Printer Friendly - CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question


CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-02-20 01:18:31


So I read the article BWW linked at The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2013/feb/18/how-we-made-les-miserables and have a question I'm sure one of the Miz fans here would know... I've been pretty out of touch with the show for over a decade (one viewing of the movie, aside).

I don't have the original French concept album with me where I live now, but have owned it since I was a teen and used to play it a lot. I agree with Cam that the original version lacked dramatic tension (hence why when it was staged it was more like a series of tableaux of key scenes)--but he says twice that it ended simply with the barricades. I swear the CD ended with Valjean's death (and included the wedding...) Am I just misremembering, or is he? :P

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by LizzieCurry 2013-02-20 08:28:15


It did end with Valjean's death. Maybe at some point at the Palais des Sports, it did end at the barricades, but they continued with the story later on during the run fo the show?

http://www.amazon.com/Les-Miserables-Original-French-Concept/dp/B000003C5B

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by jo 2013-02-20 09:13:15


Interesting comments from Kretzmer on the origins of BRING HIM HOME --

>>>There was one dark cloud that dogged me, though: the song sung by Valjean to the sleeping Marius at the barricades. We code-named this "Night Thoughts" to reflect the resentment, anger and jealousy that Valjean would feel as he contemplated this usurper. Yet the music I was given was ridiculously at odds – a stately, hymn-like progression of three ascending notes. The directors came round to discuss it and, as they left at 2am, Caird said: "Sounds like a prayer to me."

The minute he said that, every door seemed to fly open. I was freed from delving into the murkier corners of Valjean's mind and could instead give his blessing to a young couple in love. I stood for the rest of that night in my study and by 5am, Bring Him Home was written – 17 days before the show opened.<<<


It seemed the acting and singing choice for the movie initially reflected " the resentment, anger and jealousy that Valjean would feel as he contemplated this usurper" and instead of the song further "delving into the murkier corners of Valjean's mind", it resolved into Valjean finally "giving his blessing to a young couple in love."

Hence it was not a prayerful plea right from the beginning, but one of inner turmoil, until he realized that to love Cosette was also to love Marius.

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by mamaleh 2013-02-20 10:02:14


Absolutely agree with Jo's comment. That original interpretation of the song obviously colored Tom Hooper's final choice among the 17 live takes of "Bring Him Home." Valjean is getting older, his "inner turmoil" is taking hold, but he realizes he won't be around forever and ultimately wants his adoptive daughter to be happy and taken care of. So the song evolves, drawing on all those emotions, ending with what I'd term Valjean's epiphany on his approaching mortality. Yes, Hooper could have chosen a "prettier," prayer-like take. But he's depicting Valjean as a desperate, older man, and the song accurately reflects that. The acting and the musical choices, in that sense, are spot-on.

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-02-21 03:37:06


Lizzie--thanks! Cam must be mis-remembering then--the concept album came *before* the staged production--and that's what he heard. Or maybe the European director who sent him the tape (and I hope got *some* money when he turned him on to the project but Cam, probably wisely said he would do it but not let him direct) and forgot to include the tracks...

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by LizzieCurry 2013-02-21 09:32:36


I think the concept album came after, actually. From what I remember, they tried to get everyone who was in the Palais des Sports production to record it, but some cast members were unavailable. Javert, Marius, Eponine, Enjolras, Grampa Pontmercy, and Combeferre are different:
http://theatreroad.com/blog/theatre-road-trivia-les-miserables/

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-02-21 16:48:23


Wow. I dunno, I had always heard the only reason it was staged was because the concept album sold so well. But that could be completely wrong--interesting.

Regardless--the version that Cameron was exposed to was the recording.

CamMac and Kretzmer talk Les Miz article question
Posted by jo 2013-02-21 18:52:30


According to this Wikipedia account, the concept album came first, the Paris staging at Palais des Sports was later --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_(musical)#Original_French_production

>>French songwriter Alain Boublil had the idea to adapt Victor Hugo's novel into a musical while at a performance of the musical Oliver! in London:


"As soon as the Artful Dodger came onstage, Gavroche came to mind. It was like a blow to the solar plexus. I started seeing all the characters of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables—Valjean, Javert, Gavroche, Cosette, Marius, and Éponine—in my mind's eye, laughing, crying, and singing onstage."

He pitched the idea to French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, and the two developed a rough synopsis. They worked up an analysis of each character's mental and emotional state, as well as that of an audience. Schönberg then began to write the music, while Alain Boublil began work on the text. According to Alain Boublil, "...I could begin work on the words. This I did—after myself deciding on the subject and title of every song—in collaboration with my friend, poet Jean-Marc Natel."[12] Two years later, a two-hour demo tape with Schönberg accompanying himself on the piano and singing every role was completed. An album of this collaboration was recorded at CTS Studios in Wembley and was released in 1980, selling 260,000 copies.

The concept album includes Maurice Barrier as Jean Valjean, Jacques Mercier as Javert, Rose Laurens as Fantine, Yvan Dautin as Thénardier, Marie-France Roussel as Mme. Thénardier, Richard Dewitte as Marius, Fabienne Guyon as Cosette, Marie-France Dufour as Éponine, Michel Sardou as Enjolras, Fabrice Bernard as Gavroche, Maryse Cédolin as Young Cosette, Claude-Michel Schönberg as Courfeyrac, Salvatore Adamo as Combeferre, Michel Delpech as Feuilly, Dominique Tirmont as M. Gillenormand, and Mireille as the hair buyer.

That year, in September 1980, a stage version directed by veteran French film director Robert Hossein was produced at the Palais des Sports in Paris. The show was a success, with 100 performances seen by over 500,000 people.

Most of the cast from the concept album performed in the production.<<<