Les Miserables: The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall
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Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score vividly captures the passion of Victor Hugo's epic tale of post-Revolutionary France, combining tear-jerking ballads ("I Dreamed a Dream," "Bring Him Home") and rousing anthems ("Do You Hear the People Sing"). The format of this concert is closer to that of a dramatic cantata rather than a fully staged production; the singers stand at their microphone stands with an orchestra and chorus behind them, but they do wear costumes and participate in some movement. At certain points such as the climax of the barricade scene, the video switches to action from a stage production. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra sounds great, and it can be thrilling when 200 choristers (dressed in logo T-shirts) rise to their feet for a full-company number such as "One Day More." Also, subtitles provide date and scene information and help move the story along.
The 147-minute video contains footage not seen when Les Mis was a PBS pledge-drive staple, most notably the encore in which a progression of 17 actors who have played Valjean around the world share "Do You Hear the People Sing?" Each sings a line in his native language, a testament to the enduring power of this show to audiences everywhere. --David Horiuchi
The 2008 two-disc edition presents the concert on a single-sided disc (the original DVD split the concert over two sides) with optional English subtitles. It's also in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio) comparied to the original's 1.33 full-screen. The second disc has Stage by Stage: Les Miserables, the hourlong documentary from 1988. Unfortunately the sound is only Dolby Digital 2.0. Early editions of the DVD had an odd omission (compared to the earlier Sony DVD)--the first 10 seconds of Gavroche's "Little People" were missing ("Good evening, dear inspector, lovely evening, my dear...")--that has now been corrected. --David Horiuchi
- Stage by Stage: Les Miserables
- Commemorative booklet
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
love this production. Have it in VHS and played it over and over. A must to get it in DVD.Published 2 months ago by Barbara L Cage
One of my favorite musicals. The music is an emotional experience, the cast is marvelous.Published 4 months ago by B. Rudolph
great....love Les Mis....have seen it at least 8 times live on stage....the best was on Broadway!Published 6 months ago by Lew Venturi
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