phantom!

The single most beautiful voice to play the phantom. He stays on pitch much better than Karimloo, and his voice is much less brassy.

One of the most beautiful voices to ever play the Phantom - no one can compare to him in theatricality.

4 Colm Wilkinson

I was fortunate to see the Phantom in Toronto with Colm Wilkinson as the Phantom, but it has also a curse as well. There is no other that I have seen than even compares to Colm Wilkinson. He not only has an incredible voice, but you could feel the pain in his character, portraying the torn soul that was the Phantom. I am happy to see that the Cameron Macintosh Phantom is being performed in Boston, but Cooper Grodin is no Colm Wilkinson. Everything else will continue to pale in comparison.

To me, not only is he able to blow away this role with his amazing voice, he best portrays the tortured character that is the phantom as well. His portrayal so precisely captures the essence of whom the phantom is - his weaknesses and his power. Colm is best able to evoke emotion from his audience by not only singing and acting the part but becoming the part. I remember watching him as phantom in the Canadian show and I got goosebumps!

My parents saw him live in Toronto when they were kids. His performance was part of the reason Phantom of the Opera had such a lasting affect on my Mom. When we saw phantom at the Royal Albert Hall, during the grand finale, she was able to recognize his voice, and she lit up when he started singing

The original and the best, saw him many times in Toronto. His performance as the Phantom inspired Ramin Karimloo as a child back when Toronto School kids were taken to see the Phantom on a regular basis.

5 Geronimo Rauch

Geronimo was the first Phantom that I saw in London. He was absolutely brilliant! Being Argentinian, I wondered how his pronunciations would be, but his singing and acting was absolutely breathtaking! Other than Michael Crawford, Ramin Karimloo, and John Owen Jones, I would definitely say that Geronimo sings one of the best versions of the title track that I've ever heard. His accent definitely added a uniqueness to the songs. A very powerful voice, and it's a shame that he's only played the role for just over a year. I hope he makes a return to the role one day.

I have seen Geronimo 3 times as Phantom. Absolutely captivating. Also seen Ramin who is amazing. To me there are certain similarities with how they play the role. A tough call between the 2 for me. Leave the theatre on a cloud after watching Geronimo! Do hope he can find the time to return to the role. Spoke to him after the show and lovely.

For sure Gero is "The" most expressive phantom in all times. He is talented in telling you a story for your dreams. You'll get emotionally breakdown listening his voice among his acting. He has that perfect gesture for every word. He is powerful up on stage and let you have a magic and special moment.

The hardest thing is find the heart of the Phanton, the audience should fall in love with him I think. Geronimo is not just breathtaking every time he sing, he show us the heart of the Phantom and he makes us definitively fall in love with him (we actually hate Raoul nomatter their work, sorry mates! That's the Rauch Effect).

6 Hugh Panaro

There is something amazingly creepy and seductive, even pure, about Hugh Panaro's voice... and I think it's an absolutely wonderful combination! He is truly a lovable yet frightening Phantom (one of the few actually scary ones), not to mention colorful with the bits of wit and humor he throws in. It's just so FRESH. He acts with subtle little details that makes his rendition of the character so real and breathtaking, as can be witnessed with every precise, significant, and elegant action and movement. I guess Mr. Hugh Panaro wouldn't be among someone's favorites if they couldn't appreciate how amazingly he can seemingly channel the Joker into his Phantom while still making him this pitiful, sad and lonely creature; it really is a wonder, and quite a legend!

Hugh Panaro was the second Phantom I saw live ( besides listening to Crawford on CD) but the first to make me care, to understand the depth of Phantom's "love" for Christine. His powerful and controlled singing perfectly conveys the creepiness, the tenderness of his feelings, making us repelled yet sympathetic to his need for Christine's affection. Hugh is No1 followed by Rahim, JoJ, and I'm very excited about James Barbour's baritone Phantom!

Hugh is FAR superior to any other Phantom to have ever played the role; speaking strictly from a musical/vocal performance stance. As an actor, he is right up there with Michael and JOJ. Overall, Hugh still takes my #1 - spot, then JOJ (again because of his superior vocals) and then finally #3 - Michael. On a side-nite, Hugh is such a BEAUTIFUL SOUL!

He's the first and only Phantom that I've seen on Broadway, ans his voice is just fantastic. He nearly brought me to tears when he sang The Music of the Night. I think that he's so much better than Ramin Karimloo, Michael Crawford, and Colm Wilkonson. He also portrays the Phantom with perfect wit and sarcasm.

7 Anthony Warlow

There are times in life when no words do a person justice. This is one such time. I've had the privilege of seeing Anthony Warlow portray the Phantom in 1990, then again in 2007 and finally in Adelaide where Warlow donned the mask for the final time on 23 May 2009. Never cried so much at a show in all my life. Perfection

Sublime. His portrayal absorbs you into the performance with power and strength along with softness and emotion. The word brilliant isn't strong enough.

Very seriously underrated as the Phantom. Compares well side-by-side, as at the anniversary performance.

The ultimate phantom of the opera!

8 Norm Lewis

My vote goes to Norm Lewis because of his majestic full voice (unlike Michael Crawford's quacking), I mean an ultimate version of Music of The Night is the one from Alfie Boe, but Alfie never actually played Phantom. John Owen Jones is the best Valjean in the known universe, yet he does not have The voice. I think The Phantom should not have a quacky high voice, but a wide, dense, and surrounding one, and this cathegory Mr. Lewis fits perfectly.

His romantic Phantom is so realistic. His Final Lair always makes me cry, especially when he repeats "I love you." Unfortunately the producers said his Phantom needed to be more childish, even though Norm wanted a more serious Phantom. The only flaws in his Phantom are the producer's fault. He is the Phantom for me.

Norm is an incredible baritone singer which I think is meant for the Phantom. His chemistry with Sierra Boggess may be overlooked because of Ramin but nevertheless it was just as compelling.

His rendition of Music of the Night is a huge inspiration to me and I must prefer him as the Phantom than I did as Javert (he was ok but not one of my favourites... he was average).

He have a fantastic voice and big range. He is something original. He have very big and powerful voice and emocional.

9 Peter Jöback

His voice is a lot brighter than the other's who have played the Phantom before, but he adds an element to the Phantom which hasn't been seen before. As he put it "I want to play the abused child, instead of the monster", which is an interesting take. He clearly can sing, and the difference is voice, from the other "darker" voices, is an excellent choice I think. Very good!

Peter makes some great acting choices which makes him a very moving phantom. His voice may not be as strong as some other's, but it's unusually beautiful and magical. He's also very musical, expressing the sensuality of this music instead of belting out the notes.

Peter is outstanding in every, single, way. His performing is moving, mesmerizing, magical. The way he looks at the the character is truly inspiring. He knows what he's doing. He's the best.

He's the all time best with emotion and pation plus he as an amazing voice in all he uplayed all the phantoms at the 25th anniversary grand finally, also he had the only voice that popped out when they all sung together.

10 Gerard Butler

In an interview, Andrew Lloyd Weber personally chose and trained Gerad Butler for the phantom. The movie requires close ups and the acting must be compelling and not overly done as compared to the stage where the actors are far from the audience and emotions must be "big". Gerard's acting and characterization are what Andrew wanted to achieve in the movie. He wants the raw emotions, and not the perfection of notes, though Gerard did well considering he is not a trained professional singer. Bringing theatre actors to the movie screen sometimes requires a lot of unlearning because they have been trained to overemphasize gestures, movement, emotions even voice modulations because we cannot see facial expressions much from afar.

I love Gerard Butler as the Phantom. It is because of Gerard Butler is the reason why the Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite Movies/ Musical. Plus I loved how low of a voice he gave to the Phantom and because of that you can feel the Phantom's pain and loneliness. Also really loved listening to his version of "Music of the Night". Just the way he sings it just always makes feel relaxed when I listen too it. Plus I always loved how during the songs "the Phantom of the Opera", "Wandering Child", & "Past the Point of No Return" how both his & Emmy Rossum's voice just melt into each other.

Yes, the others aren't that bad and tenor is the idea romantic voice but... I imagine the phantom being dark and mysterious. Gerard sang as a baritone and portrayed my idea of the phantom 99.9% clearly! If only he had more experience with singing I think the rest would agree. His voice and acting made me feel the emotions his character had felt. I think he did an outstanding job for someone who wasn't as skilled at singing as the rest!

Gerard Butler may not be the best singer, but he has incredible acting skills and a demeanor that compensate for all his vocal flaws. Despite all the flaws, I find his voice incredible and powerful and very emotional as well as expressive. There is a reason that Lloyd Webber chose him himself.

The Contenders
11 Robert Guillaume

My husband and I have seen the Phantom of the Opera 3 times at the Ahmason Theater in Los Angeles. The first time Davis Gaines played the lead and was very good. Then we wanted to hear Michael Crawford because we had heard that he was wonderful...much to our dismay when we arrived at the theater Mr. Crawford was ill and was replaced by Robert Guillaume ((Benson? Can Benson even sing? I just knew that we were going to be disappointed! )) WELL, let me tell you Benson CAN Sing...imagine how excited we were when Mr. Guillaume started to sing his first song! His voice sent chills down my spine...he was Fantastic! About a year later we did go to see Michael Crawford as the Phantom and yes he is Wonderful, but Mr Robert Guillaume will always be the voice of the Phantom to my husband and I. Signed, Nancy Hubbard from Anaheim, CA.

Robert Guillaume! He brought me to tears with his rendition.

12 John Cudia

He was my first phantom from when I was in middle school. To me, it's a testament of his impact and talent that over ten years later I'm going back his videos to hear his performances.

He was my first Raoul and second phantom. So awesome. God bless john

Incredible portrayal of the final lair scene. John is a top 5 for me

13 Brent Barrett
14 Anthony Crivello
15 Earl Carpenter

Guys, you are putting everyone else first mainly for their voice. Earl really gets into the essence of the character. He is so gently with every Christine he plays, it is beautiful.

I agree. He struggles a bit more with the high notes but there's such passion in his performance. I would say that JOJ, Ramin and Earl are the most convincing phantoms I've seen.

He is a great actor, he is so passionate when he sings. You can feel the emotion of the Phantom through Earl Carpenter's voice. He's just so alluring.

16 Ben Lewis

Everyone who's still stuck in 2012 and comparing Ben Lewis with Ramin Karimloo for LND, wake up! Ben was the principal Phantom in London from 2017-18, and he is incredible! I really appreciate the full, dark, rich quality of Ben's voice. Look, this man has perfect pitch, can belt the high notes with zero stress (and make MOTN seem like it's transposed down when it's really not), and his voice fills the theatre. I find Ben to match Leroux's description of Erik's voice the best, as Erik is described to sound like "the God of Thunder". Similarly, Ben's acting as Erik is pretty original and spot on; he has an absolutely horrifying laugh, he throws violent tantrums like a child that is emotionally undeveloped (which the Phantom is), and his tears and sadness are absolutely heart-wrenching. He actually cries for real. I don't know how this man summoned the passion that he does for a role he played 9 times a week, but I love him all the more for it. Also, his "All I Ask of You" reprises (in ...more

Ben Lewis definitely makes the best Phantom in LND because he puts so much emotion into his character and it's like he was the Phantom who had the pain of loosing Christine all those years. However I think he is really good as the older Phantom. Ramin is just good at the younger Phantom.

In my opinion, Ben Lewis is the best actor of the phantom. I think he portrays to phantom really well and clearly takes on the persona of the phantom. He shows all emotions and facial expressions really well and he changes his voice to be alike with his emotions, definitely number 1! X

Ben Lewis is amazing! I'm not saying he's the best but he is at least number 3! Have any of you seen him in Love Never Dies! He has an amazing voice and just like Ramin, he can be strong and sexy and times, but also weak when the phantom should be weak.

17 James Barbour

I can't even begin to express how phenomenal his performance was. I think my jaw actually dropped upon hearing his, "Insolent boy! " His deep baritone voice drew me in immediately, full, dark and mysterious like I believe the Phantom should be. He also used his whole entire body to act, gesturing with his hands and walking at certain paces that enriched the experience just a little more than I've seen it in the past. He's definitely my favorite portrayal of the Phantom to date.

His voice is amazing! I think a dark colored baritone suits the phantom better than a tenor now. There's so much emotion in his voice and his acting is phenomenal. I saw him with Ali Ewoldt and Jordan Donica and they make a great team. What I also really like was that even though his voice was commanding and powerful, I could still hear Ali or Jordan very well if they were singing together.

His voice is absolutely amazing with so much emotion! He had the smoothest voice and he was absolutely amazing! His voice was great! He was mysterious but also handsome at the same time. It was so amazing!

He was beyond amazing. He was my first phantom I ever saw, and he's still my faveorite.. and I think always will be. His voice is so so amazing, and he has this sexy, seductive touch to him that makes him so beautiful! I love him so so much! By far my favorite

18 Peter Karrie

The best phantom without a doubt! The only one who brings the phantom to life! Amazing!

Peter Karrie is, without question, the best Phantom ever.

The best ever!

19 Gary Mauer

Absolutely spellbinding. I was captivated by him, especially when he sang Music of the Night. He had such a fabulous stage presence.

The most underrated phantom. His clarity is stunning and his highest notes seem effortless. I get chills every time.

20 Jonathan Roxmouth

He is currently on The Phantom Of The Opera World Tour. He is my first Phantom and I saw him when they toured in the Philippines. I loved his portrayal of the character. I sobbed so much during his performance in the final lair scene. His voice is as magical as the much more famous Phantoms. He is for me underrated, and I believe he deserves to be recognized in the musical industry on Broadway and on West End.

Watched it in Marina Bay Sands Theatre in Singapore. He was really charming and emotional, simply amazing! His voice, expressions, gestures and emotions draws you in and connect to the Phantom. I cried in the final scene, empathizing with the Phantom's anguish and sadness. To me, he's the perfect Phantom. Hopefully, more people would watch him and feel the same way as I do!

I love his deep voice and his charisma as the phantom. He portrays the emotions and spirit of the phantom very well. Beautiful voice and commanding presence

He should be top

21 Henk Poort

He's the Dutch Phantom, and a brilliant one! He should have been singing and playing his Phantom in West End or braodway and he would have soared! Epic voice, mesmerizing singing!

Too bad that he didn't performe on westend. He certainly would have been one of the very best! I've seen him perform several times. He got better and better after each performance

Henk is my no1 Phantom, even years later he still kills the song with Floor.

Henk is amazing even now.
I can't wait to see him perform with Nightwish.

22 Ben Crawford

He did really good. He had a nice baritone voice, it wasn't unbelievably deep, but it also wasn't too high. He also added new life to the role.

Best phantom we have ever seen. Tremendous voice and acting.

I like his face.

23 Davis Gaines

Davis will always be my #1 Phantom! All others pale in comparison! His voice was made for this role...a true Angel of Music. I was only in junior high when Phantom was at the Ahmanson in LA, but I was somehow able to get my parents to let me see it about 6 or 7 times, and I'm so grateful to them for that! Davis' voice is life changing! That's why I'm still raving about him over 25 years later.

I saw Gaines in L.A. in 94. He held up th the Phantom standards. I was raised on Crawford a few years earlier, he still rules. Whoever played Christine also kept the show alive but she was weaker than Sarah and too shrill and forced.

I think Gaines was the best Phantom! I can still hear his voice when I hear others perform. With that said, there are others who do a great with a great role!

Davis Gaines if by far my favorite phantom. His voice is perfect for the roll and is stunning. Wish I could have been there to see it/

24 Derrick Davis

For me, Mr Derrick Davis conveyed the tormented soul of the Phantom, his passion of writing beautiful music & the love/muse relationship with Christine with more authenticity than any other of the other many Phantoms I have watched. But Cameron Macintosh's updated version of Sir A.Lloyd Webber's vision certainly showed the deeper side of the relationship - & how Christine was so conflicted between wanting to be the Phantom's Angel Of Music or being the love of Raoul...magnificent indeed!...the score of this show is soul touching to its core & I believe Derrick Davis understood this fact to its core, that's why I'm voting for his performance of The Phantom.

This is the first time my daughter and I saw Phantom of the Opera. It was in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theater. We were completely taken by Derrick Davis's performance. The entire cast was amazing in how they were able to convey emotion through all of the larger-than-life songs. You really felt the things that the characters felt.

Derrick Davis was perhaps the most poignant of all. You could feel all of the emotions roiling in him and his presence on stage was both forbiddingly fearsome and humanly relatable, even when he was in the worst of his impulses.

But the singing... I've heard some of the other actors perform on the internet. Most of them seem to be tenors. Davis has a deeper and more resonant voice—smoother and the tremolos weren't overly dramatic or forced. And it really conveys the spirit of the Phantom. He also does a rendition of a phantom song on YouTube but it doesn't do his singing justice. When he's singing on stage you feel so many things and in the ...more

His phantom blew me away! His range was incredible and his final lair was powerful. I felt he captured the emotions of Ramin Karimloo's phantom as well as the psychotic element of Hugh Panaro's while adding his own pain and violence to it. It was an amazing performance.

He was spectacular. It was the perfect Phantom voice- beautiful and hauntingly melodic- so much better than Davis Gaines!

25 David Thaxton

I saw him in london months ago and he was amazing. So powerful voice.

The best phantom ever

He was the first phantom I saw in london and he is the best I every

He is very Good

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