Hehe, I think I have a few.
- I loved Kiyotaka Imai as Javert (in the 1994 Japanese Blue Cast) and Valjean (in the 2003 Violet/Lilac Cast). While his voice was perhaps a bit too 'heavy' for Valjean, his acting was superb... and being one of the only Japanese Valjeans who sang "Bring Him Home" in its intended key certainly helps, as well.
- I also liked Kazutaka Ishii as Valjean (in the 2003 Light Blue Cast). Partly for being the other Japanese Valjean who sang BHH in its intended key.
- Though I'm generally not a huge fan of the new (post Broadway revival) orchestrations, I do love the added percussion in all occurrences of the "Look Down" melody (especially "Confrontation," though the horns and tempo issues bug me there). I also like the added counterpoints in numbers like "One Day More," and the more intimate, cabaret-like feel of "Master of the House." Generally, added counterpoints = good, removed or reduced counterpoints = bad.
- Though I love Philip Quast as Javert, I prefer Anthony Crivello, Roger Allam, and Earl Carpenter in the role for various reasons.
- This one probably won't be as "unpopular" on this forum as it might be among general LM fans who have only seen the concerts and film... but I'm not a big fan of Alfie Boe's Valjean. His acting is all but nonexistent, and his voice doesn't really work as Valjean for me; there have been better operatic performers in the role.
- I liked Drew Sarich as Javert.
- However, I can't really get into Tam Mutu in the role. His acting is decent, but his voice reminds me a little too much of Terrence Mann.
- In the Berlin production, though they were definitely not the best performers in those roles and were understudied and/or replaced by better ones, I actually liked Olegg Vynnyk (Valjean), Uwe Kröger (Javert), and Vera Bolten (Éponine). I dislike Kröger in general but was surprised that I didn't mind him so much here. And though I wasn't fond of Bolten in the highlights album, live recordings helped me understand why she was cast. (Though she really
didn't work as Fantine -- that was probably the only time I thought a role was definitely miscast in any of what I've heard from this production.) The Berlin production overall is perhaps my favorite that I've heard.
- Though I thought Daphne Rubin-Vega was vocally miscast as Fantine, I liked her more than Randy Graff because of their overall portrayals. For all of DRV's issues in the role, at least she didn't overact to the point of making me start laughing
during her death scene like Graff did in a live recording. (I usually get teary-eyed very easily in that scene anyway, so it would have to be a pretty bad Fantine to make me feel nothing at all... but Graff is the only one to actually make me laugh.)
That's it for now, but I may have more later.