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The 2010 Cast Album
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$14.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on October 13, 2010
This new 2010 recording of Les Miserables provides some interesting surprises. First, it's a live recording, so there's some "extra" noises throughout, such as some odd-sounding fight sounds at the end of "The Confrontation," as well as applause from the audience. It can be slightly distracting at times, but it never really gets in the way of the performance you hear.

For someone who is used to the previous recordings, this new live album is interesting to hear. The performances are certainly well done, given how they have to compete with the classic performances everyone is used to listening to. It's hard for anyone to compete with Colm Wilkinson, but John Owen-Jones does a great job and provides a wonderful interpretation of the part. Earl Carpenter is likewise a very good Javert. The other performances are also good, but none quite stand out as amazing to me. Again, as it is a live recording, one can perhaps imagine how much of these individuals performances may be visual as well (especially the Thenardiers for example).

Now to detail the changes to the show. Like any show, Les Miz has necessarily evolved over the years. This current album gives a glimpse of the changes that have taken place for the 25th Anniversary touring production. First thing I noticed (as a former band geek) were the orchestrations. Again, being live, they don't have the full orchestra was used in either the 10th Anniversary or Complete Symphonic recordings, but you can still notice some differences. Generally, it sounds more energetic, and the pace is quicker. There are less instrumental sections (or they're shorter), likely to keep the show under 3 hours. It was nice to get a piece of the previously un-recorded "Valjean meets Cosette" scene that was added to the show in the 90s.

As for the packaging: The 2 CD-set comes with a nice insert with some nice interviews/essays about the 25 years of Les Miz. Also, they appear to have wanted to put as much music in as possible to fit into the CDs (and they got most of it). Although I wonder in this digital age, why not have a fuller "deluxe" edition for download?

Overall, I give this recording 4 stars. It's great to get a new fresh take on the show, and it's overall great to listen to (good example being "One Day More.") As someone who grew up with the classic recordings (Complete Symphonic and the 10th Anniversary being my faves), this will never be my favorite recording of Les Miz, but it still stands on its own and is a valuable addition to any Les Miserables collection.
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on October 21, 2015
I've seen Les Mis live over 19 times, ranging back to 1989. I've got all of the English recordings and quite a few of the international cast albums. This is the latest edition for that collection, and overall I have to say it's a strong entry. It's nice to get a new and different take on the show with up-to-date recording quality and fresh voices.

The Good:
-Sound quality is terrific
-The cast is, overall terrific. I'd say it beats out the Complete Symphonic Cast. Owens-Jones and Alberto easily beat out Morris and Byrne as Valjean and Fantine, respectively. Earl Carpenter is excellent as Javert, almost as good as Quast. I miss Barry James' Thenardier a bit, but I seem to be in the minority in preferring his sinister portrayal over the more clownish ones. The CSR wins out on Enjorlas and Marius, but who could possibly beat Warlowe and Ball in these parts? Nobody. Rosalind James' is certainly adequate as Eponine, but neither her nor Shimada compare to the original portrayer, Francis Ruffelle.
-The revamped orchestrations in many parts are quite effective and punch up the aging score for the show. BUT SEE BELOW!

The Bad:
-It's live, and you have audience applause included in the recording. I wish they'd been able to edit this out.
-The revamped orchestrations in many, many critical parts are decidedly not effective, often sounding thin and less-inspiring. Javert's two solos, "Stars" and "Soliloquy" suffer the most from this.
-It's not the complete show, as it's been cut much like the anniversary concerts for this recording. I understand why, but I would prefer a full recording for once. Even the CSR isn't *entirely* complete!

Overall, however, it's a great recording of a great show, and not to be missed by those who love it.
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on January 14, 2018
Not what I expected. I thought it would the cast from the 2010 concert with Alfie Boa and Samantha Barks. It is OK
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on April 29, 2013
John Owen-Jones is a delight as usual. The intimacy and expressiveness of his singing is sometimes overlooked. The wonderful and effortless sounds he can create are what immediately catches the eye, or rather the ear! But this album further reminds of his dramatic ability. He pulls us into the story from the word go, he knows how to turn music into an adventure, no an odyssey. His Jean Valjean is initially filled with more rage than any other performer I am acquainted with, John really shows us how close this person was to losing his way (and life) forever without the bishop’s intervention. His warm, richly-colored voice can also be incredibly delicate, in the epilogue he is absolutely beautiful vocally and emotionally. I have always felt that of all the Jean Valjeans I have seen John was the most tender to Cosette, especially in the scenes of her childhood. I believe him more as a father. Its a sensitive and vivid performance. While seeing Colm Wilkinson take to the stage again at the top of his game in a full production would be ideal, by the standards of a cast album to listen to… it doesn’t get much better than this. I have fallen in love with JOJ’s Valjean. He is perfect for the role. I think for *this generation* there is no other Jean Valjean, including Alfie Boe.

Earl Carpenter was brilliant. There has probably never been a more "subtle" Javert. His clear voice is acerbic and insinuating with an almost aristocratic reserve in this performance. He conveys a sense of perplexity yet fascination with the mystery of Jean Valjean. His final soliloquy is also very disturbing. Earl is a great character actor and jack-of-all-trades. When deciding whether or not to purchase this album I knew if he was added to the melting pot he would do nothing but complement all other performers, and so he does. The scenes he is in are alive and dynamic. It feels more like I am watching a film than listening to music playing when he arrives.

While there are many great Jean Valjeans and Inspector Javerts, there is something unusual about the pairing of John and Earl, they have a unique chemistry together when they perform, and I think of all productions I have seen they are able to simply match and play off of each other best. That is something to be said, and why I have focused my review on them, because the strength of the performances in these two roles glues any production together, even with other shortcomings. Luckily there were not many serious problems with this version that they needed to make up for! The supporting cast was just about right, they helped bring to life the world and make me believe I was in the thick of it all, down to the extras. It was a nice group effort.
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on January 18, 2013
I first bought this when I saw the restaged production in 2011. I listened to it once, then fell back to either the original Broadway cast or the Complete Orchestral recordings. After the movie came out, I started listening to this edition. You know what? It's wonderful. The live recording really captures the feeling of being at an actual performance. The crowd cheers and applauds when the orchestra launches into the prologue. Can you blame them? They're about to see Les Miz!

This recording has so much energy because of the acting and the audience. Some other reviewers have complained about side noise distracting from the singing, but I disagree. That captured dialogue makes the story easier to follow and separates the characters from each other in my mind. I can visualize the actors on stage as I listen.

I don't know if it will remain so, but right now this is my favorite Les Miz recording.
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on November 7, 2010
To really get my review, one must know my relationship to the musical that is Les Miserables. I fell in love with this as a child, back before CDs, when my parents brought home a cassette tape of the biggest songs from the show. I literally wore that tape out from listening to it so much. I own the Original London Cast recording and also the DVD of Les Miserables in concert.

It is with no small experience as a connoisseur of the show that I write this simple and concise review:

It was like I was hearing it for the first time.


As for a summary... The orchestrations are fuller and amazing. Some of the singing was sacrificed to add acting instead. "Talky" parts were cut out.

Somehow, this recording is darker and more full of emotion. Possibly because of the increased focus on acting as opposed to singing a pretty aria. On the flip side of that, some bits seems to jump around a little because of the lack of "talky" bits.

Also, electric guitar in "Look Down." Just sayin'.
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on October 24, 2010
I have been following the news of the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Mis, and I was excited to see this "Live!" recording. When I got the CDs, I was surprised that none of the pictures of the characters looked like the actors/singers performing in the concert, and when I looked at the cast list, I realized this was not the concert, as I thought. I guess I get to keep looking forward to that recording. :-)

That said, this 25th Anniversary London Cast recording is phenomenal! It didn't have anyone that I had heard of before (and I like it when they do that), and almost everyone did an incredible job with their part. The only weak link, in my opinion, was the person who played Thénardier, who seemed to have trouble carrying a tune. Since I haven't heard him in anything else, I'm not sure if that was normal for him, or if it was a directorial choice. If any character would have trouble singing, it would be Thénardier. He definitely makes up for his inability to sing with his excellent acting, which shines forth even in the recording. Fortunately, neither Eponine nor Gavroche got their singing ability from their father, as they both did an amazing job!

I highly recommend this recording, but gave it four stars for 2 reasons: the packaging makes it sound too much like it's the 25th anniversary concert (which I'm sure was unintentional), and because of Thénardier.
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on November 20, 2013
Such a great musical. It even spurred me to read the complete unabridged novel by Hugo. Even though there were some inaccuracies in the musical as compared to the book, that really doesn't detract at all from the great music in the show.

My favorite character is Eponine - of all of the more prominent characters in the show, she is probably the most misunderstood because everyone focuses on Jean Valjean and Cosette.
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on January 26, 2013
This recording was new to me. I already had the Original Broadway Cast and the Symphony Recording and I enjoyed them both. I thought this might be the audio version of the PBS broadcast of the 25th anniversary but if isn't. I really like this Jean Valjean better than the others although I don't care for some of the other characters as much. This recording is quite complete it doesn't leave out songs that are omited from other versions. I'm happy I purchased this!
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on January 8, 2012
A fine soundtrack for any Les Mis lover. John Owen-Jones is an extraordinary singer and his part in this is worth the price alone. The amount of emotion he puts into his role is incredible and makes him one of the finest Jean Valjeans that I've ever had the fortune of hearing. All of the '1' or '2' star reviews seem to be people complaining that there isn't a recording of the 25th anniversary concert. While that is disappointing, it has no room here. This is a place to review a brand new cast, not chide the producers for only releasing a DVD.
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