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BWW Review: LES MISERABLES - THE STAGED CONCERT: THE SENSATIONAL 2020 LIVE RECORDING

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We review Les Miserables - The Staged Concert Live Recording from the 2019 production at the Gielgud Theatre

BWW Review: LES MISERABLES - THE STAGED CONCERT: THE SENSATIONAL 2020 LIVE RECORDING

Today marks the release of Les Miserables - The Staged Concert: The Sensational 2020 Live Recording. In its 35th year, the musical remains as electric as ever.

Boublil and Schonberg's iconic show has been immortalised for album format numerous times, many of which I own. The crowd's reaction to this particular all-star cast and 65+ orchestra successfully captures the epic, impactful nature of the piece and gives it additional fire.

Recorded live at the Gielgud Theatre last year, the DVD was also released earlier in the month, so both companions are now covered! Having both watched and listened to the concert now, I can vouch that the emotions seen on your TV screen more than translate to the ears when solely listening to the recording.

The cast appearing on the album include Michael Ball as Javert, Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine,Matt Lucas as Thénardier, Rob Houchen as Marius, Bradley Jaden as Enjolras, Katy Secombe as Madame Thénardier, Shan Ako as Éponine and Lily Kerhoas as Cosette.

What stood out for me on this recording, which perhaps hadn't to such an extent before, was the strength of the female characters and as such, the actresses who play them.

From Carrie Hope Fletcher's powerfully emotive "I Dreamed A Dream", to Shan Ako's soulful rendition of "On My Own" to Lily Kerhoas' sublime soprano vocals, they give truly empowering performances. Katy Secombe also never fails to entertain, and when paired with the incomparable Matt Lucas, it seems to enhance her performance further.

Alfie Boe is no stranger to the role of Jean Valjean, and because of this, I occasionally felt he was a little too laid back on the recording. However, his performance of "Bring Him Home" is world-class. It's as if he builds up to that number.

Michael Ball being cast as Javert is inspired, taking into account his history with the show as the original Marius. He plays the role well, but his vocals more often than not come over quite nasally. I believe this is a character choice, but it does affect his diction at times. His "Soliloquy" does stand out for its conviction, however.

Rob Houchen is a softly spoken/sung Marius for the most part but takes his moment to shine during "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables", and Bradley Jaden commands the stage when leading "Do You Hear The People Sing?"

A recording of epic proportions, which lovingly captures Schonberg's iconic score.

Les Miserables - The Staged Concert Live Recording available now

Photo credit: Delfont Mackintosh


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From This Author Jenny Ell