A performance of Les Miserables by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, for a 10th Anniversary Concert celebration.
Les Miserables has been a long time favorite of mine. I was a huge fan of book by Victor Hugo during my youth, and I’ve been equally as enthused about the musical all 3 times I have seen it. I’m not alone in my love for this musical though, as it’s been seen by over 51 million people worldwide.
The only problem I have with this release is that it doesn’t have the filmed version of the play included in addition to the concert recording. I actually purchased the original 10th anniversary edition on VHS several years back, not really playing attention to the fact that it had the word “concert” in the title. I naturally expected it to be a recording of the play itself. I was extremely disappointed when viewing it and discovering that it was indeed just a concert. The actors would simply walk to their microphones, sing, and then return to their seats. Viewers were also constantly teased with images and brief clips from the play collaged throughout the concert. However, with this release, I knew what to expect, so I went into it with a different mindset. While it is the same recording that I purchased years ago, it’s now available on DVD and has some special features that make it worth the purchase for any Les Miserables fan.
The DVD is definitely spectacular and the singing is everything a musical lover would dream of. However, I would have liked to see the actual play included as well. Perhaps a future release will see this included. Accompanying the concert on this release, there is also a documentary which takes a look at how the musical came to be from beginning stages all the way through its successful 10th anniversary. You also get a little commemorative booklet which is only about 8 pages. It provides several photos and gives you a brief overview of the story that the play follows, which does differ a reasonable amount from the book. All major storylines are kept intact, however.
What’s so amazing about this concert was that it was performed at the Royal Albert Hall with over 250 performers from casts around the world who accompanied the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. If that’s not enough to dazzle you, the climax of the performance hits a high note when the finale featuring 17 Valjeans from productions around the globe are featured singing in their native languages. Keep a blanket nearby, you’ll have chills.
Review by Emma Loggins