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Les Miserables: The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall

4.5 out of 5 stars 325 customer reviews

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• Note: early editions of this DVD had a few seconds missing from Gavroche's "Little People" ("Good evening, dear inspector, lovely evening, my dear..."). This has been corrected.
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A performance of Les Miserables by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, for a 10th Anniversary Concert celebration.

Amazon.com

The 10th anniversary concert video of the international musical sensation Les Misérables might be the best thing to appease fans until a full-fledged movie comes along. Or it might be even better, as feature films are often subject to extramusical casting considerations and this 1995 dream cast is superb. Reprising their roles from the original London company are Colm Wilkinson (Valjean), Michael Ball (Marius), and Alun Armstrong (Thenardier). From Broadway come Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Lea Salonga (Eponine), and Michael Maguire (Enjolras); from a later London production comes Ruthie Henshall (Fantine); and from Australia comes Philip Quast (Javert).

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

DVD features
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


Special Features

  • Stage by Stage: Les Miserables
  • Commemorative booklet

Product Details

  • Actors: Colm Wilkinson, Michael Ball, Lea Salonga, Judy Kuhn, Michael Maguire
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00110K62U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,539 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Les Miserables: The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
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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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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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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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