SINGAPORE: Les Miserables opened at the Esplanade Theatre on Friday (Jun 3), about 20 years since the musical was last staged in Singapore.
Set in 19th-century France and based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Miserables follows the struggles of former prisoner Jean Valjean against the backdrop of a political revolution. The score includes classic songs such as "Do You Hear the People Sing?", "I Dreamed a Dream" and "On My Own".
Simone Heng and Denise Tan at the gala premiere of Les Miserables. (Photo: Nisha Karyn)
“It is a timeless classic,” said the show’s director James Powell. “Parents who grew up watching the musical are now taking their children to see it for the first time! It’s generation after generation, and it’s just fantastic. I love seeing younger audiences coming in and appreciating it, and enjoying it.”
Producers say the new version of the musical features a backdrop with projections of paintings by Hugo, who was also an accomplished painter, as well as a re-orchestrated score.
Desmond Tan at the gala premiere of Les Miserables. (Photo: Nisha Karyn)
"It's a fresh new production as Cameron Mackintosh says; it's re-imagined and it's a very clever use of technology that they've implemented and audiences will be really surprised and it really enhances the the theatrical experience," said Mr Moses Lye, head of the live entertainment segment at Mediacorp VizPro International, which is presenting the show.
Said Simon Gleeson, who plays Valjean: “It's completely new visually, a new sound design - bullets that you hear on stage, you hear them hit the wall at the back of the theatre.”
Tay Ping Hui at the gala premiere of Les Miserables. (Photo: Nisha Karyn)
Previews began on Tuesday, and the cast and production team say audience reception has "far exceeded" expectations.
Michael Cassel, the musical’s executive producer, added: “Each two nights are different … and for those who are familiar with Les Mis - either they've read the novel or listened to the sound recordings or have seen the movie - coming and seeing the show where it all began, live in the theatre, is something you can never experience again.”
The gala premiere at the Esplanade on Friday saw the attendance of celebrities, including Tay Ping Hui, Desmond Tan and Jeanette Aw, as well as Mediacorp partners.
Jeanette Aw at the gala premiere of Les Miserables. (Photo: Mediacorp VizPro International)
Les Miserables' run has been extended till Jul 24.