While I’m at it, I should admit that I came to Les Misérables with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, mostly because I see the lumbering and bumbling musical score, similar to Cats, as being responsible, in part, for the death of the American Broadway musical. Yes, both works have moments of lilting melodies, but the unimaginative tunes of the rest, combined with never ending series of banally rhymed couplets nearly drive me to despair. If any tears flowed from eyes—and a few did; I’ve admitted elsewhere I’m a sentimentalist and Les Misérables is sentimentality determined to try to break your heart—I might almost attribute them to the pain inflicted by its music and lyrics. It is hard to imagine, for example, the following passage is sung:
until you die. It warns that you're a dangerous man.
we were starving...
Javert: And you will starve again unless you learn the meaning of the law!
Jean Valjean: I've learnt the meaning of those nineteen years; a slave of
Javert: Five years for what you did. The rest because you tried to run,
Jean Valjean: My name is Jean Valjean!
Javert: And I'm Javert! Do not forget my name. Do not forget me, 24601.
All right opera has its strange moments, if translated into English, but this is just insufferable dialogue!
"Life/life," "near/here." I could do better in my sleep, and have!
And then, there were those wonderful surprises, such as the performance throughout of Eddie Redmayne as Marius, a handsome young man with a glorious voice, particularly well employed in “Emply Chairs at Empty Tables,” as he sings of the passing of his revolutionary partners. Quite moving also was Samatha Bark’s rendering, despite the drip-drop of rain down her face, of “On My Own.” Throughout, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette sang, although quite waveringly, beautifully.