Les Misérables-In Concert: The 25th Anniversary (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 29-Mar-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-A Whiz Thru Miz
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 169:52
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nick Morris
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Alfie Boe
Norm Lewis
Matt Lucas
Jenny Galloway
Lea Salonga
Samantha Barks
Nick Jonas
Katie Hall
Ramin Karimloo
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Claude-Michel Schönberg


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"The Musical Event of a Lifetime"

     Based on the sprawling novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables as a musical stage adaptation opened at the Barbican Centre in London on 8 October 1985. With music composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel (with English adaptation by Herbert Kretzmer), Les Misérables has become the second longest running musical in the world after The Fantasticks, and the second longest running West End show after The Mousetrap. This recording of the 25th anniversary touring production at London's O2 Arena features the cast of the 2010 production with members of the 1985 original London company, and a couple of celebrity performers in Matt Lucas and Nick Jonas.

     The story of Les Misérables centres around a prisoner Valjean (Alfie Boe) who is essentially a good man who spent years in prison for stealing bread to feed his starving family. Valjean has been released on parole by the policeman Javert (Norm Lucas), but remains an outcast and is again arrested after stealing silver from the Bishop of Digne (Earl Carpenter). The Bishop however lies to save Valjean who breaks his parole and assumes a new identity as Monsieur Madeleine. Under his new identity Valjean becomes a successful businessman and rescues the daughter of a dying woman who works for him - Fantine (Lea Salonga) . The daughter Cosette (Katie Hall) had been staying with the villainous Thénardiers (Matt Lucas and Jenny Galloway) who are the proprietors of a tavern. The Thénardiers had treated Cosette poorly meanwhile looking after their real daughter Éponine (Samantha Barks) extremely well. Nine years later the girl Cosette has become like an adopted daughter, and eventually they both prepare to go into exile to evade the obsessed detective Javert. Cosette falls in love with a law student Marius (Nick Jonas) who is involved in a student political uprising. As the uprising turns into a full-scale revolution,Valjean saves both Javert from the justice of the rebels, and subsequently rescues Marius from the army as the student rebels are routed at their barricades. Because of his status as an escaped convict Valjean goes into exile to protect his "adopted" daughter. Marius and Cosette marry leaving Valjean both without a home and without his beloved Cosette. With nothing left to live for Valjean prepares for his death alone, but just in time Cosette and Marius rush in to bid him farewell before he is guided into paradise by Cosette's dead mother Fantine, and Éponine.

     To say this production of Les Misérables is epic is quite an understatement. Set in the enormous O2 Arena and featuring a company of over 500 artists and musicians and choristers, it is clear that no expense was spared to bring this 25th anniversary production to life. The casting is almost perfect with the glaring anomaly being Nick Jonas who has neither the stage presence or vocal ability to be an adequate Marius. Presumably he was added to the cast to attract a younger fan base, however he really misfires in a crucial role. On the other hand fellow celebrity Matt Lucas is more than adequate as the roguish Thénardier, bringing a comedic slant to the villainous role. Lucas can't really sing, but manages to speak his way through the lyrics in a melodic fashion. I don't know if this production is faithful to previous productions however it is noticeable that performances are in a concert format in that most of the songs are presented with relatively static performers in front of a microphone. There is a bit of action here or there as the story progresses but that aspect is fairly insignificant. That being said all of the beloved songs are presented intact, including "One Day More," "I Dreamed a Dream," and "Do You Hear the People Sing". As a nostalgic treat members of the original London cast including Colm Wilkinson and Roger Allam join the 2010 concert cast for the encore. Their final co-singing of the epic song "Bring Him Home" deservedly brings down the house. With a 170 minute running time,outstanding production values, glorious sets, and wonderful songs, Les Misérables is truly a feast of what is the best in musical theatre.

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Track Listing

1. Prologue/Look Down
2. Valjean's Soliloquy
3. At the End of the Day
4. I Dream A Dream
5. Lovely Ladies
6. Fantine's Arrest
7. Runaway Cart, The
8. Who Am I
9. Fantine's Death
10. Confrontation, The
11. Castle on a Cloud
12. Master of the House
13. Bargain (the Waltz of Treachery), T
14. Paris/Look Down
15. Robbery, The
16. Stars
17. ABC Café/Red and Black
18. Do you Hear the People Sign
19. In My Life
20. Heart Full of Love, A
21. Attack On Rue Plumet, The
22. One Day More
23. Building The Barricade
24. On My Own
25. Barricade, The
26. Little Fall Of Rain, A
27. First Attack, The
28. Drink With Me
29. Bring Him Home
30. (plus 14 more songs)

Transfer Quality

Video

     This Blu-ray is presented in the cinematic aspect of 1.78:1 using the VC-1 codec at 1080p. Being a concert recording there are the usual problems associated with bright stage lighting such as crushed blacks and a bit of low-level grain in background scenes. Nevertheless the spectacular staging and well-constructed lighting effects are brought to their best during close-ups where every nuance is finely detailed. It is really only in a wide range shots that the detail becomes a bit muddy and is overshadowed by the lighting scheme. To see the amazing detail that has gone into costuming and make up for even minor characters is a real treat, and a further testament to the benefits of high definition video. As far as live concert videos are concerned this would rank up with the very best, however of course it does not compare with the best feature presentations that Blu-ray can offer.

     This is a dual layer 50gb disc but I could not see the layer change using my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track at around 4,000 Kp/s included as default and a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 192 Kp/s. The 5.1 track includes a lot of audience ambience which some might find intrusive, but I thought it enhanced the overall viewing experience. The orchestra and choristers were given an extensive sound field whereas the main vocals, as you'd expect, were much more centre channel focused. Pleasingly everything is crystal clear with a concert recording as good as you could hope for. All the vocals are truly wonderful, especially Katy Hall as Cosette. This is one sound track that needs to be listened to with the volume turned up as it is truly glorious. If the crowd ambience is too intrusive for you then you could try the low definition 2.0 stereo mix, however this is nowhere near as clean and defined as the DTS Master audio track.

     This audio track is excellent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu featured looping audio with animated background from the show.

A Whiz Thru Miz (4:56)

     HD 2.35:1 video aspect with 5.1 Dolby Digital at 448 Kb/s. A short montage summarizing the history of the project with additional detail on past productions. Not particularly interesting

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This Blu-ray appears to be identical to the US version apart from subtitle options.

Summary

     Les Misérables is one of the best musicals ever put to the stage and is given exemplary treatment in this production and subsequent Blu-ray. Older fans might prefer the classical castings from the original London production, however you can't really fault what has been achieved in this 25th anniversary event. The audio and video here far exceeds earlier releases due to the advantages of high definition, and production standards are outstanding. Until the promised Les Misérables movie is completed, supposedly in late 2012 (apparently also starring Russell Crowe singing!), this release is the one that most fans would want in their collection.

     The video quality is very good.

     The audio quality is excellent.

     Extras are poor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Friday, May 11, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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