Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Production Photos

For the briefest moment this fall, there'll be two Swedish-speaking (or singing) productions of Les Misérables competing for the affection of the Nordic public. One, my beloved dear domestic production, continues in Åbo Svenska Teater, Finland, and the other is premiering these days in Malmö Opera, Sweden.
I'm incredibly lucky and will see the both in less than two months' time.

Also, the first pictures of the latter have just been released.

One Day More

As we can see, the Malmö production will be a modern take of a period piece.
Not taking the period the show is set in literally is not a new idea by any means, for example Spring Awakening had similar concept right from the beginning. It's a concept rarely associated with Les Misérables, though - this regional production of Les Mis is the only other one that comes to mind.

I'm not sure if I'm a fan of treatment like this, considering that I haven't seen a show that does so live. I can imagine it going two ways: either the modern design will be a lovely breath of fresh air often much needed with classics, or it will make getting emotionally involved in the history-based story virtually impossible. I shall see.
But, whatever I shall think about this production, I think it's absolutely thrilling to see Les Mis with a new twist like this. Having seen the original London and the dissimilar but still period-accurate Åbo production, it'll be fun seeing a radically different spin of my favourite musical for a change.

I don't want to speculate too much, it never ends up anywhere near truth, but let's see the photos anyway.

 Valjean Arrested

So, 25601. Thanks to syllable-related problems, Valjean's number is a bit modified in the Swedish translation. Amazing moustache you've got there, Guard #1!

Master of the House or Beggars at the Feast - with the bare stage, it could go either way

These Thénardiers creep me out the biggest time. They look like the cast of Oliver! gone very, very, very wrong. But, considering we're talking about the Thénardiers, that's all good.

Lovely Ladies

Also, the creepiest Lovely Ladies I've ever seen. Whatever this production will be, too calm and non-threatening won't be a thing associated with it!

Javert's Soliloquy, I guess

So, the Malmö Javert is bald. Wow, quite a change to the traditional ponytail-and-sideburns-all-over types! I think I like his looks quite a lot.

 The Runaway Cart

The ensemble is doing their best to remind me of Mozart, L'opéra rock...

Valjean's Confession

Seeing the first photos of the ÅST production last year, I speculated whether Alexander Lycke would play the first beardless professional Valjean ever. But nope, he had a fine beard going by the premiere. Wonder if Dan Ekborg will really go for this radical style with no last-minute chances of facial hair? I sure hope so!

So, after seeing these pictures, what do I think?
Well, for the most part, I've no problems with anything. This production won't have visually boring moments, that's for sure! Still, I've no idea if the modern style will distract from the historical piece, but I'll be wiser in a few weeks.
If I have to complain about something, it's that angel statue hanging in the background. I've seen it only in these pictures, being lit white or red according to the mood of the scene, and I'm already a bit bored by the obvious symbolism. But maybe there are more innovative uses that really surprise me.

To be completely honest, though, there's the deal with the two simultaneous Swedish productions I mentioned in the beginning. Sadly, I'm really, really biased towards the ÅST production. 
Since I first saw it soon a year ago, I've been a huge fan of it - as the readers of my blog surely know. I know I don't, in reality, have anything to do with it except for sitting in the audience in steady intervals, but I call it my production in my mind. It's so dear to me, and, due to the lack of Les Mis fans in Finland (let me know if you're one of us. We need to unionize and form a One Day More flashmob before the final show. Or something), I can freely praise the production everywhere along my online adventures, and there's usually no one to question my opinions.
So, what if this new Swedish production beats the one I have adored so much in overall amazingness, during the older show's final month of performances? To me, it'd equal my favourite ice hockey team losing in the finals. I know it's insane to talk like this about theatre productions (what's next? The fans of Helsinki City Theatre meeting the admirers of The National Theatre at the square to brawl?), but I've a hard time shaking the feeling...
Despite it, though, these pictures have made me really curious and I can't wait to see what the Malmö Opera does with my favourite musical.

Finally... There's one solid reason for me to wish the Malmö production won't be too much awesome. 
If it's really amazing, I'll be competely out of money before the end of this year due to frequent visits to the neighbouring country!

A post about the woes of being an obsessed Mizzie coming up.
I think I've put the Les Mis album comparison to permanent hiatus. After getting three and a half new cast recordings during this summer, I see no point continuing. If it was your favourite thing here, speak up now and I may continue, otherwise I'll let it be.

 The pictures are by Malin Arnesson, from Malmö Opera's website.


  1. Fear not, you are not the only Les Mis fan in Finland. After witnessing the ÅST production and the West End production (both of them already three times), the 25th anniversary tour once (the final Barbican show!!) and the O2 25th anniversary concert, I would count myself as one :-)

    Some recollections of these can be found here:



  2. Wow, there's more of us than just one, hi! The final Barbican show... Forever jealous! :D
    (Todella hellyyttävä blogi sinulla, aivan ihana idea!)

  3. Ihana blogi on rouvan blogi, itse kirjoittelen lähinnä syömisestä silloin kun kirjoittelen:


    Ihanasta blogista löytyy myös pari mainintaa sekä kotomaan Jesus Christ Superstarista että Wickedistä:



    Asiaa West Endin musikaalikokemuksista löytyy myös lisää:





    Niin ja liput ÅST:n Les Misin syksyn esitysten kahteen viimeiseen näytökseen on jo hommattu...