Les Misérables continues in rep at the Landestheater Linz, Austria.
To kick off the 2014/2015, the Landestheater Linz presents one of the most successful musicals of all time, the Boubill/Schönberg/Kretzmer-penned show Les Misérables. Artistic director for musical theatre Matthias Davids directs this masterpiece in German in a translation by Heinz Rudolf Kunze.
Christian Alexander Müller as Jean Valjean is vocally strong and impresses throughout the show (even though he wasn’t very well during the week leading up to opening night), while Barbara Obermeier – a new addition to the musical theatre department’s ensemble – sings beautifully and plays a very credible Cosette. Alan Hodzovic (also a new addition) as Marius gives a solid performance, although his rendition of ‘Empty Chairs At Empty Tables’ (‘Dunkles Schweigen an den Tischen’) is a little weak.
Konstantin Zander is a fine Javert whose rendition of ‘Stars’ (‘Sterne’) results in probably one of the strongest solo performances of the entire show. Daniela Dett and Rob Pelzer are both extremely funny individually and as a duo in the roles of Madame and Monsieur Thénardier.
Kristin Hölck, who is an ensemble member and previously led the cast of Next to Normal earlier last season, was due to play Fantine but was unable to sing the part due to illness. Therefore she played the role onstage and Carin Filipcic, who has portrayed Fantine in Graz before, sang for her from the pit. While I do wish Hölck a quick recovery, I have to say that Filipcic sang beautifully with a lot of warmth and was a great addition to the show.
Riccardo Greco, also new to the show, delivers a solid performance on all levels. Ariana Schirasi-Fard as Eponine is a real joy vocally. Her solo, ‘On My Own’ (‘Nur Für Mich’) displays the strength of her voice. Due to the size of the show, it is impossible to mention each cast member, but I have to say that they are on great form, despite some difficulties with sound at times, particularly the Bishop.
Matthias Fischer-Dieskau, who has previously collaborated with Davids on many other productions such as Sweeney Todd at the Volksoper and Carousel at the Oper Graz, designed the sets and projections for this production. While these elements, very much like in Carousel, work really well, it is a bit of a shame that there isn’t something fresher on offer, particularly since they got the exclusive rights to do Les Mis.
The costumes by Susanne Hubrich are, I believe, based on the original ones. The show features a lighting design by Michael Grundner and sound design by Andreas Frei and Michael Jurtin. It must be said that with Kai Tietje on his side as musical director and the glorious Bruckner Orchestra, Davids has created a beautiful production of an epic musical.
Ludovico Lucchesi Palli