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Thom_Boyer

New UK Tour Album -- Reactions, reviews...existence?

I do apologize if this has been covered, but this is potentially a huge deal that I would think merits its own topic. I stumbled upon a rumor that the announced 25th Anniversary Tour album has been released exclusively for sale at the Hippodrome as of the 15th of this month. If it has, and if some fortunate soul out there has stumbled upon a copy, how does this cast fare in album form? How complete is it, on a scale of Maxi-Single to Bonus Track With Exit Music? Does this exist, and how long must it take before such an item achieves the kind of distribution that could cross the Atlantic, even if only through, say...an iTunes store? It's been fifteen years since a major English-language recording of this show was produced, and I, for one, am chomping at the bit!
Violet

It was released on Thursday in time for the evening performance only. Cast got their copies between shows. It is two CDs and apparently there are 20 tracks on each. I'd originally heard it was to be the whole show, but as suspected, a few little bit are missing.

They said it would be released to the shops and to the online stores, but no date given. I don't know how long it can take to do that once you have an actual product in place.

If they don't start to distribute it soon it's going to end up on Ebay. They'll make more money selling it in the theatres, but not THAT much more money to justify holding it back.
Vanessa20

Violet wrote:
It is two CDs and apparently there are 20 tracks on each.


Oh my God! Shocked Very Happy That's longer than the OLC and OBC, and just one track shorter than the TAC! I was expecting a one-disc highlights recording (since that's all that several good casts have gotten), but that's far from the case!

I don't care about the mixed reviews I've read of this cast! I'm so excited for this recording! Very Happy Very Happy
mm10

Yes it was on sale at Bristol - double CD for £20.

I didn't buy it Embarassed

Know it is meant to be going on general release sometime soon - Jon Robyns tweeted that he would let people know the dates once he knew
coast_in

I've heard it's on sale at the Bristol Hippodrome for the current run of the touring company.
I'm hoping some enterprising person buys a few copies and puts them on eBay.
That'll be the only option, for the time being.
Sounds like a wonderful recording. Everyone on Facebook is raving about it.
Orestes Fasting

It's on YouTube now! Haven't listened to all of it, but... sounds like a fairly good representation of how this cast sounded. I'm glad they left some of the ensemble ad-libs in. The orchestrations sound MUCH cleaner on the recording than they did live, which makes it uncomfortably obvious where they were tweaked. They sound rather thin and knock-off-y, really, but not in the same league of awful as the Broadway revival orchestrations.
santsprz

Is there the full album or just some songs on youtube?
mastachen

I got it when I saw it in Bristol. I liked the show a lot, but was kinda disappointed the new cast album wasn't the whole show. But one thing I was glad they left out on the cast recording was Marius crying "NO!!" over and over again after Eponine died. When I was watching it live, I seriously got annoyed.
Quique

Ditto what Orestes said.

It's better than what I expected but still feels off to me and makes me testy. Ah well, I'll live.
lovesinging

Ok, I'm technologically stupid. How might one go about finding it on youtube? (i.e. what should I search for)
MSam

Here's a link to A Little Fall of Rain (..ugh). You can find other songs in the sidebar or by visiting the user's profile:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ollnCQl0d3E

Quote:
But one thing I was glad they left out on the cast recording was Marius crying "NO!!" over and over again after Eponine died. When I was watching it live, I seriously got annoyed.

Actually, you can hear him mumbling "oh no, no, no, Eponine, I love you more than Cosette, blah blah blah". It's infuriating and really detracts from the music.

Ok here's my WIP review based on what I've heard, posted earlier at Abaisse (just based on what I've heard).

General consensus is that the definitive Valjean is Colm Wilkinson, but John Owen Jones shines in his role. His approach to Valjean is more subtle and emotional than Wilkinson, however he still manages to produce a commanding and powerful tone in the urgent moments of the score. 'Bring Him Home' is a highlight of the soundtrack, with the vocals soaring over the orchestration, flicking with ease between the high and low range with such dynamics and emotion the result is breathtaking. Another commendable effort is delivered by Earl Carpenter as Javert. Filling the shoes of Phillip Quast is probably impossible, but like Jones, Carpenter delivers an excellent and commendable spin on Javert. The performance of 'Stars' is excellent, showcasing his vocals as a strong baritone, and delivering Javert's soliloquy passionately.

The majority of the cast are good, but some are left behind in the shadows of their predecessors. Madalena Alberto boasts an impressive array of ways to sigh and breathe, her interpretation of Fantine coming across a little flawed on this recording. Her voice is distinctively musical theatre, however it also seems to be a hybrid of pop as her voice belts quite a lot and frequently scoops to notes, making her role slightly emotionally detached compared to Ruthie Henshall. The most bizarre spin on the characters is Éponine, with Rosalin James producing a dramatic contrast with original Frances Ruffelle and fan favourite Lea Salonga. The performance of 'On My Own' on this recording is by far my least favourite, with the opening being altered to a bounce/swing/cakewalk. Like Alberto, James possesses a formidable and distinct musical-esque voice, but her embellishments and licks on the belt notes are unremarkable, generic, and sound out of place amongst the classic orchestration of the score. Younger cast members Gareth Gates and Jon Roybns deliver mixed reactions on Marius and Enjolras. Although both possess such vivacious and youthful voices their timbre and richness in tone are lacking (Robyns would have probably been better off reprising his role as Marius). This doesn't stop them in their showcase moments in the score - Gates' performance of Empty Chairs and Tables is quite touching, and Roybns' leading the cast in 'Do You Hear the People Sing?' is still a string anthem, although his aggressive approach to the lead leaves a bit to be desired in the performance. The Thenardiers and Gavroche are fairly pedestrian. (No thoughts on Katie as Cosette since I haven't heard to much of her).

The number of pros outway the cons in this CD set. With a rare exception, this is almost an entire recording of the show, an excellent quality that not all the Les Mis CDs have. The chorus on this recording is excellent - the live atmosphere and raw emotion of the cast is caught so well that this recording could probably boast the most vibrant and lively chorus in the Les Mis series. The orchestration is also a highlight, with it returning largely to the original score, but with a much fuller sound and superior mixing. The downside of the recording is that much of the spoken dialogue and 'reactions' are caught. The dialogue isn't so much of a problem, but in certain instances (such as 'A Little Fall of Rain') the gasping/moaning/crying is just too much and far too over the top, I'm not sure if I can face listening to it again. Ultimately it just detracts from the beauty of the music. Since I'm being pedantic, in addition the cast also have a diverse catalogue of accents that make the score sound slightly disjointed and inconsistent. While there are some cases where the music seems a little off balanced, the mixing and overall production is incredible, rivalling some studio recordings for such articulate and well captured sound.

So overall, would I recommend this CD? Yes, for Les Mis fans and passionates it's a fine addition to the Les Mis canon, and for new-comers it is a fine introduction to the musical, especially when it boasts such sophisticated production from a live show. While the cast have some weak points, overall they are fine and solid, and they are backed by a great ensemble and band.
Vanessa20

MSam wrote:

Actually, you can hear him mumbling "oh no, no, no, Eponine, I love you more than Cosette, blah blah blah". It's infuriating and really detracts from the music.


Thankfully he doesn't really say that, but still, he does sound like he's playing the Marius of an Eppybopper fanfic more than Hugo's Marius. Laughing

When the f--- will they release this to stores? I'm dying to have JOJ and Earl on my iPod. Does anyone have any idea of how long it will be?
Eppie-Sue

Jon Robyns's twitter:
Quote:
The new Les Mis album will be released on the 23rd Aug. And is avaliable at tour venues.
mastachen

Vanessa20 wrote:
MSam wrote:

Actually, you can hear him mumbling "oh no, no, no, Eponine, I love you more than Cosette, blah blah blah". It's infuriating and really detracts from the music.


Thankfully he doesn't really say that, but still, he does sound like he's playing the Marius of an Eppybopper fanfic more than Hugo's Marius. Laughing

When the f--- will they release this to stores? I'm dying to have JOJ and Earl on my iPod. Does anyone have any idea of how long it will be?[/i]


In the recording, he just moans "no" once. In the show, he wailed and blubbered "no" and I wanted to throw something at him.
MSam

Take a listen again - I'm sure he does it a lot (though I'd guess it's a lot clearer with headphones). They moan a lot through the song unfortunately, and it's my favourite. =\

Vanessa20, you're right - this version appears to be catering towards Eponine fans rather than the Hugo vision. Not a huge problem...but.
Quique

ALERT: Longish midnight babble ahead.

Just got through listening to the whole thing.

Out of curiosity, who's listed as orchestrator for this new album?

It should read "John Cameron" followed by "adapted by _____."

I'd say a good 90% of it is his original work adapted with a good amount of added 'ornamentation.' Some might argue that 'ornamentation' is synonymous with 'orchestration' and maybe it is to some but to me an 'orchestration' is a complete, original musical interpretation. Nothing completely original has made it to this new recording, unlike the revival which had a slew of completely original orchestral bits and passages and even whole songs like IDAD and OMO featured very different orchestrations--problem is, they left much to be desired. The decision to change them and use pots and pans to play them itself stunk, so I place very little blame on the poor orchestrator faced with the daunting task of taking something definitive and trying to make it VERY different and just as good or better. Mission impossible.

Whatever led to this current decision, whether or not intentionally meant to uphold the integrity of the originals, must've been difficult as it meant throwing out most of 4 years' worth of ambitious attempts at changing the show's musical landscape, but it ups the quality of the piece significantly and puts it more in line with its former, superior version. It was a misguided effort from the start and I'm just thankful it has come back full circle. Well, almost.

They have wisely eliminated some of the bombast. This alone gives the whole album a more sophisticated, sincere feel as opposed to shoving you every 5 seconds with gratuitous, random "WOW!" booms while doing double duty in filling-in the insufficient band. Even the ornamentation isn't too bad most of the time.

Reading reviews from fans across the net is eye-opening, to say the least. One review I encountered commented on how much better the show sounds without the infamous 80's DX-7 keyboard sounds and that the more contemporary sound is much appreciated.

Baloney.

It's interesting to note that the AWFUL 80's SYNTH SOUNDS ARE STILL THERE. They are CLEARLY present, in all their 80's splendor, at the top of the show, during DYHTPS and most other places John Cameron originally inserted it. It may not be played by the original DX-7 but the sound is undeniably similar enough that it produces the same feel and texture as the horrid, dated thing heard on those old, ricketty OLC and OBC recorrrrrds of yesteryear.

I'm aware that, at several points, Les Mis sounded very different. So I'm not too unforgiving when I read reviews of the new recording that say how much they "love the NEW orchestrations!!" although they're setting themselves up for shame when they say they're "waaay better than the originals!!"

Well, for one, the added bells and whistles are sometimes gratuitous enough that it's easy to miss the original voicing is intact underneath for most of the show. However, I feel embarrassed for some of the stuff people write out there. "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables," "Bring Him Home," "In My Life," AHFOL, ATEOTD, DYHTPS, "Stars," and a few others have gone through virtually NO changes. They've been adapted for a smaller orchestra, sound thinner, and in the case of "Stars" have had some parts removed but the orchestration is very true to the original with very, very little, if any, added ornamentation. You'd have to be listening very carefully and comparing in order to catch what's missing and what's original. I giggle when people mention how much better, bolder, or fuller one of those songs sound compared to the 80's originals.

Baloney, I say. Bologna!!!

Personally, the recording is a mixed bag. I'm not joking when I say that I literally go from this: Cool to this: Confused to this: Mad to this: Rolling Eyes to this: d'oh! and then back again during nearly every track of this recording. I blame that on the dizzying fluctuations between bare-bones orchs consisting of bells, xylophones, piano like things, and other such 'small' sounds and suddenly exploding in your face with this big fat complete symphonic recording sound and then back to the itty bitty munchkin orchestra of squawking trumpets and pingy Disneyland sounds and the like.

As for the cast, I don't find much fault in their recorded performances with the exception of Fantine on speed. Although, to be fair, it's not her fault they've sped up her big number and added strange erotic horns, effectively giving one visions of the projections fading into the Red Light District mid-song. Alberto has a good set of pipes but this new Fantine for the 21st century should go back to the 19th where she belongs.

I read the comments on "A Little Fall of Rain" right as it began and maybe I just had the volume too low (afraid the orchs would thunderbolt through my ears suddenly from a whisper at any second) but I didn't hear any of the wild gasping and moaning everyone is so appalled over. She sounded agitated, yes. But, erm, hello, chick has got these nasty little metallic pellets embedded in her internal organs, which also exploded inside her after they riddled her body. Just sayin'.

Omi God! It's 3:26 in the morn. Night, honeybuns!!!!!!!
MSam

With regards to the instrumentation and orchestration, I'll admit I'm honestly not all that familiar with the nuts and bolts of the show's original. My first impression was the orchestration in this person was very vibrant and powerful, but as you say..I've had my headphones up (blasting the music Smile ) and haven't been observing as closely.

Quote:
But, erm, hello, chick has got these nasty little metallic pellets embedded in her internal organs, which also exploded inside her after they riddled her body. Just sayin'.

LOL...I love it. Laughing
Quique

Hope you didn't think I was referring to you or anyone else on this board. I read your review and thought it was lovely and agree with a lot of what you wrote. Smile

I was referring mostly to postings on a certain forum where any negative comment on this tour, never mind if it's well written and backs-up its claims, is met with an almost creepy defensiveness. And the most thorough, detailed positive review/comment on there to date consists of "It's GREAT!!!!!" "Best version ever!!!!" without a single word as to how/why. The one or two lengthy positive reviews read more like rebuttals to the meanies who had neg things to say or stuff like, "the orchestrations are amazing. They are full, clear, and better than the machine they use at the Queens."

Erm, large orchestras and sound systems are clear and full. Orchestrations support and help illustrate, punctuate, carry, emotions and paint musical landscapes and release musical auras that set distinct moods. Commenting on orchs by saying they're clear and full tells me the schmo thinks orchestrations = number of musicians.

Um, no.
The Pirate King

Will definitely be getting this when it's available. A new English language recording of the show is definitely welcome!
PureDiamondLight

Thanks for the detailed review, Quique. Full marks for infomativeness and extra bonus points for entertainment value Wink

I'll be looking forward to listening to the new recording. The orchestrations sound... interesting. Definitely varied, which could be a big win... or a big fail. Too much varitation can make a work bitty and incomplete-sounding.

As long as they don't mess around too much with either the violin solo in Bring Him Home, or the oboe solo after the Final Battle. Btw, do they do the full verse of BHH after the Final Battle, or just the second half and the bridge? I've heard it both ways and prefer the full version, but appreciate that it would be a bit slow on stage with a whole verse. I'll have to listen and see.
Orestes Fasting

The way they did the oboe solo live on the tour, not only does it not have the full verse, there's a bit missing from the last verse (after the bridge). It's not enough to bring you out of the moment unless you know the show really well, but it gave me a moment of "wait, they don't normally do that cut, do they?" I don't think it sounds quite right.
Ulkis

Quote:
Actually, you can hear him mumbling "oh no, no, no, Eponine, I love you more than Cosette, blah blah blah". It's infuriating and really detracts from the music.


I so dislike hystrionics at the end of that song. I'd rather Marii just hug her tightly and not say anything.

Still . . . not as bad as Orson Welles as Valjean crying out "NO!!! FANTINE!!! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HER?? IS SHE DEAD??"

(This was in a radio program from the 30s. It was hilarious.)
PureDiamondLight

Orestes Fasting wrote:
The way they did the oboe solo live on the tour, not only does it not have the full verse, there's a bit missing from the last verse (after the bridge). It's not enough to bring you out of the moment unless you know the show really well, but it gave me a moment of "wait, they don't normally do that cut, do they?" I don't think it sounds quite right.


grrr. I think that section is one of the most moving in the musical... but not if it's been so chopped up. Humph. Rolling Eyes
Eppie-Sue

PureDiamondLight wrote:
grrr. I think that section is one of the most moving in the musical... but not if it's been so chopped up. Humph. Rolling Eyes

Not intending to spoil anything here (and I know it doesn't technically belong in the CD thread, sorry), but as the entire scene is quite different anyway, what with Enjolras (and Gavroche) being pulled off-stage on a cart by the soldiers, without any grace or beauty or dignity, the music couldn't add that emotion anyway, I suppose. The way it's done, it's more a "Aw shucks, he had it coming" moment. Of course it's a naturalistic take on it but... Just as an example - the effect is so different that, doing the same as we did in London on cast change, applauding, would feel completely wrong (not that there is any reason to applaud at that point in general). Applauding the moment in the original version (in a special and important situation) manages to underline the sublimity very well. As there is not a hint of that greatness and (admittedly, rather ironic) invulnerability of the original version in the way it's staged on tour, it would have the opposite effect: that of derision. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's just the atmosphere that's being created.
MSam

Quique wrote:
Hope you didn't think I was referring to you or anyone else on this board. I read your review and thought it was lovely and agree with a lot of what you wrote. Smile


Thanks for the kind words! Smile I was pretty sure from what you said you were just commenting on a collective whole. I agree with what you've said too - on closer inspection (at an earlier hour Laughing ) the orchestration is much the same rather than radically different. I just wanted to add it sounds quite fresh live! Smile
PureDiamondLight

Eppie-Sue wrote:
PureDiamondLight wrote:
grrr. I think that section is one of the most moving in the musical... but not if it's been so chopped up. Humph. Rolling Eyes

Not intending to spoil anything here (and I know it doesn't technically belong in the CD thread, sorry), but as the entire scene is quite different anyway, what with Enjolras (and Gavroche) being pulled off-stage on a cart by the soldiers, without any grace or beauty or dignity, the music couldn't add that emotion anyway, I suppose. The way it's done, it's more a "Aw shucks, he had it coming" moment. .


That's awful! They can't do that, it's one of the most moving moments of the whole show!!! Evil or Very Mad The first time I saw the show live I actually started sobbing at that point. It completely brings across the sublime nature of Enjolras and of his death. YOU CAN'T JUST LUG HIM OFF IN A CART!!! Don't you know that's the cherubim of Ezekiel??? *fumes*

(Although, I guess it's something to do with not having a revolving stage everywhere. But still - A CART????)
Orestes Fasting

It can be done well. The Copenhagen production had him on the cart, too, but instead of him just getting wheeled off by policemen, all the 'fathers of children' who had left the barricade came back and took off their caps reverentially and bore the cart offstage.

I don't fully agree with Eppie-Sue's assessment of that scene as graceless and undignified, and I didn't get any "he had it coming" vibes off it, but... Copenhagen did it better. The score calls for an epic, emotional tableau there, a last tragic salute to the barricade boys, and while the cart could work as a symbol of the revolution, the policemen aren't as effective as having the workers there.

I could see it working in a very dark production as a grim reminder of the disrespect that awaits all these young heroes after their deaths, possibly as a counterpart to the body in the sewers... but it would have to be a dark production, not a production where the Thénardiers are glorified clowns.
Vanessa20

Orestes Fasting wrote:
It can be done well. The Copenhagen production had him on the cart, too, but instead of him just getting wheeled off by policemen, all the 'fathers of children' who had left the barricade came back and took off their caps reverentially and bore the cart offstage.


Wow. Crying or Very sad *stores this in mind for the production I plan to direct someday*

Quote:
I could see it working in a very dark production as a grim reminder of the disrespect that awaits all these young heroes after their deaths, possibly as a counterpart to the body in the sewers... but it would have to be a dark production, not a production where the Thénardiers are glorified clowns.


Have I mentioned that I wish I had your brain, Orestes? You're thoughts and digressions on both the Brick and the musical are always so deep and interesting.
Quique

I wish for Orestes' brain, too.

Somehow, it's only creepy when I say it, huh? LOL.

Anyhoo! I will confess that I have yet to listen to a handful of tracks, mostly the Thenardier stuff. I already know how most of it goes unless they've changed them dramatically from the audios I've listened to already.

I didn't get a chance to really get a feel for the cast as my ears were glued to the orchs. From what I did get out of the initial listening was I'm iffy about Robyns' Enjolras. Not that he's bad, just miscast. And it's not really about not fitting the cookie-cutter portrayal, you know, booming Warlow voice and all that. But I'll have to listen to it again.

Gates' Marius is good from what I got. Only I noticed there is this tendency to cast dudes with higher voices and who are generally very boyish and sheepish lately. I don't mind it, even if I am used to the conventional GQ, stud Hugh Panaro/Adam Jacobs/Craig Rubano style Marii, hehe.

I've mentioned before that I like James' Eponine. Not a favorite but I like her voice and the riffs don't bother me. Owen Jones is a satisfying Valjean as is Earl's Javie.

EDIT: Btw, a friend commented yesterday after reading my thoughts that he thought I loved the 80's synth heard at the top of the show. And I was like, but I DO! I love it.

Apparently he didn't catch my sarcasm and thought I was putting the synth down, calling it old and nasty. In case anyone thought the same thing, for the record, I adore that synth and think it is amazing of them to have kept it in. It has become an iconic Les Mis sound. It's atmospheric and gritty and just FABULOUS.
santsprz

how is the cd booklet? does it contains photos?
Quique

I wouldn't know. I don't have a factory-pressed copy as of yet. But I will definitely pay what ever it costs when it goes on sale. It's a good album and worth adding to the collection.
mastachen

santsprz wrote:
how is the cd booklet? does it contains photos?


Yes. It contains photos and articles. All of which could also be found in the big program book which I also bought. -_- Felt like I wasted a lot of money on that 6 lb. program.
PureDiamondLight

Orestes Fasting wrote:
It can be done well. The Copenhagen production had him on the cart, too, but instead of him just getting wheeled off by policemen, all the 'fathers of children' who had left the barricade came back and took off their caps reverentially and bore the cart offstage.


Ah. Well that's totally different... it brings out a different but still emotional aspect of his death.
I guess that the Copenhagen production brings across the respect Enjolras' character needs to be treated with (I'm thinking almost like Christ's disciples taking him away for burial, yes? Which could be extremely moving), whereas the tour production treats him as just another character. I haven't seen either version so I may be mistaken, but that's how the two versions compare in my head. Razz

I agree that having E. hauled off unceremoniously could be immensely tragic... but it would have to be very carefully done.
Eppie-Sue

PureDiamondLight wrote:
I agree that having E. hauled off unceremoniously could be immensely tragic... but it would have to be very carefully done.

See, having him wheeled off is tragic, but I'm not sure that this is the image his death should present. The flagwaving itself looks rather unimpressive with quite a small flag and quite a small barricade, and what with him not standing on the highest point in the middle, etc., and then he's lying on the cart... and I'd even kind of like the image of the cart if it had been there in DYHTPS, with all the glory and pride of that scene, Gavroche and Enjolras with the red flag. I'm even surprised it's not there on the tour - they just rather unceremoniously march off stage - because at least with that added, it would create an arch in direction and staging. To have them on there for this glorious, great moment, and then once again, dead. But even then, I don't think the statement of the scene is right in any way. If it's the fathers that were sent away at "Dawn of Anguish", that's a completely different situation, but like this it's just complete defeat and bitter realism, which Hugo might have been going for with many scenes in the Brick, but definitely not with Enjolras's death, still standing upright and making the soldiers step back when they face his beauty and dignity. There is no dignity and sublimity in being wheeled off in the very back of the stage, although, obviously, that's what naturally would have happened. I know that the moment in the original production takes people's breath away, with good reason, but on the tour, it just seems a lot like the "they were schoolboys never held a gun" resignation of "Turning" (and don't get me started on that song being sung by women dressed in big, expensive dresses and a little girl 'turning' between them while they're putting grave candles on the ground).
PureDiamondLight

Eppie-Sue wrote:
I'd even kind of like the image of the cart if it had been there in DYHTPS, with all the glory and pride of that scene, Gavroche and Enjolras with the red flag. I'm even surprised it's not there on the tour - they just rather unceremoniously march off stage - because at least with that added, it would create an arch in direction and staging. To have them on there for this glorious, great moment, and then once again, dead.


Oh dear. At the moment I'm kind of glad I haven't seen the tour... it seems like they're just trying new things for the sake of it. The repetition of the cart idea could be very moving, you're right, if no revolving stage was available - like the reflection of the way E waves the flag as he is shot, and is then lying on top of it as the barricade turns around. It would have the same emotional quality to it, even in the unearthly-ness was missing.

Quote:
but like this it's just complete defeat and bitter realism, which Hugo might have been going for with many scenes in the Brick, but definitely not with Enjolras's death, still standing upright and making the soldiers step back when they face his beauty and dignity. There is no dignity and sublimity in being wheeled off in the very back of the stage.


Precisely.
Orestes Fasting

Oh--I forgot they didn't use the cart in DYHTPS on the tour. That rather destroys the symbolism, doesn't it?

I still don't think it was entirely failed, though. It may not be as spectacular as the original, but the basic idea remains: the swell in the music is accompanied by the barricade moving to reveal Enjolras' body draped over the flag. You still get a few moments to contemplate him before the policemen wheel him off--IIRC about the same amount of time as you get in the original before the barricade turns back around.

There are things that could be tightened up, of course. The lighting could be more dramatic (although the entire second act was very badly lit and this is just part of the pattern). The transition between "behold the fallen hero of the crushed revolution" and "here come the policemen to dispose of the body" could have been more sharp. But the general idea is sound and not too far off from the original, and it's not like Javert is particularly respectful towards the students' dead bodies in the original staging either, or like there's no bitter realism with the body in the sewers.

Obviously if you want to find it disrespectful and anticlimactic it can be read that way. It's even easy to make it look ridiculous if you want to--the Monty Python "bring out your dead" jokes practically write themselves. But the same goes for a lot of the original staging (down to the Monty Python jokes; see the Dead Revolutionary Sketch).

There was just no way to do this scene in a way comparable to the original staging in a production where entrances and exits don't happen by revolving-stage magic. They kept the basic idea, but they needed a way to get Enjolras offstage, and they decided to do that with a slightly grim reminder of how bodies were disposed of. It's a bit of a shock when we're used to the untainted majesty of the barricade swinging around to reveal his body, but nothing Hugo would've disapproved of IMO--this is the man who wrung a perverse metaphor out of Fantine being buried in a mass grave.
Eppie-Sue

I just think that there is great significance to the way Hugo presents Enjolras's death in the novel. All the other students are really just killed off. I think there are few of us who have never despaired upon only reading the lines "Bossuet was killed; Feuilly was killed; Courfeyrac was killed; Joly was killed; Combeferre, pierced by three bayonet-thrusts in the breast, just as he was lifting a wounded soldier, had only time to look to heaven, and expired." - and that's it. That's all they get. And I always thought the last passage of the "barricades" part of the novel, the last paragraph of the "Orestes Fasting and Pylades Drunk" chapter, captured this sentiment once again, how everyone is killed and clings to life, about the "cries, shots, savage stamping".
And then, right there, in the middle, you've got this long chapter, only focussing on Enjolras and being carried out with calmness and dignity. And I loved that the musical, in a way, presented it the same way, because it's true, Javert is not respectful when he searches through the bodies, Thenardier does drag the dead student body through the sewers - but not Enjolras. It's a completely different atmosphere, and I felt that it mirrored the way Hugo wrote those last barricade chapters.
PureDiamondLight

Orestes Fasting wrote:


I still don't think it was entirely failed, though. It may not be as spectacular as the original, but the basic idea remains: the swell in the music is accompanied by the barricade moving to reveal Enjolras' body draped over the flag. You still get a few moments to contemplate him before the policemen wheel him off--IIRC about the same amount of time as you get in the original before the barricade turns back around.


Ah. This I did not know. That improves it quite a bit in terms of highlighting and separating Enjolras from the rest of the deaths. I was picturing him just being towed off on a cart, no body lying on the flag etc. No wonder it seemed unceremonious!! As long as the moment retains some sense of the ethereal serenity of Orestes Fasting, Pylades Drunk, I'm fairly happy. Smile
Eppie-Sue

He was lying on the flag? I couldn't see that from where I was sitting, it was so far back. And it did seem unceremonious to me, as all I could see was really just him being towed off on the cart, as much as I hate to sound so very negative about it. It was the opposite of what I felt the moment should embody, the swelling of the music rather symbolising the despair and tragedy and defeat of that moment (which, of course, it naturally is, but not in terms of what it should present dramatically), nothing beautiful or grand or etheral about it at all.

ETA: "Lovely Ladies" isn't up yet, is it? I felt like that was where the new orchestrations really came through and made it quite painful to listen to the whole song. There are parts where I quite like them and where they complement the scene, for example the Prologue, where I do think that they're very gripping and fascinating and work for the tour staging. But Lovely Ladies... or Javert's Suicide... eh.
Ulkis

Quote:
(and don't get me started on that song being sung by women dressed in big, expensive dresses and a little girl 'turning' between them while they're putting grave candles on the ground).


That sounds quite bad. But I don't think anyone who has tried to do something new during Turning has succeeded.
Thom_Boyer

The album has just gone up for pre-order on Amazon UK, for those of us who can't make it down to see the tour. They're listing the street date as 13 Sept., but these things can often move a couple weeks in either direction, especially seeing as it's just been listed. Link here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mis%C3%A9rables-Live-Dream/dp/B003Y73F6W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280896990&sr=1-1
pastaeater

Eppie-Sue wrote:
He was lying on the flag? I couldn't see that from where I was sitting, it was so far back. And it did seem unceremonious to me, as all I could see was really just him being towed off on the cart, as much as I hate to sound so very negative about it. It was the opposite of what I felt the moment should embody, the swelling of the music rather symbolising the despair and tragedy and defeat of that moment (which, of course, it naturally is, but not in terms of what it should present dramatically), nothing beautiful or grand or etheral about it at all.


Couldn't agree more. For me the scene was so anti-climatic as to be almost comical, in a horrible sort of way. To see the cart being towed off, and the body bumping along slightly in the cart...........ugh.
Vanessa20

Amazon UK wrote:
Les Misérables Live! - Dream The Dream


So not only are they using the cash-in-on-Boyle "Dream the Dream" slogan, they're calling it "Les Mis Live!"?? Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

Cameron, please stop treating this show like "Mamma Mia" or "Hairspray"! I know it's your cash cow, but what would Hugo think? At least when the tour of "RENT" started being promoted as "RENT Live!" they had an excuse: a movie version existed and they probably wanted to make it clear that this was the stage version, not a showing of the movie. But with "Les Mis," it feels like they're just calling it that to make it sound cool.
mastachen

Maybe it's called "live" because the recording is a live recording of the show.
Ulkis

Quote:
Cameron, please stop treating this show like "Mamma Mia" or "Hairspray"! I know it's your cash cow, but what would Hugo think?


If that dude cared what Hugo thought even the original musical would not resemble itself at all.
PureDiamondLight

Vanessa20 wrote:
Amazon UK wrote:
Les Misérables Live! - Dream The Dream


So not only are they using the cash-in-on-Boyle "Dream the Dream" slogan, they're calling it "Les Mis Live!"??


I hate the fact that they use the dubious fame of Susan Boyle to publicise Les Mis now. It annoys me, because it implies that the musical is only as good as she was. I mean, she wasn't bad, but she wasn't that brilliant, and the musical is really something outstanding. It deserves better than to be connected in people's minds to "that woman from Britain's Got Talent", and to have to rely on her for publicity.

GRRR.
Orestes Fasting

mastachen wrote:
Maybe it's called "live" because the recording is a live recording of the show.


You speak truth.

Honestly, it's nothing new. If the hokey TAC "Dream Cast" advertising were appearing now instead of fifteen years ago, it would probably get ripped apart by the fans as exploitative and commercial.
Quique

^ Too true.

It was never something I felt passionate about but I did find the "Dream Cast" label slightly annoying at the time.

Everything about the show--including artwork--matters to me. So I naturally have an opinion. Mr. Green The new recording's cover art isn't too bad. Tacky, yes, but not garish. I always liked the Star Wars logo design. XD

We are lucky to have "tacky" nowadays after all they've done to the poor show, lol.

Personally, I'd have gone with:

Les Miserables

The New 25th Anniversary Production

Live at Manchester's Palace Theatre.

Wordy, yes. Tacky, no. LOL.
Roseinmisery

Vanessa20 wrote:
Amazon UK wrote:
Les Misérables Live! - Dream The Dream


So not only are they using the cash-in-on-Boyle "Dream the Dream" slogan, they're calling it "Les Mis Live!"?? Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes


I really hate that. I can't watch videos of Ruthie on youtube without people saying Susan Boyle is better. I mean WTF? I like Susan Boyle a lot. She is interesting because she has shown us, the general public, how superficial we are as a society. And she has a nice voice. But saying she is better than Ruthie or Lea or Kerry is just plain wrong. Now everyone thinks of her rather than Fantine whenever they hear IDAD. IDAD is about a woman who had hopes, loves and dreams that were crushed by her situation not about a middle aged woman from Scotland who was initially snubbed by Simon Cowell in a reality TV show.

Sorry about that. Mini rant over.
Vanessa20

I agree that it's annoying when people say that Boyle is better than Ruthie, Lea, et al (and even more annoying when they say she captures the song's emotion better than they do - that's just nonsense).

But one thing I like about the whole situation is that it's brought a little more attention to the character of Fantine. I've never liked the fact that so much of the fandom tends to snub her in popularity. Yes, she may have a less interesting personality as Eponine (I'm taking about the Brick here as well as the musical, maybe more so), but you can't deny that she's just as tragic and technically more important to the story. If there's one good thing about the whole Boyle/IDAD fandom, it's that it's gotten Fantine a little more recognition.

(Though why should a person like me ever care whether the majority of a musical's fandom ignores one fictional character or not? I guess that's a fangirl for you. Laughing )
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