Saturday, November 20, 2010

25th Anniversary Concert at O2 Movie Event

Now that I have time and a little more energy, I wanted to take some time to focus on the fantastic evening I had on Wednesday at the "Les Miserables" 25th Anniversary Concert movie event.  I LOVE Fathom Events - showing Opera, theatre, competitions, art events, anniversary showings of old films - what a fantastic idea! I love that someone thought of this. If people are able to see unfamiliar types of events for affordable prices, they might fall in love with an art genre that they would never have been exposed to otherwise. This goes back to the whole idea of listening to your parents music or to the radio - you hear things you might not choose to listen to but then you might be inspired to explore.  With iPods and headphones and backseat DVD players, there has to be another way to expose people to different types of entertainment, different music genres, etc.

The "Les Miserables" concert was beautifully filmed, beautifully staged and had an incredible cast of talented actors and singers.  The gentlemen who played Valjean, Javert, Thenardier and Enjolras were BRILLIANT singers. Lea Salonga was very good as Fantine - passionate, beautifully sung. The woman who played Eponine was outstanding. My favorite cast member in this production was the boy who played Gavroche. He was a FIRECRACKER!  Charisma poured out of him - he could act, he had great physical presence and he could sing. It made me long for the old "Little People" song from the original version of the show.

Even in concert version, I was moved to tears. Just being immersed in this beautiful show again was such a great experience. I found myself remembering moments in my life when those songs and the show were pivotal - lots of memories of Roby and NYC.  It felt like being at a live show. The audience was electrified, too. People clapped and cheered in the movie theatre and seemed very emotionally invested. It felt like a room full of people you know because we all shared one thing - love of this show.

After the curtain call, Cameron McIntosh came out and said a few words along with Alain Boubil and Jean-Michelle Schoenberg (the French composer and Lyricist) and Herbert Kretzmer (English language lyricist).  Then they brought out the 1985 Original London cast members.  Thankfully, Michael Ball was there (the BEST Marius ever cast in the role and still able to sing the part better than anyone else) and Colm Wilkinson.

The piece de resistance for me was having 4 different Jean Valjeans sing "Bring Him Home" together.  They had the current Valjeans from the Barbican and Queen's companies, Colm Wilkinson and the concert Valjean sing together. It is so beautiful. 

The Four Valjeans sing "Bring Him Home"

I really only had two complaints:

1.  I wish the entire show was still intact - this seemed to have some edits. I am hoping that most of the edits were for the concert and not permanent changes.

2. As I stated in a post a couple of days ago, Nick Jonas was not good. I felt badly for him - he was surrounded by these classical and clearly trained singer and he sounded like he had a clothespin on his nose.  His voice is much too thin for the part of Marius. Unfortunately, no one has ever been able to sing the part like Michael Ball could. I always thought it would be impossible for someone to sing Valjean as well as Colm Wilkinson, but I have never heard a bad Valjean. I definitely have my favorites, but I have never heard it sung badly - even in the high school production I interpreted.  Marius - that's a whole other story. From the original Broadway Marius (forever captured on the OBC recording and on the 1987 Tony Awards show performance) on down to this guy, the Marius' have been thin voiced and unconvincing. Shame, really, since he has some powerful music to sing.

Here is Michael Ball singing "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from the 10th Anniversary concert:

Anyway, all in all, it was the highlight of my week. Actually, it was the highlight of the Fall for me, I think. I am hoping, hoping, hoping that this will be sold on DVD like the "RENT" Broadway closing DVD and all the other "Les Miserables" videos. I can't wait to have it in my hot little hands!

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