Saturday, April 21, 2007

Les Miserables

This epic novel by Victor Hugo was required reading for our class with Mr. Bong Alegre back in the late 1990's. Les Miserables was memorable in a sense that we had a very long debate about the encarceration of Jean Valjean for stealing bread to eat. It was "dura lex sed lex" versus survival and morality. The class was divided over the issue and the argument became so heated that at one point a classmate of ours stormed out of the classroom. (This was not limited to this particular class but in any class where there is a point to be disucssed or debated. My friend Anton and I usually took to being "devil's advocate" to any topic of debate presented). The musical Les Miserables by Cameron Mackintosh is arguably as epic as Hugo's novel. The broadway musical opened in 1987 and lasted until 2003. It is consdierd as the second-longest running play in Broadway, with the top spot belonging to Cats. It is opening again opening in Broadway this year, i think, with Lea Salonga playing Fantine (if i am not mistaken). On Les Miserables' 10th anniversary on Broadway, the 18 actors playing Jean Valjean from different countries, including Iron Chef Japan's host Takeshi Kaga, all took turns singing "Do you hear the people sing" in their native languages. From YouTube, as posted by RenzoRienzi, here is the link to the video. Sorry but embedding was disabled by request).