Les Misérables: do you still hear the people sing?

Is there anyone in the West that hasn’t seen this visage?

It might be a bit difficult to believe considering what this blog is dominated by, but the very first craze I ever developed involved musicals. But it’s one that I never really developed beyond the first musical I ever saw — which I’ve actually already mentioned onceLes Misérables. I’ve often wished I lived either in London or New York, so that I could got and see it whenever I’ve needed my fix; that said, the 9 and a half year gap only made me far more excited to see it once again.

I’m sure that I hardly need to summarise what Les Mis is all about: an unforgettable story of love and loss, sin and salvation, all set against the backdrop of revolutionary France. It’s a phenomenon that hardly needs an introduction in the West anymore, what with the numerous cast recordings, stage concerts and even a movie rendition of the musical in 2012. However, although I’ve got several of the more famous recordings, I’ve hardly touched it for years. The last time I encountered Les Mis prior to this performance — at the Crown Theatre in Perth last month — was the DVD release of the 25th anniversary concert. Seeing the original cast gather on stage was quite a timely reminder of some of the most memorable actors who ever took on those parts. I’m also quite a fan of some of the song renditions in the 2012 film, so this 30th anniversary production had quite a lot to live up to. Everyone has their own ideal cast, based on all the recordings and performances they’ve heard and seen: how did this new Australian cast fair? Read more of this post

In memory of 2010 part 5: Remembering Love for the Classics

Once upon a time, before I decided I wanted to leave home and go somewhere else for uni, I was a musician. Not a great one – I never practiced enough for that – but I enjoyed being in the band and always had my favourites for piano. Furthermore, I wasn’t all that interested in carrying out that all important part of musical education, that of musical analysis – I didn’t even like having to listen to other people play the pieces I was meant to be playing. Even during those first few years at uni, I wasted the opportunity to use the piano at my house of residence, partially out of embarrassment because there was a girl just like Nodame there, one who could pick out tunes just by ear.

It’s perhaps ironic that it was Nodame Cantabile that got me back into classical music. To be specific, it was the drama, for when you only have short sections of a particular piece to work with, real people will always trump TV animation. One thing led to another, and now I have the entire drama series and the Best 100 album on my shelf. Here are other performances of some of the pieces contained:

Read more of this post

Eminence – Piano Stories IV

Eminence’s Piano Stories IV was performed at Melba Hall at the University of Melbourne on Saturday, September 23 – that is, on the weekend of Manifest. Performers were Polish pianist Krzyzystof Malek and special guest Ishikawa Ayako.

This is how far behind I’ve gotten: Eminence is today performing ‘Passion‘ at the Merlyn Theatre, The C.U.B. Malthouse in Melbourne. But it’s a 37 degree day, and the haze from the fires in other parts of the state is none too pleasant either…so I’ve decided to take a break after the crazy week I’ve had. Because of the delay, I can clearly remember what I thought of just two of the songs – others I cannot really comment on because I haven’t heard the original pieces of music myself, or at least, not very often.

Read more of this post

Back briefly…

Went to the Eminence Symphony Orchestra‘s Destiny Concert, by the Dream Time Ensemble, with SC on the weekend. Being at The National Theatre in woop woop St Kilda (well, it’s woop woop from Preston ^^), we spent 1.5 hrs getting there, for a 1.5 hr performance, and…you get the picture. Had ramen for dinner on the way back though.

Anyways, it wasn’t bad. I like quite a lot of the music, with Joe Hisaishi’s work being my favourite, and I also like the Hagaren song they chose – Brothers (ブラーチヤ) – I just missed the vocals. You could really see and hear (for most of the songs) how much the performers loved the music/performing as well, even though the venue wasn’t particularly suited for it, IMHO. What was a little bit annoying was that any announcements the lead performers decided to make were basically murmured to the audience in the lower half of the theatre (we were in the upper half)…and some of the footage they chose (or didn’t choose) to screen as accompaniment. SC remarked that it’s strange they were able to find art from Howl’s but not from Spirited Away. My complaint is more pedantic…I just wondered why they screened SEED DESTINY scenes to a SEED song…amongst other quibbles.

Rabid ‘fangirlism’…at the theatre

Must not be biased. Must not be biased. College theatre and National theatre are on two completely different levels. Must not be biased…

Bye Bye Birdie

Les Misérables

Just got back from finally seeing Les Misérables again, and yes it is definitely my favourite musical. just some rambling…