I own 7 Les Miserables CDs, including all 4 of the English versions, and I can definitely say that this one has the dream cast. Colm Wilkinson (Valjean), Philip Quast (Javert), Ruthie Henshall (Fantine), Michael Ball (Marius) and Jenny Galloway (Madame Thenardier) are all particularly superb. Personally, I would have preferred to have seen Anthony Warlow as Enjolras, but Michael Maguire still does the job admirably.
But what sets this recording apart from the rest are the minor cast members. Every performer, from the lovely lady to the barricade student, are top notch; the chorus at the back of the hall also add the extra "oomph" to the big numbers. It is this, perhaps even more so than the main cast, that makes this recording such an unforgettable one.
The final highlight is the appearance of the Valjeans from around the world. It was such a joy to see "Do you hear the people sing?" being sung in so many different languages, and you will appreciate just how popular Les Mis is even in the non-English world.
Overall, a CD to get. If only this CD had been the complete one instead; then I can recommend this 200% over the Complete Symphonic Recording.