Saturday, December 27, 2014

Les Miserables: Paris Revival Cast Recording [1991]

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. :)
So, to celebrate the end of my semester of French, I figured why not review a Les Miserables recording that is in French! I mean, it was recorded in flippin' Paris, what could be better? XD
Ahem. I like to start by rambling about the instrumentals.
Being from the 90's, the instrumentals are spiced up with those syntho instrumentals, so they're relatively the same as the English 3-Disc recording that we have. They don't bug me (they might bug some people, but they remind me of the early 2000's when I was a little kid :D), though sometimes they make me laugh because it sounds like Video Poker music! XD
Now the cast! Jean Valjean is always cool (I've never met a Jean Valjean I didn't like, haha!), and this guy was neato! He has a nice voice, and so far as I can tell his acting was good. His version of Bring Him Home ('Commme Un Homme') is lovely, his acting is just right here. That song doesn't usually elicit a huge reaction from me, but this one... really good. He was also really good in the Epilogue. :)
I liked Javert, he has a very dramatic, almost operatic voice at times. Cosette is usually the most hit and miss character in the whole shebang, but she was a very good singer! She has a sweet, clear voice that is really nice to listen to. All the talk of Cosette makes me think of 'Une Poupee dans la Vitrine', the French equivalent of Castle on a cloud. The French version of this song is so sad, it almost made me cry! The last verse is about how she wishes she knew how to write, because then she could write to Father Christmas for the doll she wishes for. And the middle verse is actually very interesting. Cosette talks about how when she has her doll (her 'daughter') she will dress her in the prettiest dresses, and how she wants her doll to be very proud of her as a mother. Sounds kind of like what Fantine wanted for Cosette, huh? It's such a tearjerker. :(
Ahem. This cast has a good Gavroche, he's got sass, but not in a forced or annoying way. This kid pulls off the role quite effortlessly. I also liked Enjolras on this recording. He's a little petulant, but that's fine by me, so long as it's not excessive. When I was reading the book, I got the impression that due to his privileged childhood he was still a little used to getting his way. XD
Aside from the really good Jean Valjean, my other favorite performer on this CD was Eponine. Her actress has a very normal-girl sounding voice, by which I mean she doesn't have an overly pop-ish sound to her vocals. I like her take on the character, too. She's got a bit of an edge to the character, and pulls off the sad bits without coming off as maudlin and pouty. I really like her On My Own ('Mon Histoire') and Attack on Rue Plumet.
Oh yeah, Mon Histoire. I love On My Own, but Mon Histoire (My Story) is really something. It's harder to adapt into a generic teenage girl 'I'm in the friendzone!' song, because there is more about Eponine's feelings about her situation in life as well as her feelings for Marius. She begins by thinking about how her childhood seemed so pleasant and fairy-tale like, which is pretty different from the English one. I really like the lyrics, I almost translated all of them, so huzzah for French class!

The Verdict: A+
Weee, this font is pretty big and makes the review look super big. Ahem.
I really enjoyed listening to this and being able to understand almost half of it. It's a cool experience to have any kind of automatic understanding of a foreign language. I like the lyrics that I understood, they are so good ("Marius, get off your cloud!") the cast was really solid! I know I didn't talk about everybody, but there was nobody who was weak, or bad. The acting was good, the singing was good, an all-around great cast.
Favorite Song: Mon Histoire
Runners Up: Sous Les Etoiles, Le Grand Jour, Souviens-Toi Les Jours Passes?

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