Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pre-Les Misérables

I have not yet seen Tom Hooper's adaptation of Les Misérables, but you can count me as skeptical. My absolute favourite stage musical, Les Misérables features perhaps the best soundtrack ever heard on Broadway (my opinion, at least). I am not very happy with Hooper's (and Universal Studios) decision to cast movie stars and not trained musical performers, and I am certainly not thrilled with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Thénardier (as Master of the House is one of my favourite songs!), but I did approach the soundtrack with less skepticism than I will approach the film.

Released as Les Misérables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack is bound to anger die hard fans just from the title. Highlights implies that some songs will be missing. And that assumption is correct. The worst offense? Excluding Lovely Ladies.

All I want to talk about today is two very different songs. I Dreamed a Dream and Master of the House.

The film's trailer is drenched in Anne Hathaway's surprisingly beautiful voice singing I Dreamed a Dream, which was first sung on London's West End in 1985 by Patti LuPone. Susan Boyle became a minor celebrity  in 2009 when she auditioned for Britain's Got Talent. I am quite a fan of Hathaway's version. Listen to Hathaway's version here. And compare it to Patti LuPone here. Anne Hathaway is evoking all kinds of emotion!

Unfortunately, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (as Madame Thénardier) do a terrible version of Master of the House. The song provides comic relief, but Cohen is a terrible singer. What was my favourite song is a terrible disappointment. Listen to the 25th Anniversary performance compared to Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.

Sure, things may change once I see the film. Let's hope!

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