Last week, Universal released Les Miserables: The 25th Anniversary Concert on Blu-ray and DVD. I was lucky enough to get a screener of the Blu-ray, and I have to say, I was highly impressed! I was a little hesitant to watch it, since I have never seen the show, though I've really wanted to for years. Plus, this is a concert, not a full-blown performance of the musical. The singers mostly just stand in front of microphones. But all hesitation was wiped away within minutes of starting the disc.
The picture and sound are flawless. Cameras frequently zoom in on whomever is singing to provide crystal clear closeups of the faces. Even when viewing a wide angle shot, the details visible on this Blu-ray are amazing. The sound is mixed perfectly, allowing you to hear every note of the intricate, rich harmonies with no static or feedback. In a packed arena, I am in awe of just how well this disc looks and sounds. It couldn't have done any better in an empty studio.
The staging is simple. The background fits the piece well, with barrels and big wooden wheels and other period-appropriate things tucked in. Performers mostly enter and exit through a door in the middle, but also use stairs on either side. A row of microphones dominates the front of the stage. Behind and a level up is the orchestra, and beyond them, a choir made up of cast members from several companies. I am more than 500 performers are a part of this, and at times the wall of sound just blew me away. Not to mention the lighting, which is so well done; it is a spectacle unto itself. Whole gun battles are fought with just red and white lights.