Friday, July 1, 2016

Les Misérables in Singapore - A Review (Sort of)


image from: http://www.loket.com/lesmiserables/

So, I was able to watch Les Miserables by myself last night. This is the second time I was able to see it onstage. The first time was in London many, many moons ago.

I remember that cold, rainy night in London. I was so excited to see it. I totally enjoyed the performance. The most memorable of all was the little girl who played Cosette singing, Castle on a Cloud.

Anyway, about the show here in Singapore... first thing I noticed was that the stage looked much better than the one in London, which might be due to the fact that there have been significant improvements in technology over the past years. And that the Esplanade Theater is much grander and bigger than the one in London.

I regret to say that I found the stage actors lacking in energy and expression. From where I was seated (which I thought should be the best seat in the theater), I could not see their facial expressions (see below pic of seating plan) but their gestures and the feelings in their voices should be apparent to all the viewers no matter where they are seated. For some reason, I just didn't feel it enough.



This is the actual seating plan of the Esplanade Theater with the actual ticket pricing for Les Miserables. My husband would not be happy to find out that I purchased the most expensive ticket. I actually realized it myself just now. LOL. (image from: http://www.loket.com/lesmiserables/)

This was my actual view from where I was seated (taken with my iPhone). I arrived early but the theater was almost full when the show began.

The actors were all very good singers, of course. The only thing that bothered me a bit is that I found the adult Cosette's voice a little too shrill and unpleasant to the ears when reaching for the very high notes. The best singer in the cast for me was Eponine (Kerrie Anne Greenland). I most especially loved it when she sang my favorite Les Miz song... and you all know which one it is, I'm sure.

According to Wikipedia, Les Miserables premiered in Paris in 1980. But I noticed that it did not really get famous among the French, despite the story revolving around French history (but not exactly about The French Revolution like the famous misconception, by the way) and being based on a novel by a famous French author. Proof: my husband was in no way interested in seeing it. I actually watched it by myself (which was a good idea after all since we found out later, he'd have to leave for a business trip on the date that I booked). I also found it odd at first that he had never heard about this musical in his entire life until I mentioned it. And I can bet that it's not only because guys hate musicals. I mean, I did manage to drag him into seeing Mamma Mia during our trip to New York and he totally enjoyed it. After having immersed myself in the French culture and having lived in France, I think I may have some idea why. It might not entirely be false to assume that this would be the same reason as to why Miss Saigon is not really very famous among Vietnamese people. Here's a somewhat humorous comment from Quora.com, which I can totally relate with:

image from: http://bookhaven.stanford.edu/2012/12/enjoy-les-miserables-but-please-get-your-history-straight-first/

Ugh... I really have to take the time to read the book in French!

Lastly, I have just realized that I now get headaches from hearing songs with a lot of shouting. Especially if it goes on for almost three straight hours non-stop... almost! There was a 15-minute(?) break in-between acts. I still actually have a mild headache as of this writing. I am not really very sure if I will be seeing this show again. Maybe twice is a bit too much in one lifetime. And it kinda bothers me that there was just too much death-bed singing. I mean characters on the brink of death, trying to sing their last few breaths away. Must be terribly difficult to do (and for others around to deal with) in real life. I guess I am just not so much into drama lately. But one thing remains the same -- I still love the Eponine song... for sentimental reasons. And most especially when sung by Lea Salonga:




P. S.

I also love the original singer's version

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