on 15 June 2012
This CD is great and the only existing recording of the whole production of Les Miserables in English.
Although I absolutely adore this musical there were a few minor quibbles I had with this CD - I should say this may just be because I'm very picky when it comes to Les Mis but anyway...
Grantaire's voice was perhaps the most annoying of my problems with this CD as it was very.. I want to say rusty and catching and reminded me a bit of a cheese grater. However, I suppose this may be how Grantaire would have sounded according to the book and as he is a more minor character I can deal with this but for me Hadley Fraser (25th anniversary concert) will always be the perfect Grantaire.
I am a big fan of the West End version of Les Mis and so when I first listened to this it did annoy me a little that the ABC friends and the Cosette, in particular, pronounced things in an American way - for example Grantaire said "I am agog, I am aghaast" and Cosette - "how strange this feeling that my life's begun at lhaast, this change can people really fall in love so fhaast". However, I have to say after listening again this did not bother me quite so much.
So on to the positives of the CD; Michael Ball was of course fantastic as Marius and I absolutely loved the Gavroche (The second attack actually made me cry - embarrassing as the room was full of people). I should probably say that I was quite disappointed that, although this says it is a complete recording, Little People was actually cut short as it is in the newer version of the show - upsetting as the Gavroche was so good.
Although the Eponine was slightly odd to listen to at first - I hear she didn't speak a word of English and so learned the whole thing phonetically - her voice grew on me and her On My Own sounded a lot like Francis Ruffelle's version (kind of wispy) and you can't really go wrong with that.
So in the end my minor annoyances with this recording were outweighed by the good things and it's great to finally have it on my iPod. Here's hoping they release a new complete recording for the 50th anniversary - or maybe sooner.
on 28 February 2013
This is a wonderful and complete recording of the classic Les Miserables. Having seen productions and more recently, the movie, I have to say that this is the best I have heard, and is probably the best interpretation of the stage version in terms of musical score, recording and vocal quality. The only very tiny niggle I have is that Fantine sounds a little older than she should be, but as previously said, the vocals are amazing and so I can live with that quite easily!
All in all, a fantastic musical and worth every penny - I play it constantly (to the annoyance of my husband, who unfortunately is not a fan of musicals!)
One final point - I also purchased the film 'highlights' production.....there is a lot missing, but it reminds me so very well of the movie that I can fill in the gaps! The complete symphonic recording has everything included, so that helps as well :)
on 30 March 2013
This is a complete recording of the show, including all the recitative passages. We bought this because our son needed to rehearse a principal part for the schools' edition of the show (which is cut, slightly, from the full performance). It serves that purpose well, and much of the performance is enjoyable. There are a few exceptions. Eponine's nasal, swooping, pop-style delivery is hideous and out of character with the setting.
on 7 March 2013
This is as it says, the complete recording of the music and lyrics of the stage show Les Miserables. It has three discs and a booklet containing the libretto. Personally, although this recording benefits from Philip Quast singing the role of Javert, I prefer the 10th anniversary cd with Jenny Galloway as Madame Thenardier and other London cast members. It is still a 'must have' for a true Les Mis fan!
on 19 January 2006
This is, unfortunatly, a recording where the orchestra upstage the cast in a rather blatent fashion. The exception is "Stars" performed by Philip Quast however he is the best of a bad bunch. Valjean (Gary Morris) seems insincere and his rendition of "Bring Him Home" is positively cringe worthy compared to previous Valjeans, who play the part with the grace and maturity that Gary Morris lacks.
The one thing this CD has going for it is that it presents the show in it's entirity rather than "highlights" of the show.
If you are looking for the entire show then this is the CD for you, however, if you would prefer the show sung with the passion and talent that it deserves then go for the Les Miserables in Concert CD. Though it's only highlights, the cast is far better.
on 23 November 2007
I had to get this version in order to have the whole show. For that purpose it is good. However, many of the vocal performances are not up to scratch to the 10th Anniversary Edition, which I would recommend getting instead of this one, if you don't need every single song. There's also quite a lot of singing just off the beat, or coming in slightly late, which I just find very annoying! This is not Les Mis at its best.
on 9 August 2000
It has a lot of extras on it and they are very good, it's more in line with the book. The cast, I'm not sure of. Michael Ball and Philip Queast are excellent, the rest of the cast I might get use to. The tenth anniversary recording is a far better cast recording, but this I would say is the ultimate recording shame about some of the singers.
on 14 May 2006
I got this CD recently after listening to the OLC all my life. I was very eager to hear the whole show, and also Phillip Quast, a legendary Javert I had only caught glimpses of on 'Hey Mr. Producer', (I had not seen the TAC at the time). I was amazed!
It was strange not hearing the sudden jumps the OLC makes, (certainly a good thing), and the first thing I'll say is that the orchestrations are inspired, far better than the TAC's horrid orchestration which didn't feature a synthesizer, a surprisingly vital part of Miz's score. It just feels so full.
As for the cast, well, Quast came up trumps, though I put him on a par with Roger Allum as they play the role very differently. Morris has recieved much criticism for his performance here, but I think he is fine, and can do a moderately good impression of Colm Wilkinson, just with the occasional American pronunciation slipping in ;-).
Fantine was good but never really got...loud in 'I dreamed a dream', which didn't match the epic orchestration. Barry James was a great Thenardier, (I'll be seeing him in London soon), and though I prefer Jenny Galloway to Gay Soper she still did an admirable job. Cosette could have been much better, but Marius, (surprise, surprise, Michael Ball) and Enjorlas were great.
Which brings me to Eponine...don't get me wrong, obviousley she can sing, but as to be expected, her English is, to say the least, 'dodgy' in places. I love Francis Ruffelle on the OLC, (more so than Lea Salonga), and though she 'did well considering the situation', that shouldn't be the case on an album like this just for the sake of making it more international. This is the producers' error and I'm by no means saying that Kaho isn't talented!
Another thing that has pained me ever since I saw the show for the first time is the absence of (the proper) Little People. Yes, there's a short refrain but that's all, gone is the light hearted fun song, and I think the show could afford another three minutes added to the running time for such a great song.
The only other glitch I have with this album, and hey, this is a personal thing, but it's the accents. The majority of non-major parts are played by those from the L.A. company, and though, very strangely, I feel the accents work in the beginning section of 'Master of the House', in pieces like 'Do you hear...' it pains me to hear the US pronunciation of 'France' as opposed to the English one on the OLC and TAC.
That's just a little nitpick I have though, and otherwise this album is excellent, and frankly, whenever I listen to my OLC now, it just sounds dull. Compare 'Look Down', (Paris), on the OLC and CSR and you'll see what I mean!