Customer Reviews: Les Miserables: The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall
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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.
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on February 20, 2008
Wow, I have waited forever for this concert to be released on DVD, I have worn out two VHS tapes, and I can't express my disapointment. It arrived today and my wife and I disconected the phones and prepared to watch on our new 1080p with a Blu-Ray player. The DVD is very grainy a lot of the time, like looking through a screen, much of the time there are ghosts around the actors. It appears to be simply a copy of the VHS with no enhancement. It has been edited, for instance Gavroche's song exposing Javert to the students has been shortened, the entire part between the end of the concert and the entrance of the international Jean Valjeans has been cut. (It may be on the second disc, but if it is then the "additional material" is misleading) In this day of digital enhancement there is no excuse for this poor quality, my old VHS is superior. The sound track is not enhanced at all. I will only hope someone will eventually offer a real quality DVD of this great, great event.
Post Script to my original review: I just rented the 1996 version DVD from netflix and it is superb, all of the criticisms I made of the 2008 DVD are much better on this version. I heartily suggest you get on the inter-net and locate this 1996 DVD. This is DEFINITELY the dream cast!!
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on May 26, 2008
While it is nice to have this on DVD, with a widescreen picture, it isn't enough to make up for the poor quality of everything else that comes along with this release. In fact, the video quality isn't better in any way to the original VHS release.

Les Mis is one of my favourite musicals and I listen to the concert CD soundtrack all the time. I was looking forward to getting this on DVD so that I could watch it with DVD quality audio, which would be a vast improvement over the original VHS release. Boy, was I ever wrong with that assumption.

The audio is embarassingly terrible, with actual distortion in the mix. The original 2CD soundtrack to the concert sounds infinitely better, so there is no excuse for a new DVD release to actually sound worse. Somehow, they managed it with this.

And the commemorative booklet that comes inside is a joke! Grainy screenshots and the same old regurgitated text does not a commemorative booklet make. Once again the packaging doesn't live up to the CD packaging, which came with a marvelous booklet that was truly special.

And then there is the issue of footage being cut out which is, quite simply, a blunder of the highest order. Skip this, send the message that this travesty of a release should not be tolerated.
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on February 19, 2008
I absolutely love this concert! It has some wonderful music, and the very best singers around. I own the original DVD and am very happy with it. The reason I bought this copy was because it was in widescreen format, and I hoped it would offer a better viewing experience - to make you feel more like you were there. It accomplishes this nicely! Unfortunately, there is an error in the video transfer and a small section of singing is omitted. In the section where Gavroche (the little boy) exposes Javert as a spy, and sing's "Little People" - the part of the song where he sings, "Good evening Inspector, lovely evening my dear...his name's Inspector Javert" this whole section has been left out - and it is quite obvious! I thought maybe it was a defect on my copy but I have seen another copy and this same error is present. Maybe I'm too picky, but I expect perfection when it comes to my DVD's, and this is just too careless a mistake on the publisher's part.
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on May 8, 2009
My wife and I both share a love of Les Mis - the story, the staging and the music. We have had a VHS copy of the 1995 Anniversary Concert for some time and just jumped at the opportunity to get a digitally produced DVD to view on our new wide screen set.

We jumped too fast - believing that the other reviewers were perhaps too critical of the DVD quality. The worst is true - they may have been too kind.

Not only does the DVD version lack the enhanced clarity we have come to expect from digital recordings - it also has technical flaws in the recording which causes occasional gaps and jumps in the video and audio. It very honestly provides no better quality than our VHS version and has the additional technical flaws mentioned - on all DVD players I have tried it on.

I am disappointed in BBC for the quality - and disappointed in Amazon for continuing to distribute an article of such poor quality that it seems to have been poorly dubbed like a quick ripoff!

I would gladly pay BBC several times the current purchase price for a high quality reproduction of the original concert. I am sure I am not alone. C'mon Amazon - don't you have any influence on your suppliers?

BBC could make this right by replacing our terrible concert DVD.
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on May 29, 2009
I am a Texas country boy who likes good old country music. My review will not be from a life long experience listening to musicals and going to plays. This story touched my soul like nothing I have ever experienced before. The words of the songs give me hope that there is more to eternity than just what we have here and now. I have watched this performance so many times in the past 2 months that I will probably have to go buy another copy. The most remarkable change in me is I want to go to New York and see some plays and experience this missing part of my life. Ruthie Henshall's I dreamed a dream is so much of what life has been for 62 years now. I wish I were a good reader and could tackle the book by Hugo. It would take me a year. How poignant Les Miserables is even today 2009. If I ever get a chance and the play comes to our country,,, no matter where, I will be there. God bless all these wonderfully talented people.
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on March 19, 2009
I have the original and this. I couldn't wait for this to come out thinking it would be greatly improved with todays technology. This is worse than the original DVD offered years ago. I thought for sure the picture would be sharper and it isn't. The sound is only acceptable. Listening to Dolby 2.0 in 2009 is like listening to a worn out 8 Track tape vs. digital surround sound. What's the point? Not offering this in 5.1 in this day and age is ridiculous. My daughter has Barney DVD's with better sound. It seems the only goal here was to get it back on the market to make more money, not a better product.

Here is a suggestion. If your local library has DVD's, go there and see if you can find the original and check it out. You'll be glad you did and it's free. Or worse case you can view this one if they have it without wasting your hard earned money.
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on March 8, 2009
Les Miserables - The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall This is a travesty. I have a DVD of this concert but my friends gave me this one. Why would you cut out so much of the concert that the story made no sense? I have attended this show many times and have several recordings. This is the only one that is poor. You can tell that it was remastered in some way from the previous recording. It is terrible.
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on February 20, 2008
This IS a great performance of the musical, but do note that this is not a new release of this production. A DVD with this same production was released a number of years ago when they were not able to double layer a DVD way they current do, i.e., with this one you can see the entire performance without having to flip over the DVD (Nice!).

Also this DVD comes with an extra documentary about the "making of the performance". I am not sure if there are any other extras.

The performance itself is not a fully staged production, but very nicely presented with the performers standing at stage front in costume. The final encore with 17 different Valjeans from world wide productions singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" in their native language is truly memorable and "worth the price of admission".

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I am so glad I bought this DVD before buying the 25th anniversary concert - it is fantastic and the cast is infinitely better! I've read other reviews about the quality of the 10th Anniversary DVD but I think the picture and sound are fine. I bought this about two months ago when I saw that the 25th anniversary concert had been released. I purchased this concert because I saw that Colm Wilkinson was Jean Valjean and I had seen him in the live musical in London in 1991 and he will forever be the definitive Jean Valjean to me. Also, the end of the performance with many different actors who portrayed Jean Valjean in different countries around the world joining Colm Wilkinson on stage to sing "Do you hear the people sing" together with lines from all their native languages is stunningly beautiful and moving. The entire ensemble of actors really is a dream cast (with the possible exception of Ruthie Henshall as Fantine - she was very good but I did miss Patti Lupone who I think was an amazing Fantine in London and on Broadway). However, that small nitpick aside, the cast is just stand-out after stand-out. Particularly spectacular performances are given by Phillip Quast as Javert and the absolute delight of Alun Armstrong as Thenardier - his rendition of "Master of the House" is a truly joyful experience that should not be missed by anyone who is a true fan of the musical - the entire stage of actors who are behind Alun as he sings that song are visibly delighted and enjoying his rendition of that song as much as the audience. Conversely, the 25th Anniversary edition concert is a true disappointment - the cast is just not as strong all the way across the board. I am a person who LOVES the live musical - I've seen it twice in London and twice on Broadway and if you're like me and are just a true fan of the musical, the 10th Anniversary dream cast concert is a must. It is a joy to watch and makes me happy and inspired every time I watch it and I really believe others will feel the same way!
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