Thursday, November 18, 2010

Les Miserables 25th Anniversary

So...where do I begin?

I am relatively new to Les Miserables as a musical. The actual story I have known and loved as long as I can remember. I have no idea why I didn't discover the musical earlier, but I'm glad I've now been thoroughly immersed.

Up until this year all I'd ever seen was some strange black and white video clips where Javert was practically dancing, something that really bothered me. (Note: All the clips I saw were not from professional performances.)

And as I am not a big musical fan in general (think Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, West Side Story, etc.) I didn't really look into it.
When I saw Philip Quast as Javert I changed my mind.

Last night we went and saw the broadcast of the 25th Anniversary performance.

First off, it was amazing. Not to say it was better than the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast, but it was really wonderful!

If I had to rate them, I'd have to say this new one is more visually pleasing, but on the whole I'd have to go with the Dream Cast's voices. Especially Marius, Fantine, and Jean Val Jean. I did like Enjolras, Gavroche, and the young Cosette a lot better in the new one. Gavroche was awesome. If vibrato bothers you, you'd probably like the 2010 performance better.

The 25th Anniversary performance is also longer and fills in a lot of what was taken out of the 1995 performance. This makes the story make more sense if you are not familiar with it. It also gives Gavroche another cool section. :-) But I can see why most of it wasn't in the 1995 performance. (It's also more severely PG-13 rated, I'm afraid.)

So, be forewarned. I am no connoisseur. I'll have to say is on personal taste. Don't take it too seriously or harshly. All Les Miserables is awesome, it can't help it. :-)

Alfie Boe as Jean Val Jean.
I felt like he depended more on acting than some other Valjeans and he just lost some of the depth and general awesomeness and drama of his songs. But this could just be me.
I did like him. But he wasn't Colm Wilkinson for sure. It was an interesting to see a different interpretation.
My biggest and weighing disappointment was Alfie Boe at Fantine's death scene. He totally ruined "run", which is like my favorite part! :-)

I thought I just didn't like the Cosettes I'd seen, but I guess it's just her part...
I thought this Eponine was really good.
(Lea Salonga, who played Eponine in the 1995 performance played Fantine in the 2010. It was a little weird, but I liked her voice much better then I did as Eponine. Still, she didn't sing "I Dreamed a Dream" like Ruthie Henshall. :-)
I had very mixed feelings about Nick Jonas being Marius. Even more so after Suzy told me he was one of the Jonas Brothers. LOL.

I thought Norm Lewis aced this. I was disappointed with his suicide scene, though.

Philip Quast remains Javert for me to the end. Norm Lewis was totally awesome at some points, but I thought he changed too quickly and his last couple songs were not Javert to me. The way Philip Quast sings "Javert" is amazing!

I was pretty scared about what was going to happen to this song...
Michael Ball is so awesome, but I thought at least Nick Jonas made up for something visually.

I'm sure he's going to get a lot of flak, but I seriously thought he did a pretty good job. As a young noob type Marius he was great.

But how could it possibly compare to this...

He's got to have one of my favorite voices ever.

This was the highlight for me! Colm Wilkinson is really outstanding. I have to say he's my favorite Jean Val Jean just because he puts so much emotion into his singing, while still keeping it completely beautiful. Also, he can hold a note for all eternity. :-) Something Alfie Boe barely tried.

This video is not from the actual performance we saw in the movie theater. A couple of the singers are different but the important thing is Colm Wilkinson, Ramin Karimloo, and Michael Ball are there. Sorry about the bad video quality.

You can find more videos on Youtube, if you'd like to see more of the performance.

So, there is really so much I can say, but I'm going to quit there. Someday I'll just have to have have a week for Les Miserables book, movies, dramatized tapes, and musical. ;-)

I've listened to a London and Broadway cast and still like the Dream Cast best. Does anyone have favorites for the parts or recommendations for other recordings?

How amazing is it that a musical this strongly Christian and with these themes has effected so many?
We need to produce more stuff this quality. You can't help but love it.

My conclusion...
I had an absolutely amazing night. I am so thankful I was introduced to this musical.
And we should own both the 2010 and 1995 DVDs and CD sets. ;-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian


Kaye said...

Oh, my gosh! I can't believe it's been 25 years since I first saw Les Miserables. :D

Shayleen said...

Wow... Such an amazing voice...

I should watch Les Miserables again. It depressed me. :P But I did like it. :)

Polka Dot said...

Michael Ball--the voice of a god.

Nick Jonas--looks absolutely perfect for Marius. I fell in love with him right along with Eponine.

Can we please just combine Michael's voice with Nick's appearance??

Mama Chocolate said...

You've made me REALLY want to watch it and listen to it now...I somehow have never got around to looking into the musical version.
I love the story, though.

Anna Olivia said...

I love Les Miz. With all my heart. In almost any shape and form. ;)

~Miss Raquel said...

Nick Jonas?!!!
Oh yeah, and so...I only saw the SUPER old version of Les Miserables, and did not like it. I have to see a new one :P And read the book too. I've heard a lot about it, and have been told that it's a must. :D

JinC said...

Dream cast is the best! I have been watching I our and over again! The 25th anniversary production was a disappointment at some parts...lots of parts were not singing almost, but script reading.
The lyrics gives the essence of the musical I think.