Like its predecessors, 2019’s Les Misérables: The Staged Concert will be long remembered as another notable event in the musical’s performance history, heralding the return of Michael Ball to a show he helped to establish, but this time in the role of Javert.
Like a fine cognac, Frances Ruffelle’s most recent album deliciously distils her passion for France. Remembering that it was Ruffelle who created the role of Eponine in Les Miserables, a show that was to evolve into one of musical theatre’s few truly global sensations, that she is in love with all things French is hardly a surprise.
Les Miserables has long impressed me, not just for having such a stirring libretto, but also for the cheekily economic creativity of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schoenberg that was able to hang quite so many different songs on just a handful of (oft repeated) melodies! Herbert Kretzmer deserves handsome credit for the lyrics. Kretzmer has compressed Victor Hugo’s panoramic vision of 19th century France into 3 hours of sung-through genius, with a wit and nuance perfectly tailored to the modern idiom.