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THE VOICE, Part 1: Russell Watson Talks LES MISERABLES!


UK editor-in-chief Carrie Dunn interviewed the tenor as he prepares to release his new album Only One Man, written and produced by Les Miserables composer Claude-Michel Schonberg - here's the first part of the feature, focusing on THOSE Jean Valjean rumours...

Your version of Les Miserables' Bring Him Home is on your new album...

It wasn't meant for the record! It's a bonus track. What happened - we were in the studio and Claude-Michel started tinkling the front of Bring Him Home. I thought, "I recognise that!" and I started to sing along, and he kept playing, and I sang. You can hear all the little crunches of the piano pedals; you can hear the lip smacks and the rustling of paper - we did it one take, completely live, the engineer said, "I've just recorded that. It's fantastic. Have a listen." He played it back, Claude-Michel and I were listening to it, and that was it. We played it to a couple of the record company execs and they said to put it on the record.

It's difficult to explain. It was a really special moment - sat with the composer of the world's most famous musical, how many people get the opportunity to do that?

You've been linked with the role now of Jean Valjean. Is that just a rumour or is it based in fact?

Claude-Michel wants me to do it. It's him who originally approached me and said, "I'd love you to play Valjean, because you're at a perfect age for the role, you've got the range, and I see you associated heavily because you've had a similar life to how I see Jean Valjean - you've had amazing triumphs and tragedy, the good, the bad, and there are similarities. When we wrote the part, you would have been how I would have envisaged somebody who I would want to be playing the role."

So Claude-Michel approached Cameron to ask him whether he would meet with me, and he said yes. I met Cameron a few weeks ago at his place, and we spoke for an hour or so. We're continuing talks. I'm going to a workshop with them, because I want to make sure that I'm right for the part - it's an acting role as well and I want to make sure as well that's going to be something that I can really get my teeth into. I went through a couple of the pieces with Claude-Michel at the piano, and found them so emotive - I got quite emotional when I was singing them.

Fingers crossed then!

Yes. I'd love it to happen.

In the next part of the feature, Russell talks about working in the studio with the legendary Claude-Michel Schonberg. Watch this space!

Russell Watson's new album Only One Man is released on November 11th.

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From This Author Carrie Dunn

Carrie is the UK editor-in-chief for BroadwayWorld. After spending her formative years reading books and ending up with a Masters degree in English literature from (read more...)