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Great in some ways, but disspointng in others...
on February 24, 2008
This new edition of the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert (taped in 1995 at the Royal Albert Hall in London) is a welcome new edition for any person who found the original concert enjoyable and thrilling. The 2-DVD set comes in a good quality hard case with new artwork. The performances continue to be mostly excellent and one really does not miss the staging too much. There are several new positive additions to this edition. First is the wide-screen presentation of the concert. It was painfully obvious at certain points during the original release (especially the bigger numbers) that you were missing some of the singers on the sides. The new wide-screen presentation opens up the experience so you can watch the concert as it was originally taped. The second positive aspect of this issue is that the whole concert is on one side of one disk, which makes it much more convenient to watch. The third is the inclusion of the "Stage By Stage" Documentary from the late 80s tracking the recording of the Complete Symphonic Recording as a supplement on the second disk. Finally, for those who want to, you can follow along with new (optional) on-screen lyrics.
However, this edition is not without its disappointments. The first and by far the biggest disappointment is how it's only presented in stereo and not Dolby Digital 5.1 or better. Not having a digital audio option in 2008 is ridiculous and I would have greatly put up with changing disks if it meant having a better quality performance. The second disappointment is the deletion of parts of the concert previously available, which include part of "Little People" and the speeches by the creative talent behind the show at the end of the concert before the encore. Even if space was limited on the first disk, these deletions could have easily been put on the second disk as supplementary material.
So, while the concert itself continues to be quite enjoyable and there are some new additions that makes it a must have for any Les Miserable fan, there are some basic disappointments that keep this edition from being perfect.