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I have seen the musical live twice and I am still spellbound by how powerful this concert is on video. Phillip Quast is just fantastic - especially when he sings his final song before he dies. There is such force and passion in his voice. The other thing that makes this video performance memorable is that you get to see the reactions from the cast members towards each other's numbers; it's great to see THEM enjoying the show so much.I just wish I could have been there!
Although many may pass this video by, based on the fact that it is not as visually appealing, they are missing out. The music stands alone, and is the star of this concert-version of the beloved stage musical. It is dubbed "The Dream Cast", and becomes evident why, the moment the magnificent Colm Wilkinson opens his mouth to draw us in to the emotional story. Backed by a enormous chorus, and the London Symphony orchestra; the cast artfully weaves its way through the drama of the French Revolution, and the underlying tale of pure love. Scenery and elaborate sets are not needed, as the cast flesh out their characters with wonderful facial expressions and the same costumes that are worn in the theater version. If you have not yet seen 'Les Miseables' on stage, you are indeed missing out on a wonderful theatrical experience. This video is the next closest thing to experiencing that magic firsthand. Highly recommended!
I never thought I would like Broadway music. I was kind of iffy when I got the International Cast's Highlights for Christmas. I only listened to a few songs. Then I got interested, and saw the 10th anniversary concert on PBS. I was spellbound. Since then I have adored Broadway, but this one has always been and will always be my favorite. I am not drawn to any other musical the way I am to this story of justice, duty, love, redemption, and revolution. If you are a fan of Hugo's book, see it, if you are a fan of Broadway, see it, if you want to see a powerful story in song, see it.
Seeing Les Miz on stage is a breathtaking experience, as it really has the
atmosphere, the heart, the energy and the songs to do justice to Victor
Hugo's great French novel. So it was no surprise that the Tenth Anniversary
Concert really worked - it assembled perhaps the best group of singers (Colm
Wilkinson, who created the role of Valjean; Philip Quast, Javert in
Australia and on the UK tour (fabulous); Ruthie Henshall as a brittle
Fantine; Lea Salonga as Eponine; Michael Ball recreating his role as Marius
(and few people can sing Empty Chairs and Empty Tables as well as he does);
and from the US, Judy Kuhn as Cosette).
I don't feel that we have been cheated out of a full film version; and in fact I hope they don't attempt it. This semi-dramatised concert does the job and keeps this fantastic musical on record for future generations. Roll on the 20th anniversary, and long may the production run in its London home, where the giant Cosette has become a landmark for tourists getting lost on Piccadilly!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the closest it seems we shall get to a film version of the
legendary stage musical (to my knowledge), and it is definitely a
worthy effort. It goes without saying that the quality of music is
incredible and the performances are excellent throughout, although a
few are slightly unconvincing. To elaborate:
The Cast (Not in order of appearance as it is stated):
Colm Wilkinson (Jean Valjean): The original and arguably the best Valjean, his voice may not be to everyone's taste, (and seemed slightly weak to me early during the concert, e.g. Philip Quast seemed to out sing him in The Confrontation, before picking up at One Day More) but with a wonderful, practically unmatched emotional range and dynamic use of eyebrows he more than acquited himself in the role. His Bring Him Home is, in my opinion, unsurpassed.
Philip Quast (JAVERT): Wow. What a performer (3 well deserved Olivier Awards attest to this), able to emanate the harshness of Javert as well as securing great sympathy for an apparently unlikable character. Mr Quast steals the show in my opinion and acts as a great magnet each time he appears. His majestic voice, like Mr Wilkinson's, is capable of expressing a great range of emotions, and, again like CW, provides definitive renditions of Stars and Javert's Suicide. He has since become one of my very favourite actors and he is wonderful in Evita, currently lighting up the West End. If you can find it, his Live at the Donmar album is a must.
Ruthie Henshall (Fantine): Another deservedly well respected performer, whose voice at times breaks a little but is otherwise faultless. I feel she offers a clearer, more angelic Fantine than Patti Lupone on the Original London Recording, and I personally prefer this interpretation.
Alun Armstrong and Jenny Galloway (The Thenardiers): Two more perfectly cast actors. Armstrong is hilariously twitchy and shifty, but adds a sinister edge at The Dog Eats the Dog. Galloway is gifted with supreme comic timing and an intimidating physique, making her ideal.
Lea Salonga (Eponine): One of the minor flaws in the concert is that I cannot understand why anyone would choose Judy Kuhn over the short yet spunky, powerfully voiced and infinitely more attractive Miss Saigon. As performances go, her's is excellent. I think there is some merit in the arguments those who say that Frances Rufelle (Original London and Broadway) is probably closer to the original text, but it cannot be denied that Ms Salonga is exquisite. Her performance is especially moving during A Little Fall of Rain, and her On My Own is quite frankly show stopping.
Michael Ball (Marius): A Great British institution whose thunderous voice puts those of other students to shame. He makes a wonderful foil for Lea Salonga during A Little Fall of Rain, is both passionate and sensitive during Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, but before both of these is magnificently uneasy and tender during A Heart Full of Love.
Michael Maguire (Enjolras): A criticism that could be made of all the students in the Concert is that they are all far to old. This is most clearly shown by Mr Maguire. A fantastic voice to be sure, but he just seemed out of place to me, and at times he sounded more like a Marine than a student.
Judy Kuhn (Cosette): Another terrific voice, but as with Michael MAguire, she seems out of place. As i stated above, I couldn't understand why Marius would set his cap at someone who, dare I say it, resembles a horse. I am almost certainly being to superficial, but still, I wasn't convinced.
Anthony Crivello (Grantaire): Did good.
Adam Searles and Hannah Chick (Gavroche and Young Cosette): As Above.
One more criticism I have of the production is that the sections of The Robbery, Javert's Intervention and Eponine's Errand, amongst others, were left out, as I would die to hear them but don't want to buy the Complete Symphonic Recording (With only three performers worthy of note in my opinion). Otherwise, The Les Miserables Tenth Anniversary Concert is a great spectacle that is a must for any fans of the show and/or book. When watched for the first time, or the hundredth, it remains an inspiring work.
Les Mis is my favorite musical of all time, and this video shows why! The
cast is incredible, the music is incredible, and that ending with 17 Jean
Valjeans is absolutely breathtaking. Here are things to look out for when
watching this video:
- Colm Wilkinson's angry singing
- "Master of the House"
- Philip Quast's absolutely beautiful "Stars"
- "Do you hear the people sing!"
- "One Day More!"
- Michael Ball!!
- Lea Salonga!!
- The two of them singing "A Little Fall of Rain" (get tissue ready)
- The finale: 17 Jean Valjeans from 17 countries all singing the lines of "Do you hear the people sing" (both regular and Epilogue versions) in their own languages from English to Japanese to Polish.
I have very few complaints! I think if there had been a set the singing and music would have been less powerful (200 chorus singers couldn't possibly fit onto one set during One Day More, and a full orchestra wouldn't fit under the stage). Michael Maguire gets my only complaint for his singing during "The Final Battle." His voice was wrong for that part and should have sung the way Anthony Warlow had sung the same song in the Complete Symphonic Recording. Listen to both to see what I mean.
Also, Andrew Lloyd Weber did NOT write this musical. I liked Phantom of the Opera, but that's it. Haven't seen Evita yet, but it couldn't possibly beat Les Miserables. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg wrote this and Miss Saigon. Cam Mackintosh produced Phantom, Les Mis, and Miss Saigon. Get your info straight, people.
...is the only word I can think of here.
Since hearing the Les Mis soundtrack a few months ago, I have been a die hard fan. Unable yet to see the show, I saw this in a shop and decided to buy it.
How glad I am that I did. This is amazing. All the cast are fabulous, especially Ruthie Henshall, Lea Salonga, Michael Maguire, Michael Ball and Phillip Quast. I wasn't as impressed by Judy Kuhn (I may be biased as I despise the character of Cosette) but she still gives a fantastic performance.
A word of warning though: bring out the tissues, and don't wear mascara during 'A Little Fall Of Rain' 10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is just perfec. A wonderful cast, and they even play before the
My two favorites are Lea Salonga and Philip Quast. They almost steal the show, but in this show, everybody is great.
Quast - oh my, I never knew before that Javert can be THAT hot and that - humanly. He's so cool. I fell in love with the Inspector, what I never did when reading the book or watching a movie. I cried on his death scene.
Lea is just so sweet. And her voice is percfect. Eh, Marius is either blind or deaf... or both.
I'm not sure what to say. This musical rocked. I usually detest
musicals with a vengeance, but this is just different...since I
finished watching it for the first time about a week ago, I have never
stopped watching it again and again (thanks to the good old VCD, I
don't need to pay any ticket fees). For some reason, I find the first
40 minutes rather slow and boring, but not enough to drag my opinion of
this down. Honestly, anyone who thinks this is a stinker just doesn't
understand this. It's just...brilliant.
The emotions evoked by the second act are simply overwhelming. The spirit of love and camaraderie until death are portrayed so brilliantly and effectively. Absolutely a must-see for any die-hard intellectual movie viewer.
This is the ultimate Les Miz. Truly a dream cast when you have Colm Wilkinson, Philip Quast, Michael Ball, and the rest of the performers on one stage at the same time. I don't know what some people were talking about when they said that Lea's performance was too "bitter". Lea performed "On My Own" straight from the heart. If she sounded bitter when the song began, it's because the lyrics needed to sound that way. When she got close to the middle, her voice became gentle because her character, Eponine, is dreaming of Marius. When the words turned to realization at the bridge, her voice became strong with a sense of regret. And I love the way she pants when the song is close to ending, we get the sense of Eponine's hopelessness. Let the crowd judge since three of her four performances all had ovations. One more standout scene was her death which made lots of Eponine fans cry. The fact that she was chosen as the definitive character despite of her ethnicity is undeniable. If she had the chance of originating the role, other performers like Frances Ruffelle would get lots of criticism for not measuring up. I recommend the video to anyone just to see Lea's scenes and lots of others like: the face/off songs of Valjean and Javert, the "One Day More" finales, and the very funny "Master of the House". Do you hear the people sing?
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