Musical Review of “Les Misérables En Concert à Paris”

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Updated: Jun 20, 2022
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Category: Art
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2022/06/20
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Les Misérables in concert retrace the key moments of the novel ‘Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo. This story is a social and philosophical fresco in four volumes that tells the story and the life course of several characters that intersect. The author tells the story of a convict, Jean Valjean (Xavier Mauconduit), who will try all his life to escape his past convict, after a prison sentence of 5 years which he was sentenced for the theft of a bread.

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He will become successively worker, entrepreneur, mayor of Montreuil, rentier gardener and hero of the Revolution. He will also be a wonderful father for Cosette (June Van der Esch). The story of these characters and those they meet over the years is taken up in song by thirty lyric and semi-operatic singers. The music is played by the Victor Hugo Symphony Orchestra under conductor Alexandra Cravero.

In 1980, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil created the musical ‘Les Misérables’. Inspired by Victor Hugo’s eponymous novel, this show is an international success. In 1985, it is the English producer Cameron Machintosh who takes the torch of the work. Remodeled for France in 1991, it is now in March 2017 that Philippe Barreau presents us his new show Les Misérables in concert in Paris and in Province. The parties taken by Philippe Barreau are different from other musicals of the same title, only texts and music are unchanged. The staging Les Misérable in concert is new: a symphonic orchestra accompanies 30 singers and sets that are reduced to plays of light.

A little confusing at first, however, we let ourselves be quickly worn and dazzle by the shades of blue, white, red. What immediately strikes at the discovery of the first songs is the simple but effective staging illustrated by an entry of artists in the middle of the stage. More than 30 artists followed one another on the stage of the theater during the showcase, during 45 minutes, to perform about 15 key songs of the show. This does not prevent the concert to work well, quite the opposite since vocally the quality is marvelous. But we can regret at this stage of the weaknesses at the theater level. Because this entry removes the poignant side of the show and all the emotion that inhabit the characters. The organization of beams of light regularly place musicians in the shade and guide our eyes to the protagonists of the beautiful novel. This judicious choice allows us to be transported mainly by the music in these twilight moments.

The orchestra sounds amazing. Every notes that they played made me feel something. They were is such harmony with the singers. Almost felt like their song were from the romantic era. The lyrics is kind of sad, as for the melody as well. But they both deliver such emotions! The staging was dynamic and really supporting of a deep interpretation of all actors. John Owen Jones, with its vocal power and sensitivity, embodies a Jean-Valjean in perfect correspondence with the character imagined by Victor Hugo: colossal, as evidenced by the epilogue that ends with a beginning. Monumental, but also moving, as he touchingly emphasized by his interpretation of Jean-Valjean’s final climb to Paradise. And what to say about Ashley Artus absolutely astounding in Thenardier: during his interventions, the actor dances, twirls, grimaces, while interacting with a number of actors, offering by that hilarious sequences that inevitably echo the comedy of Chaplin or Marx Brothers. Lawrence, younger and certainly febrile by the situation, was largely overwhelmed by the power of the interpretation of JOJ during the confrontation phases Valjean-Javert. But it seems that the actor finally gained confidence in him, thus succeeding in imposing his game by interpreting a Javert different from that of Carpenter: cunning and hateful.

Another peculiarity of Les Misérables in concert is the presence of 30 lyric and semi-operatic singers. Dressed in period costumes, they form the main visual support of the show but also one of the main assets of the show. The tracks are remarkable and the benefits of a high quality. At the sight of the many applause and ovations, the public seems fully conquered. If you are a fan of musicals, you may regret the total absence of choreography and dance. The singers’ parade in the foreground of the stage in front of fixed pickups. This is a concert version as the title says. The last highlight of this show Les misérables en concert is the presence of a lyricist: Christian Décamps. He opens the show by telling us the story of Victor Hugo’s novel. His pleasant and serious way sets the tone of the show. When comparing the book and the characters like Cosette, Marius, Valjean, Fantine, Gavroche, Eponine, Javert, Les Thenardiers … It seems fuzzy at first but then the story at the beginning of the musical takes us back to the details of the history and the whole show will then be perfectly understandable.

The character of Cosette was my favorite. I loved her fragility and purity. She is a little bit temperamental. The woman has a character, she is not just a young sweet naïve girl. In Victor Hugo, there are lots of characters who represent a lot of people. There are those people who cry quickly, who are a bit open books, who cannot hide their feelings. And she’s a bit like that, because of her childhood. She is afraid of people, afraid of love. I find it beautiful in this character so blue flower. But people like the Thénardier are my least favorite characters. They are obnoxious, even with their own children. Basically, Madame Thénardier loves her daughters and does not like her sons. Monsieur Thenardier clearly does not care about his daughter. In the second act we see this relationship with Eponine who is left for the street. They are just awful to Cosette and her sisters.

The show in itself is really beautiful. The presence of the symphony orchestra on stage gives all its dimension to the musical work. The different characters are perfectly embodied. The people who play the role of Javert and Mr. Thénardier wonderfully held to their characters. The voices are breathtaking and convey us with real emotion. The scene devoid of scenery can surprise but the magnificent light effects make us quickly forget this detail. The lights are the decor and are sufficient to themselves so the work of Roque Segovia is superb. These voices, this orchestra, this simplicity was enough to transmit to myself through the screen of my computer all the emotion of this mythical musical.

My favorite song is “J’avais rêvé”. She talks about her love interest leaving her childless. She still dreams of him. The instrumental is so simple yet so magnificent! Although the violin is dominant, the other instrument are still heard with as much tonacity. The song “Maitre Thénardier” is also very nice! The melody is very amusing and the lead singer really sound like a villain from a disney movie. The melody has some kind of oriental-middle eastern influence. The orchestra is really telling a story through their melodies and songs. However, I did not like the fact that practically every song sounds the same. One could discuss that the songs must follow a certain style because the texts were written at a certain period in time. But, I believe that an effort could have been done to make each song a little bit more original. Like the song “J’avais rêvé”; this song has its own vibe and it really demarks itself from the other songs. Overall, the music was satisfying and correlated with the story of the musical.

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Musical Review Of “Les Misérables En Concert à Paris”. (2022, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/musical-review-of-les-miserables-en-concert-a-paris/