Sunday, March 29, 2009

The best musical I've seen

Following my last post on the Phantom of the Opera I started thinking of another musical I watched a number of years ago...

It was the first real live stage musical I had ever watched. So probably much of the grandeur and significance of Les Misérables was due to the novelty of the whole experience in general.

But thinking back, I think I still say that Les Misérables still remains my favourite musical. Phantom was no doubt more impressive in its special effects, costumes and theatrics of it all. But I think Les Misérables conveys by far a deeper, more meaningful and moving story.

The story is rich with multiple layers of themes...

...self discovery and internal conflict of right and wrong
...sacrificial love
...the central lovers
...unrequited love
...patriotism and war of a father for his son
...the fight for freedom and idealism of a better world

These I believe are just some of the themes that I stand out for me. I'm certain there are more as we peel back the layers further.

The colours and theatrics are more down to earth in this show. But the depth emotion shown in the music, the lyrics and the story itself is the thing that really grips you.

My favourite character is Eponine, a very strong and tough gal, unfortunately the guy she loves is in love with someone else... but in spite of that, she helps hook him up with the other girl, while she herself looks on from the outside. I know, I know, very typical cliché love triangle. But I'm just so moved by her character, especially in this song where she sings about how she loves him but must go on pretending...

On My Own - Eponine (Lea Salonga)

I think I cried as I listened to this piece for the first time...

I love him...
But every day I'm learning
All my life I've only been pretending
Without me his world will go on turning
A world that's full of happiness
That I have never known!

This next one is my dad's favourite song from the musical... it's sung in the scene after a battle where Jean Valjean prays fervently for Marius's (his daughter's fiancee) life.

Bring him home - Jean Valjean (Colm Wilkinson)

Bring him peace, bring him joy
He is young, he is only a boy
You can take, you can give
Let him be, let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live...

You listen and tell me how can you not be moved!

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