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on 11 August 2010
I saw the new production of Les Miserables at the Lowry in Salford last night where I picked up the CD and also saw it in March. The original production I have also seen in Manchester, London and New York.
I have had the original CD for many years and have loved it. However it was recorded before changes were made to the show and some parts are missing while others are included that are no longer in the show.
This CD however is for me the definitive version. It was recorded live in Manchester earlier this year (an added bonus) and the performances throughout are very strong particularly from Eponine, Jean Valjean, Javert and Enjolras.
The orchestrations are very different, much bigger sounding and the timing is different which adds to improve the show. The photos in the booklet give a good impression of how the new show looks and comments are included from various people involved with Les Mis over the years.
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on 30 October 2010
A must have for any Les Mis fans. Having seen the 2010 show at the theatre, it is wonderful being able to relive the show. Had my doubts about Gareth Gates as Marius. Could only picture him as a 'pop singer'. How wrong I was. He was surprisingly good. I had intended to buy this cd at the theatre but a made a big saving by buying from Amazon. As this is a live cd, there is some applause but this didn't detract from the overall enjoyment. You must buy this, you wont regret it.
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on 22 August 2010
This CD is absolutley magical and captures the show at its best having been recorded live on stage earlier in the year.A really amazing buy(I paid the full price of 20 pounds for mine)While the original London cast CD is purely just the songs this CD has all the recititieve(sing speaking)that I adore. All the cast have stunning voices and the sound quality is sublime. If you've seen the show then this is a spectacular souviner if not then this is probably the best way to get the Les Mis experience from, in my opinion if not the best then certainly one of the best Les Mis productions and casts ever!
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on 11 September 2012
I've been a fan of Les Mis for many years and own 7 cast recordings in 3 languages. This is not a perfect recording, but it is very good and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

The Good:

It is a live recording, which I feel is less sterile than a studio recording, but some might be distracted by the enthusiastic audience and the slight distant quality that comes with it. It's also the only recording in English with the post-1997 changes and the new orchestrations (of which I am a fan, myself).

In terms of the cast, John Owen-Jones alone is worth the price of admission. The man is a legend and this is the only legal recording of his Valjean available. He lives up to the reputation.

Katie Hall's Cosette has a very sweet voice, and is never shrill, unlike in some other recordings. Cosette is a difficult character to make likable, but she is lovely here.

Gareth Gates (Marius) is the big surprise in this album for me. He is not Michael Ball, but he is a capable singer and a good fit for Marius, definitely a better fit than Nick Jonas was in the 25th anniversary concert. He comes off as very young and naive, and I find him endearing.

Earl Carpenter starts off as a good Javert, not standing out particularly, but not completely botching it. Then he gets to the barricade, gets angry, and I love him to bits.

The ensemble, Les Amis de l'ABC in particular, are all very enthusiastic and really shine.

The Bad and the Boring:

Madalena Alberto as Fantine and Rosalind James as Eponine have very "pop" voices and a tendency to slide their notes. James in particular just sounds out of place in this sort of musical and makes some odd choices in emphasis. Alberto is still a decent Fantine, but James is one my least favourite Eponines.

Ashley Artus as Thenardier has a very gravelly, serious Thenardier, which isn't inherently bad, but he has little charm. Lynn Wilmot as Mme Thenardier doesn't stand out particularly.

Jon Robyns as Enjolras simply doesn't have that commanding quality in his voice that Enjolras requires. There are moments when he grasps it for a moment, then has to belt a high note and it is lost.


This is not the definitive Les Miserables, but it is a good album with a strong cast (for the most part) and I can recommend it to both new fans and veterans. If you only want one recording, I'd instead go for the 1995 Tenth Anniversary Concert, but if you want to try something different (or you want the wonderful John Owen-Jones), this recording is very, very good.
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on 28 February 2012
If you are familiar with the Music of Les Miserables then you do not need it described. I saw the London production several times loving it more each time. This CD just serves to increase my enjoyment of this amazing musical. It seems to me a faithful representation of the stage version.
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on 1 December 2010
I ve seen many Les Miz s but not this production so my review is based solely on what I m hearing
The Bouquets...I bought it mainly for JOJ and he does not disappoint. John s magnificent voice is filled with power, passion and incredible sensitivity and although I cant see him, he brings JVJ right into my living room. Javert is really good too, and their voices blend beautifully in their duets. I m also impressed with Gareth Gates, whom I saw as a teenager on Idol. He s no Michael Ball, but his voice has a lovely quality at times, and he has a good feel for the character. The new orchestrations sound good, but arent much different from the old ones to my ears.
The Brickbats...At times it rushes along like an express train and there is a lot of yelling. If English isnt your first language, then good luck understanding some of the group singing. Fantine is just awful!! She murders I Dreamed a Dream, belting it out in a harsh and toneless voice. Her dying scene is better and her voice does have some good quality in the softer and more gentle places but there are few of them. She mostly yells her way through her role. What are the latest directors thinking in making Fantine so angry! Its only my opinion as an audience member and longtime L.Miz fan, but I see her as a young woman thoroughly cowed and beaten down by her unfortunate circumstances. Deborah Byrne in the original Sydney production got it right...she looked and sounded fragile and despairing. You could literally feel her pain.
Overall, I still enjoyed it though and in spite of the bits I didnt like, its worth buying for John Owen-Jones alone, but for anyone who doesnt know the show too well, the original London cast recording would be my recommendation.
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on 12 November 2010
I love this interpretation of the magnificent Les Miserables score. Having been to see the anniversary production several times I was delighted to learn that there was to be a recording of this very talented cast.

It's a live recording, but the quality is better than many studio versions and whoever did the mixing did a great jobt to ensure the applause only serves to invigorate the listening experience without interfering.

Les Miserables stalwarts John Owen-Jones and Earl Carpenter are excellent at Valjean and Javert, but the young cast also impresses. Gareth Gates is a delight as Marius, with a beautiful and wonderfully expressive voice, while Rosalind James is a remarkable Eponine, who gets to the core of her character, although I acknowledge her style is a bit "too modern" for some tastes.

BUT, If you want a recording that sounds exactly like the original, or the 10th anniversary recordings, then keep on listening to those, but if you love Les Miserables, or live theatre and want a great CD to add to your collection, this is a must have. If you weren't lucky enough to hear this live, the album is the very next best thing.
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on 1 November 2011
Having seen the 25th anniversary production at the Barbican last year, and the recent Alfie Boe / Matt Lucas version in July, my revived passion for Les Mis demanded that I buy this CD. I personally love the 'background' noise and the addition of recitative, it heightens the enjoyment for me, and gives a more 'theatre' feel to the music. I do agree with some other reviewers here, that Fantine is not the best, though she has a good voice, her rendition of the very important 'I dreamed a dream' is disappointing, but Eponine has always been a more contemporary casting, and she is very good. My favourite character is probably Javert, and for me Philip Quast is supreme; Earl Carpenter has an excellent voice, though a little rushed and weak in his opening lines 'Now bring me prisoner 24601' with which Quast and Lewis stamped their authority from the first note.
I was relieved to see that Marius was given to Gareth Gates and not the appalling Nick Jonas - who ever thought he could do justice to the part? - the cast of students must have looked at Jonas with amazement, any one of them is far more talented and worthy.
Jean Valjean? Alfie Boe has my heart.
Finally, the orchestration - superb, as always, the audience roar of appreciation and anticipation when the first notes boom out sends a chill down my spine every time I listen to it!
Love it.
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on 19 September 2010
I have got lots of different recordings of this show, and it is without doubt one of the best musicals ever. However people have rated this as the best version of this ever... sadly I can't agree with that opinion. People must have short memories because without a shadow of a doubt the best recording ever of Les Miserables is the 10th Anniversary cast recorded at The Albert Hall. Philip Quast, Colm Wilkinson, Michael Maguire, Michael Ball, Alun Armstrong,Ruthie Henshall, Lea Salonga, Jenny Galloway, Judy Kuhn, these are the best performers you will ever hear singing Les Mis. If you are new to Les Mis, buy the 10th anniversary recording and give this one a miss.
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on 9 February 2013
I've seen the play and the film (twice) and loved both versions. I can't get the music out of my head and the CD I already have is too 'clean' - a bit too musical theatre. I wanted to hear all the live sound of both productions, and retain the film visuals which I found so moving, and I wanted every note, and every spoken word because I think this is some of the finest composing with all its elements. This CD was the one for me - delivers perfectly and I haven't stopped listening to it since it arrived. I love the applause in between, because after all, this is a story about people. The singing is spot on - so you can really bask in the melodies.
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