Sunday, 25 September 2011
Les Misérables in Malmö #1
Yesterday evening I, Love, Kajsa and Tiffany went to see Les Misérables in Malmö. I was really looking forward to it, although I was a bit sceptical and wondered whether I would agree to the Swedish translations. For some reason it seems impossible to sing pompously and majestically in modern Swedish and for some reason they always have to make the lyrics somewhat oldfashioned.
(All links to Swedish songs are from the 1990 musical in Stockholm)
Anyway we sat down and waited for the show to start. The intro was great and I didn't even react to the fact that they had changed Valjean's number from 24601 to 25601 (simply because 4 contains two syllables in Swedish and it doesn't work in the song) until Love told me so. Speaking of the intro, can someone explain the wolf to me? I liked Dan Ekborg as Valjean, although it bothered me for ages that I had seen him somewhere before but couldn't remember where. Of course Fred Johanson was absolutely spiffing as Javert, but who'd expect otherwise?
Continuing on to Fantine (Karolin Funke), I thought she looked old and it bothered me that she wore a wig. I mean how hard can it be to find a blond girl suitable to play Fantine in Sweden? Seriously? Her voice was spot-on (I Dreamed a Dream / Jag Drömde en Dröm), and her performance was nice. Another small detail that bothered me was the colour of her dress. I want Fantine to be dressed in white because Cosette sings of a woman all in white in Castle on a Cloud (I Himlens Slott) and I've interpreted that as she's singing about her mother, but she doesn't remember that it's her mother. Little Cosette and little Éponine were amazing though. I'm also not too sure about the general performance of Lovely Ladies (Sköna Damer) because they had made most of the extras who were whores were dressed as marionette dolls for some reason.
I liked the Swedish version of Master of the House (Herre i sitt Hus), but I was so disappointed in David Lundquist as Thénardier. He looked ragged and disgusting, somewhat like a zombie. I've seen pictures of the regular Thénardier, Peter Harryson, and it's still not how I picture Thénardier, but at least he doesn't look slimy. Madame Thénardier (Evamaria Björk) was very convincing and I liked her performance a lot.
Moving on to Paris. Gavroche sounded too cute in Stockholm Swedish. Maybe I'm spoiled with Robert Madge, but even the French 1991 version of Gavroche is cockier. We all agreed that Cosette (Mathilda Ahnell) sounded to opera-y to be fitting for Cosette. But the students were awesome! The guys portraying Enjolras (Anders Gjönnes) and Marius (Philip Jalmelid) are hot! :) I actually prefer the Swedish version of Red and Black (Rött och Svart) on the other hand the Swedish version of Do You Hear the People Sing (Folkets Sång) was bad. The translation was bad. The English version is true to the French original, while the Swedish has a meaning somewhat resembling the English/French ones. It's still a battle song, but not as awesome as the English/French ones.
I liked the stage, I can say as much. I also liked the Sweeney Tood-esque costumes and aura of the play. I liked how they had set up the scene of Master of the House, the whole bar was awesome. Still don't get the wolf though. Can someone also explain why the bushes in the park later on was formed as Christmas trees? Or why Cosette is in a cage?
During intermission we were nerdy enough to stay seated instead of stretching our legs, use the toilet and buy sweets. We sat there discussing the play thus far and comparing it to the original book, the French version, the original London cast version, 10th anniversary and 25th anniversary. None of us liked Éponine (Ida Högberg). Why does she resemble a Joker with a big fat green bow on top of her head? We liked her voice and her singing but not how they had styled her appearance.
The second act started and there was not much new to tell. I liked to watch the fighting at the barricade, it was well done. It was also my first time seeing the death of Gavroche. I cried some when Éponine died, which I didn't when I watched 25th anniversary, so I thought it was well done.
When it was all over we got out of the stage room, decided not to go to the stage door to get autographs and walked out through the doors while singing Do You Hear the People Sing. All in all it was a great night :)
Coming home I booked another viewing almost immediately. Today I've been listening through the soundtrack in French and Swedish. I've also found some songs in Danish and I also stumbled across some songs in Japanese! Gavroche sounded too cocky there! xD