Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Darkest Night

The original Broadway cast (1987) during the Finale.

I thought it might be a good idea to explain the name I use here - The Darkest Night, a name I seem to be using more and more online. It will probably be pretty obvious to most Les Miz fans anyway, but I still want to use this blog entry for the topic of The Darkest Night.

I picked it out a while back from my favourite Les Misérables quote - Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. I really love the hopeful meaning of it, and how true it really is. Just like the sun will always rise in the morning, replacing the darkness of the night, we can trust that no matter how bad things are, they will get better. The sun will rise!

The quote is from the Finale of Les Misérables, sung by the entire ensemble, and usually VERY powerful. This part (which is the last part of the song), is a version of Do You Hear the People Sing? (I love that song btw - you can be sure it will be mentioned again here), and it is sung when the dead students join the rest of the ensemble on stage. I personally think it’s extremely sad when they are shot, but through this little song they get to live on.

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.

There is such power in this song, and a wonderful message of hope! The last few songs of the musical are really sad (with the exception of Beggars at the Feast), so I really like that they use this song to end on a more hopeful note. Even though the students were all killed (except Marius), the people haven’t given up.

The rest of the song continues on the same theme of hope and power, with amazing lines like They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord and Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?.

This song is among my big favourites in Les Misérables, and an amazing way to end a wonderful musical.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

On My Own

Lea Salonga as Eponine (Tenth Anniversary Concert, London, 1995) during On My Own

While I had read the book a couple of years earlier, the song On My Own was the first thing I ever heard from - or about - the musical production of Les Misérables. So I thought it would be suitable to start with an entry about that song!

I remember watching a science program on TV (maybe in 1989?) and they talked about the special effects used in the London musicals - including the boat and the candle sticks in The Phantom of the Opera. They also talked about sound effects, and when doing that they showed Eponine singing On My Own. I loved the song right away!

A year or so later it became quite popular, although I’m not sure what brought that one really - it seemed everyone (at least in my generation) was very familiar with this song, although most of us had never seen the musical. I can only guess that it was the Swedish production of Les Misérables that brought on the interest here as well (even for the English version).
There are a couple of interesting facts concerning this song. First of all, when the musical was translated from English to French, they did some major changes. One of them being that the song L’Air de la Misere sung by Fantine, became Eponine’s On My Own, with completely new lyrics!

Also, the beginning of the English version was changed when it moved to Broadway.

And now I’m all alone again
Nowhere to turn, no one to go to
I did not want your money, sir,
I came out here ‘cos I was told to

And now I’m all alone again
Nowhere to turn, no one to go to
Without a home, without a friend
Without a face to say hello to

The big difference here is that the first version connects to Eponine’s meeting with Jean Valjean (when she’s been sent to give a letter to Cosette from Marius), while the second version makes the song work completely on it’s own. You can hear it, and know nothing of Les Misérables, and still completely understand the song.

The first version adds a bit of extra understanding to Eponine’s anger and disappointment, as she‘s not only upset about Marius preferring Cosette to her, but the fact that although she‘s chosen to risk her life being on the barricade (for him), he has simply sent her off to as a messenger to Cosette. Obviously, even though she does go to deliver the letter, she finds the whole thing very embarrassing, especially when she is caught by Jean Valjean, and made to give the letter to him instead. She didn’t come as a beggar - she came to give Cosette a letter!

The second version possibly adds some more sadness to the song though, as this is the only time we hear Eponine state she doesn’t have a home anymore. Apparently, by socializing with Marius, and then ruining her father’s attempt to rob Jean Valjean, Eponine is no longer welcomed at her parents’ house. She gave up everything for Marius, and this song truly shows how lonely Eponine is. (Yet it’s contains many other emotions as well).

Apart from those two lines that were changed, the two versions are pretty much identical. I think I prefer the first one, because I really LIKED those lines they changed, but as a separate song it works so much better without them, so I can understand why they changed them. Like I said, it does also slightly sense the theme of the song a bit.

But no matter what version, I think this is a really wonderful song - one of my big favourites from Les Misérables! For sure one of the most beauitful ballads ever written!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Welcome to this blog, where I will be sharing my thoughts and opinions - as well as pictures and information about things related to the wonderful musical Les Misérables! :)

Be sure to comment the posts - I love reading other people's opinions!