Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Report from the Barricade - Les Miserables Returns to Boston on a Memorable Night

There were technical difficulties galore in Boston last night. In the Back Bay a transformer explosion sparked a three-alarm blaze that has much of the heart of the city without power still this morning. A few blocks away in the Theater District, the Opening Night performance of Les Miserables at the Opera House was halted abruptly early in the second act when the mechanism that moves the iconic barricade on and off the stage jammed.

Just as the students began to mount the barricade, a goddess voice interrupted the proceedings: "We are sorry, but we must halt the performance to take care of some technical difficulties. Please use this time to review your programs." The curtain fell, the house lights came up, and the audience began tweeting. About 20 minutes later, the technical glitch having been solved, the curtain rose and we were once again in 19th Century Paris.

While Boston firefighters were busy dowsing the stubborn flames that erupted near the Back Bay Hilton, at the Opera House the hiatus in the show did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the nearly full house. When the play reached its dramatic and moving denouement, the audience jumped to its feet as one, with enthusiastic clapping, whistling and shouting. The cast seemed to soak in the special "welcome home to Boston" outburst, lingering longer than usual for the curtain calls.

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog piece, this 25th Anniversary production of Les Miserables is special in a number of ways. The backdrops are based on original Victor Hugo sketches, including the one above. Particularly haunting is the backdrop used in the final scene. As Jean Valjean is being escorted to heaven by the spirits of Fantine and Eponine, he sings:"To love another person is to see the face of God." Watching over this elegiac scene is Hugo's haunting sketch of two huge eyes - perhaps emblematic of the "face of God."

Les Miserables will be in residence at the Opera House through April 1.

Treat yourself to this remarkable work of art and entertainment.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic!!!! My wife and I attended last evening. The house was packed and enthusiastic. Interestingly...In my opinion Javert stole the show. E