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Les Miserables Cast Recording

4.4 out of 5 stars 334 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, June 1, 2004
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 1, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: First Night
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • ASIN: B0002E5L5S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,162 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William C. Clark on June 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The Original London Cast and Original Broadway Cast recordings were the first English recordings of Les Misérables. Each has it's strengths and weaknesses. For instance:
The Conducting) LONDON is best. The conducting is slower in the London version. Some listeners think that this sacrifices dramatic tension, but the slower speed brings out a hundred details that you never hear on other recordings.
Sound Quality) BROADWAY is best. The London recording has very good sound, but Broadway's sound is more sharp and focused.
Jean Valjean) TIE. Colm Wilkinson sings the role of Valjean on both recordings. His voice is a bit unsteady, but his acting is perfect. And he is IMMEASURABLY better on these two recordings than he was at the Tenth Anniversary Concert.
Javert) LONDON. Roger Allam has a strong, clear voice, and uses it well in Javert's solos. Terrance Mann has more trouble with his solos, but manages to pull through in the rest of the Broadway recording. Both of them are decent actors, but neither of them can touch Philip Quast, who will always be THE Javert.
Fantine) LONDON. Patti LuPone is one of the few Fantine's who sings the role instead of wailing it. And she does more than just sing it. If LuPone's "I Dreamed a Dream" doesn't bring you close to tears, you have a stone heart. Randy Graff on the Broadway recording leaves a lot to be desired, but isn't nearly as bad as Ruthie Henshall in the Tenth Anniversary Concert.
Marius) LONDON! Michael Ball was the first and the definitive Marius. His singing and acting are great, and he makes a potentially sentimental character believable and even likeable. Nowhere does David Bryant on the Broadway recording come close to matching him.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a huge fan of Les Misérables for many years now, and while I do not own every version, I do have both the Original London and Broadway Recordings, and I have heard selections from the Complete Symphonic Recording (CSR) and the Tenth Anniversary Recording (TAR). Before I break it down by character, let me just say that any recording of Les Misérables is worth your money, even the highlight recordings are enjoyable.

Orchestrations - London. The Broadway recording is fuller and clearer, however, it is also a lot more rushed. Now, for certain songs like "One Day More", that works, but at other times it can be a problem. The orchestrations on London seem more refined, they're slower and you have to opportunity to catch more and experience it better.

Jean Valjean - London. Colm Wilkinson is the definitive Valjean, and plays him on all of the recordings with the exception of the Complete Symphonic Recording. On Broadway he is rushed too much, he speaks quickly, and tends to say every word like it is its own sentence; it ruined "What Have I Done?" for me. What makes Wilkinson the best Valjean, while he is good in the TAR, is exemplified in the London recording. He is a wonderful actor, and appropriately conveys every emotion needed for such a complicated character. His voice is full and powerful, and he hits some truly high and difficult notes with such perfection that he makes it seem easy.

Javert - Tenth Anniversary Recording. Philip Quast is by far the best Javert, without any questions. He performs Javert in both the CSR and the TAR tremendously. While the Javert from London, Roger Allam, is quite good, he leaves a lot to be desired, and I have a strong dislike for Terrance Mann's performance on Broadway, it felt weak.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you are not familiar with this music, you need this Original London Cast version. You will miss soooo much beauty in your lives if you don't have the OLC version.
First, I've seen the musical over a dozen times and I have every recording and know the lyrics back and forth. I've read the unabridged version and listened to two versions of the unabridged audiobook. The best musical/music/poetry/voices ever recorded. The best book ever written.

The main English recordings are the studio versions. (A) OLC - Original London Cast (B) OBC - Original Broadway Cast (C) CSR- Complete Symphonic Recording.
The live versions are the 10th and 25th anniversaries and the Motion Soundtrack (although the music is studio, the voices sound very much live).

Perfection is the complete version of OLC, but that does not exist. Next to perfection is this OLC version. Jean (Colm Wilkinson) and Javert (Roger Allam) are heaven to listen to. Everyone from Eponine to Marius to Fantine are perfect. The most beautiful recording of anything you will ever hear and is a must to own!!!

OBC, is great, but not as good as OLC. CSR is what you need if you have become a fan. Jean (Gary Morris) is excellent, but not like Colm. Javert (Philip Quast) is as amazing as Roger. An excellent recording and complete. So many additional beautiful songs and the musical story is uncut. (I actually spent hours and hours cutting out audio from CSR to OLC. Embedded lyrics. So I almost have a complete symphonic version of OLC). If you must own one, this is it. I suggest owning two, this OLC and CSR.

The live 10th has a perfect cast. I can't wait for the Blu-Ray version. The 25th is good except two characters. Javert is not a good singer and Marius is horrendous.
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