Avantasia (pronounced /ˌævənˈteɪʒiə/) is a symphonic metal/power metal project created by Tobias Sammet, vocalist and frontman of the power metal group Edguy. The project's title is a portmanteau of the words "avalon" and "fantasia" ("fantasy") and describes "a world beyond human imagination" (a quotation from the booklet). The project consists of a self-titled single, two full-length albums with the subtitle The Metal Opera , two EPs called Lost in Space, and the recently released album The Scarecrow. A new double album is expected to be released in late 2009 or early 2010.
In Spring 1999, during Edguy's Theater of Salvation tour, Tobias Sammet began to write down his ideas for a metal opera, a concept album with many guest musicians. When the tour was finished, he carried this plan out, recruiting well-known metal players like Kai Hansen and the ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske. The project was recorded with a core band of four members - Sammet playing keyboards and arranging orchestration, Henjo Richter playing guitar, Markus Grosskopf playing bass, and Alex Holzwarth on drums. In 2001, the self-titled single and the first full-length album, The Metal Opera , were released. The project was completed in September 2002 with the release of The Metal Opera Part II . At the end of 2006, Sammet confirmed the rumours of a third Avantasia album, due for release in 2008. On March 24, 2007, the name was confirmed to be "The Scarecrow". The album was released on January 25, 2008, and includes special guests Rudolf Schenker, Sascha Paeth, drummer Eric Singer, and singers Bob Catley, Jørn Lande, Michael Kiske, Alice Cooper, Roy Khan, Amanda Somerville and Oliver Hartmann.
Tobias Sammet announced that a new album will be released by the end of 2009. Some of the special guests have been announced: drummers Eric Singer, Alex Holzwarth, and Felix Bohnke, as well as vocalists Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Jørn Lande, Tim "Ripper" Owens, and Klaus Meine.