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Music DVD Review: Les Misérables: 10th Anniversary Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall

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As one of the most successful and beloved musicals of all time, Les Misérables has stood the test of time with its deeply emotional tale, highly realized characters, and fantastic music. And it’s the music that takes center stage in Les Misérables: 10th Anniversary Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The concert was performed on October 8, 1995 and featured a cast selected by famed producer Cameron Mackintosh from productions around the world – known since as the Les Misérables Dream Cast. The DVD intimately captures the concert, giving audiences the next best thing to actually attending the one-time event.

It’s a testament to the brilliance of the music of Les Mis that viewing the concert on DVD is as captivating as it is. Only the music is performed here – there are no acting parts in this concert, save for several clips from the full stage production for the action sequences. And while seeing the entire production complete with the acting parts certainly would make for a better introduction to Les Mis to a casual viewer, even the uninitiated will find it hard not to get swept up by the music.

Colm Wilkinson, who played Jean Valjean in the original London and Broadway productions, makes it clear why he is widely regarded as the definitive Valjean – he is superb. The rest of the cast is similarly top-notch, culled from two London productions, a Broadway production, and an Australian production.

The concert comes to a close with a dramatic encore featuring actors from seventeen different countries who have played Valjean joining the cast on stage to sing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” all in their native tongue. It’s a witness to the vast popularity and impact Les Mis has achieved across the world.

This two-disc collector’s edition DVD set features the Les Misérables making-of documentary Stage by Stage on disc two and includes a commemorative booklet.

About Dusty Somers

Dusty Somers is a Seattle-based editor and writer. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and Seattle Theater Writers.