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EXCLUSIVE: We Talk To Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess Before PHANTOM 25!

Kaite Welsh

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the world's best-loved musicals, the Royal Albert Hall will be playing host to the Phantom, Christine and Raoul on Sunday. The event will be screened live across the globe, including in 250 cinemas around the UK, before being released on DVD in November.

It reunites Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, last seen together in Love Never Dies. So, how does it feel to return to their characters' roots?

"I love the innocence of the beginning of Christine's journey with the Phantom," explains Boggess, who was nominated for an Olivier for her role as the older Christine in LND. "Love Never Dies shows you where this love takes her, but it's so cool to come full circle."

Although the cast have had only two weeks to rehearse the show, she's clearly having a ball, with no trace of nerves in her voice. "I thought it would be more difficult," she admits, "but I'm really excited. I love and connect with the character of Christine so much."

And being reunited with Karimloo doesn't hurt either - "We've always had such great chemistry, and we fell right back into it."

The other side of the show's love triangle is Hadley Fraser, as hapless hero Raoul, who Boggess says offers "a fresh new take" on the role. "It's so important that you have someone intelligent in the part. With a great Raoul and a great Phantom, it's so much harder for Christine to choose."

Karimloo, who prior to originating the role in Love Never Dies, has played both Raoul and the Phantom, credits the show with his success. "Taking part in the 21st anniversary celebrations was a big deal for me, it really helped put me on the map."

Being so familiar with the character, he says has "taken the pressure off trying to prove anything. I can just celebrate a wonderful musical."

He certainly has a lot to celebrate - his solo album, for which he has co-written four tracks, is due out in January and whilst he's steering clear of musicals, he promises "an earthy, lyrically-driven album." Fans can also look forward to seeing him on the big screen, in Canadian indie flick Badtown.

His co-star has something to look forward to as well - in 2012, she is Broadway-bound with Rebecca, a musical adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 novel of romance and suspense. But for now, they're rediscovering their characters.

And for one cast member, the performance will be bittersweet - Karimloo is hanging up his mask after this one last return. Well, probably. "I'm scared to say never, because things happen. But I can't think of a better way to put to rest my relationship with Phantom."

Neither can we.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray, CD and download on November 14.

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