Les Miserables

Les Miserables known in English as The Terrible is a musical portrayal of the French Revolution. It is a musical tragedy, which served as a major powerhouse competitor for Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals in the early eighties and nineties. When first debuting on Broadway in 1987 it traveled a long hard road to compete with musicals of the decade. However, in time many well-known performers were proud to associate themselves with this wonderful work of art.

The musical play begins with its lead character named Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean was released on parole after 19 years on the chain gang. In this initial scene the audience can almost immediately feel the tonality of the play with the constant reference to the number 24601. 24601 were the prison number that became Jean Valjeans identity for 19 years.

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The dark and dreary ambiance set the tone for the first song of the libretto, Look Down. The lyrics to look down coincide with the chain gang, overseen by brutal wanders, working in the hot sun. It is this series of songs in Act one that take the audience through many turns of feelings and emotions. These emotional songs are used to portray poor men and women working in low class factories, women selling their bodies and more importantly a class of people struggling to scrape by. The most vivid songs used to identify the various themes of poverty and prostitution are Lovely Ladies, A Heart Full of Love, and Master of The House. Moreover, it is a song titled Do You Hear the People Sing? That prepares the audience for the ending of Act one.

Most if not all of Act one uses song, tonality, character, pitch and tone to depict the various themes of the play while the story is beginning to unravel.Throughout the second and final act the musical content within the play acts as a story of its own through theme and variation. Each separate song represents a feeling and or mood and is enhanced as it is varied throughout the act. Like the first act, the songs are used to portray poverty, suffering, hardships, and even death. However, unlike the first act, there is also a theme of love and happiness. Closure is brought about with a sense of warmth and this is often heard through the display of the tempo.

When the times were tough the tempo decreased and was often slow and morbid like. When happy times were brought about, the tempo increased to a song and dance farewell. The final song of the musical really brings the whole story together. The loose ends are tied and the audiences hearts are left captivated and moved.This musical would not be complete without the dramatization of the performers. It is each individual performer that brings song into the story. Each of the eight main characters represents, in a sense, their own theme and motivation towards the story. Without these characters the notes and chords wouldnt bring about any music.

It would merely be song without feelings or words. Each of them sings to sing to us in their own different way and exemplify their role within the story. Together these two important ideas make this play an excellent musical.My personal reaction to this musical was surprisingly a good one. When my girlfriend first told me that we were going to see a Broadway play I wasnt initially excited.

However, after just about 30 minutes into the opening act I was beginning to recognize and comprehend musical terms that we had discussed in class. I then decided to be open minded and take notice of not only musical but also theatrical happenings of the story. It was amazing to be able to hear the tempo change, the timbre (tone color), and also identify the theme and variation. It was often difficult to understand the opera like approach to the play but all you needed was a good ear and total concentration. I found that I actually enjoyed Les Miserables and I wouldnt be too quick to say no to another one.Category: Music and Movies

Les Miserables

Les Miserables LES MISERABLES Les Miserables is a story, a very long story, which has been categorized as a classic. The story is about 1200 pages long. It is an epic saga, which covers about three decades in the early 1800’s of France. The film is about the fugitive, Jean Valjean, following his release from jail after doing nineteen years of hard labor for stealing bread. Jean Valjean is chased by the cruel and self-righteous Inspector Javert, in a lifelong struggle to evade capture.

The novel, Les Miserables is internationally known.That is because of its universal themes. These themes are: how society treats its outcasts, and how it views its criminals, prejudice, justice, doing what is morally right, and people can become better persons. The theme -how society treats its outcasts- can be seen in how the poor and homeless are are treated, and that is like animals. The rich treat them as though they are inferior and that they have no feelings or any form of intelligence. They are also not given the right to vote, which makes them not citizens of that nation.This theme is universal because every nation in the world has some sort of outcasts in their land. In America, this theme can be related to the blacks.

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In the beginning of the twentieth century they did not have as much rights and oppurtunities as the whites. Another example of how this theme can be related to America is how a person with a southern accent is perceived as less intelligent, which is a false misconception. The theme -how criminals are viewed by society- can be seen by how Jean Valjean is treated after he is released by prison.

Although, he has served a sentence of nineteen years, he is still chased and wanted. In that period of time when a person commited theft it was viewed as a crime against the community and that person should be punished to the most extremes. That theme can be seen in modern America. When a person commits a federal crime heshe cannot hold a public job or teach for the rest of hisher life. Also, when a person commits a crime, that person and that person’s career is scarred for life.The theme -doing what is morally right- can be seen in many instances in the novel. One instance is Valjean gives money to free Cozzette.

Another instance is Valjean does not kill Javert to save his life. Also, Javert lets Valjean go free. There are also times where people do something that is morally wrong, but lawful.One might be when the students are executed. Another might be the arrest of the prostitute.

A present time situation might be soldiers killing other soldiers. It is legal, but is morally wrong. In conclusion, the novel, Les Miserables, is a universal book with themes that many people from many countries can relate to. That is why it is put in the class of classics.It is also popular because it can be related with present time situations and events.

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