Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Fountains of Les Mis

I've just been to the Vue in Leicester Square with Matt to see the film version of the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the O2. Matt was playing Thenadier and did an extremely good job. It seems he was born to play the part, and all the other platitudes that people without proper words use on these occasions. The entire cast was wonderful and the new orchestrations are incredible but Alfie Boe playing Jean Val Jean completely blew me away. His standing ovation for Bring Him Home lasted four whole minutes, during which time he stood, rather uncomfortably on the stage, wondering whether to come out of character to acknowledge the applause, or just stand there looking grief-stricken. In the end, he acknowledged the audience with a subtle blown kiss which felt deeply appropriate and made me warm to him even more than I had when he cooked us Sunday dinner a few weeks back. What an extraordinary voice that man has and anyone who doubts this fact, should see the film of him singing for his supper at Matt's house here...

Les Miserables gets a lot of stick from classical music snobs, but my God, it's a great show. I first saw it as a sixth former. We went on a school trip to London and were given the choice of either seeing Wogan being filmed or going to see Les Mis, and it was only me and another girl who wanted to see the show. A teacher rather begrudgingly took us and we sat in the Gods with a box of Maltesers between the three of us. I burst into tears at the end of One Day More. It was horribly embarrassing, and I didn't know where to put myself and I refused to talk during the interval for fear of crying all over again. I don't think I'd ever heard music so loud or so stirring and I'd played The Fountains of Rome in Youth Orchestra!

350 years ago was the first day of a new regime at the Navy office. It's not clear why, but it had been decided to shift from working during the mornings to working in the afternoons. Pepys therefore had a morning free to visit a goldsmith, but found himself working late into the evening. After finishing, the Navy team went drinking at the Dolphin Tavern, where they found Sir William Batten, a man for whom Pepys was beginning to develop something of a grudge, writing snidely that barely a night went by without him being found in there. Nevertheless, a great deal of fun was had by all "and there we did drink a great quantity of sack and did tell many merry stories, and in good humours we were all." I'm beginning to wonder whether I shouldn't organise a story telling evening. What a wonderful way to pass a candle-lit evening!

1 comment:

  1. So agree with you about les Mis. I saw it for the first time only a few months ago and was BLOWN AWAY!!! I love opera too, by the way. Going to see Parsifal in March, so there, you snobs :-p There are only two sorts of music: good and bad, end of.