Lines you judge performers on

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Acaila
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Lines you judge performers on

Postby Acaila » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:31 am

This was just something I was wondering about at the show the other night, but does anyone else have certain lines that they judge the performance of a particular character on?
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Heidi80
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Heidi80 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:56 am

Valjean: "24601" in Who am I
Javert: "stars" in Stars (as in "stars, in your multitudes...)
Enjolras: the whole Do you hear the people sing-solo
Éponine: all my life, I've only been pretending in On my own
Fantine: don't they know, there making love to one already dead in Lovely ladies

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deHavilland
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby deHavilland » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:33 pm

I wouldn't go so far as to say that a single line can do in a performance for me; that's kind of unfair, look at Bardsley's absolutely angelic (blurgh) "is free!" But there's definitely make-or-break it lines that define where someone stands as far as being a favorite, depending on the role.

With Valjeans, I really judge the "fliiiiight!" and "oooooone!" sustained notes. Too yelpy and I giggle, too operatic and I roll my eyes. For a character like Enjolras that I'm generally more interested in, it's more about the overall effect and presence than any particular line.

Which is why Alfie Boe gets a lose and David Bardsley a pass. ;)
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby humanracer » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:42 pm

I can only speak for the recorded versions as I haven't see anything live yet
"and I am Javert" (the Javert on the OBC delivers this line really poorly)
"before we cut the bad ones down to size"
"that I have ever known" (from On My Own)
"this is a factory not a circus"
"you'll wear a different chain"
"a slave of the law"
"a heart full of love"
"my name's Gavroche"
"do you hear the people sing?"
"Lemarque is dead"
"if I go to jail she'll die"
"nobody shouts or talks too loud"
"it is either Valjean or Javert"
"who am I? 24601"
"just for stealing a mouthful of bread"


However I am not sure if I just notice these lines more because they also happen to be my favourite lines

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Acaila
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Acaila » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:49 pm

No Fantine lines for you G? ;) I think that's what reminded me to post the thread!

It makes sense that there would be some correlation with your favorites Rob.
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Rachelle
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Rachelle » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:04 pm

For Fantine I tend to judge their ability to sing the lowest part of I Dreamed a Dream
"But the tigers come at night --> and they turn your dream to shame". Whilst I've nothing against sopranos playing Fantine, it annoys me when they don't have the range. An alto would not be allowed to play a soprano role if she couldn't sing the high notes so why should it be ok the other way round.
I'm an alto myself so I'm quite protective of good alto-mezzo roles as they are so few and far between in shows that aren't Les Mis.
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Acaila
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Acaila » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:39 pm

I can definitely relate to that sentiment!
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby deHavilland » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:53 pm

Acaila wrote:No Fantine lines for you G? ;) I think that's what reminded me to post the thread.


Actually, after I had posted, I thought about Fantine and how this falls into the category for sure, but couldn't figure out how to rework it into my post. Which left it open-ended, honestly, since there's a couple characters who have stinger lines for me.

With Fantine, though, it's pretty much all of Come to Me. Which is kind of terrible, since that's pretty much the last thing she does. Like I Dreamed a Dream doesn't really have nearly as much weight for me as when she's speaking to what she thinks is the embodiment of Cosette. Seriously, it must be sung like she actually knows who Cosette is, like this is a child she physically gave birth to and loves and cherishes and is dying for.

"Come to me, Cosette the light is fading" sung one-note and without any kind of feeling is like, seriously, don't you know who your own kid is? ACT. ACT!
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Acaila
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Acaila » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:07 pm

A few of mine:

Valjean - "Take an eye for an eye" I feel like that's when it gets musically exciting, and I want to feel some passion in it.

Marius - "My world if she's not there". If you don't do the Michael Ball lick, you get immediate negative points

Enjolras - "Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free" Angel summoning, please and thank you. The "rise" should be so great it provokes physical feelings and anyone who doesn't do something worthwhile with the last two words should not be playing Enjolras.

Cosette - "In my life, I'm no longer a child and I yearn for the truth that you know" I hate hate *hate* it when this is played as petulant. She's already a hard enough character to sympathise with in the musical, so don't make her a brat who has no reason to be one.
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Rachelle » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:03 pm

Acaila wrote:Enjolras - "Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free" Angel summoning, please and thank you. The "rise" should be so great it provokes physical feelings and anyone who doesn't do something worthwhile with the last two words should not be playing Enjolras.


I agree. Personally I don't mind if they sing or shout the last words as long as its done with conviction and in continuity with the type of Enjolras that they have been presenting in the rest of the show.
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Rachel » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:00 pm

"Cosette, now I remember
Cosette, how can it be?
We were children together.
Look what's become of me."

Because this just gives you infinite opportunity to show how Éponine feels about a) Cosette, b) her current life, and c) her childhood and it allows the performer to show whether Éponine is shocked or is just sad or is taking it in stride because the gears in her head are already turning, etc. In a nutshell, I feel as though this line that is so often overlooked gives so many opportunities to the performer for character development, and if you don't take any of them, I don't think you know Éponine well enough. You cannot sing these being mildly surprised but that's it. Also, if they make choices here that I think are bad ones or show that they don't know the character at all. And I love, love, love when Éponine has bitterness for Cosette shown in this.

"One word from him and I'd be back,
Under the lash, upon the rack."

Because I didn't know what a rack was and googled it. I gasped, put my hand over my mouth and immediately felt sick. It's a horrific, horrific torture device and if you show no emotion over it, then you're not nearly immersed enough in your character. Crying, anger, whatever, just show something.

"Follow me! Follow me!"

This one is smaller, but it needs to charismatic and awesome and genuinely convincing. Bonus points for having a growl in your voice in the second "follow me", like Adam Searles or Oliver Gilmartin.

"I am agog,
I am aghast!
Is Marius in love at last?
I've never heard him ooh and ahh."

This is almost the only time we get to see Grantaire do something that has nothing to do with Enjolras. We get to see what he's like without Enjolras. How does he treat his friend?

"Don't you fret,
Monsieur Marius,
I don't feel any pain."

Are you being brave for Marius, does it genuinely not hurt, or are you clearly in pain? This is the climax of Éponine's character arc, this is her final interaction with Marius. This is when she knows she's going to die. How does she feel about it? Come on. And also, she just got shot in the chest. I realize there's belting in this, but don't die out of nowhere. Gasp for air, use Marius as a support, do something to let us know you're getting closer. I realize she could be in shock, but people in shock don't make for very interesting reactions on stage. Because news flash, an audience doesn't usually watch you die either. We're already buying some pretty far-fetched stuff, and we're suspending our disbelief. Take advantage of that.
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Heidi80 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Rachel wrote:
"One word from him and I'd be back,
Under the lash, upon the rack."

Because I didn't know what a rack was and googled it. I gasped, put my hand over my mouth and immediately felt sick. It's a horrific, horrific torture device and if you show no emotion over it, then you're not nearly immersed enough in your character. Crying, anger, whatever, just show something.



I didn't know what a rack was either, just thought it meant the jail. Thank you for explaining this part.

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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby deHavilland » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:03 am

I was just listening through a recording and I remembered another thing that can really make me judge a performer and that's Fantine's whore voice. I understand the need to put on a bit of husk when it comes to "come on, captain, you can wear your shoes," but some Fantines are just downright terrible here.

And I don't mean "terrible by being accurate-to-the-character, where Fantine would probably kind of suck at being a really husky prostitute" kind of way, either.
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Rachelle » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:52 pm

deHavilland wrote:I was just listening through a recording and I remembered another thing that can really make me judge a performer and that's Fantine's whore voice. I understand the need to put on a bit of husk when it comes to "come on, captain, you can wear your shoes," but some Fantines are just downright terrible here.

And I don't mean "terrible by being accurate-to-the-character, where Fantine would probably kind of suck at being a really husky prostitute" kind of way, either.


Like Lea Salonga's really weird sounding whore-voice.
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Re: Lines you judge performers on

Postby Rachel » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:29 pm

Rachelle wrote:
deHavilland wrote:I was just listening through a recording and I remembered another thing that can really make me judge a performer and that's Fantine's whore voice. I understand the need to put on a bit of husk when it comes to "come on, captain, you can wear your shoes," but some Fantines are just downright terrible here.

And I don't mean "terrible by being accurate-to-the-character, where Fantine would probably kind of suck at being a really husky prostitute" kind of way, either.


Like Lea Salonga's really weird sounding whore-voice.


I thought Lea Salonga's sounded drunk and angry. And I can deal with drunk and angry. I don't know, didn't bother me that much.
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