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Les Mis questions

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Marway44
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Les Mis questions#1
Posted: 11/6/19 at 7:13am

Good morning all,

As you know the music in Les Mis is repeated over and over but I was trying to figure out the overture.  To me it sounds like "Look Down".  Is that what you hear as well?  It's been bugging me for a while as I've seen the show too may times to say.

I had another 2 questions as well.  The music in the Bishop's scene is the exact music to "Empty Chairs", but to me there is no correlation between the 2 scenes.  Any ideas as to why they shoes to use that music in that scene?

My last question was if anyone knew why they dropped the line "There is a life to save", from Valjean when Javert confronts him outside of the sewers.

Thanks to anyone who can help with any of these!

DeNada
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Les Mis questions#2
Posted: 11/6/19 at 7:48am

The overture is indeed the same tune as Look Down.

Cynical answer - the music in the Bishop/Cafe Song being the same has no significance beyond convenience when Boublil/Schonberg were writing new material after the original run.  Less cynical answer - the scenes are linked by guilt; the Bishop's kindness is the guiltiest memory Valjean has, and the Cafe Song is entirely about survivor's guilt for Marius.

When was "there is a life to save" cut?  It's still in the licensed score I believe.  I know it's not in the film or on the 2010 live recording.  The key change might have been a step too far for Jackman in the film (although JOJ was in fine voice as ever on tour).

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carolinaguy
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Les Mis questions#3
Posted: 11/6/19 at 8:21am

I think the guilt angle works for "Empty Chairs". I always thought of the scenes as being linked by acts of sacrifice--the bishop giving his most valuable possessions to rescue Valjean and Marius mourning the ultimate sacrifice his friends made.

My favorite reuse of melody is "Lovely Ladies" becoming "Turning" in the second act. I see the link there as the women having to do society's dirty work in both scenes.

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Marway44
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Les Mis questions#4
Posted: 11/6/19 at 10:03am

I never thought about the guilt angle in the Bishops scene vs "Empty Chairs".  Makes perfect sense though.  I always noticed the "Lovely Ladies" and "Turning" which leads me to ask if there is a coloration there, but I can't think of one.

Thanks for clarifying the overture. 

The line was dropped in the 2010 reimagined version at Papermill.

 

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dramamama611
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Les Mis questions#5
Posted: 11/6/19 at 10:08am

I think carolinaguy gives you the perfect correlation in the post above yours.

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LizzieCurry
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Les Mis questions#6
Posted: 11/6/19 at 10:22am
They didn't want to pay the women to do so little in act 2, hence "Turning." I heard that from a longtime cast member (though not OBC or OLC).

The other angle you can take is that these women are now orphans or widows, and may have to turn to sex work now that the male breadwinners in their households are gone.
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Marway44
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Les Mis questions#7
Posted: 11/6/19 at 11:34am

Oh I missed the "Lovely Ladies" and "Turning".  Now I see the explanation.  I read to fast.  Society's dirty work makes perfect sense!

Looking forward to catching this again in Ct before the big cast change.