Les Misérables— despite its title which means “the wretched” — is wondrous!
This new production of the phenomenon known as Les Miz brings a much needed spark of hope of the possibilities of love to hearts that have been broken or whose hopes have been dashed by the exigencies of life.
Les Miz’s music is haunting as befits the life journey of selfless sacrifice leading to salvation for one man and the tragic ending of the obsession of another. It calls for a complex web of characters employing wide vocal choices to follow the stories of these two men who are engaged in a life long bitter tug of war. The dramatic tenor role of Jean Valjean is most poignantly sung by Nick Cartell. Valjean has suffered a great injustice in being imprisoned for 19 years for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread. He escapes for a life of hiding from his relentless pursuer, the conflicted officer of the law, Javert, sung with operatic intenseness by baritone Andrew Love.
For those who know Les Miserables well, there are a few surprises in this production with this exciting new staging and scenery. Not only was the story inspired by Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, but the scenery has been reimagined, inspired by Hugo’s drawings and paintings (over 4000).
This celebrated opera-musical has broken records at the box office (in 32 years, seen by 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe). What is not measurable is how often its songs—“I Dreamed A Dream,”“On My Own,”“Stars,” “Bring Him Home,”“One Day More” —have lifted human spirits.
At the National Theater in Washington DC, until January 7, 2018— Les Miz is the ultimate Christmas gift.