Les Misérables’ show at Dubai Opera has kicked off (we went on Thursday and were rather delighted by it all).
If you’re going and want to bone up on the characters, here’s a look at the many famous faces who have starred in the title roles and the best songs to listen out for…
The Les Mis lead is a tortured soul, who suffered through 19 years of imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s children. But he gets a second chance at an honest life when he runs away, changing his identity – and his ways.
Who’s played him: Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, Gérard Depardieu, Alfie Boe
Best song: Who Am I
Check out Alfie Boe in action…
Inspector Javert believes in right and wrong, which is why he dedicates his entire life to hunting down Jean Valjean after he flees his bail. He believes Valjean is a no-good criminal and the two go head-to-head over the next 20 years.
Who’s played him: Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, John Malkovich, Norm Lewis
Best song: Stars (except when Crowe sings it – shudder)
Easily Les Mis’ most tragic character, first poor Fantine loses her job at the factory, then she’s pushed to desperate measures to earn money to feed her daughter Cosette, who’s being looked after by local innkeepers nearby. Valjean takes pity on her and promises to help raise the girl, but it’s all too late for young Fantine.
Who’s played her: Anne Hathaway, Uma Thurman, Patti LuPone, Lea Salonga
Best song: I Dreamed A Dream
Lea Salonga owned the role of Fantine and here’s why…
The comic relief
THÉNARDIER AND MADAM THÉNARDIER
A lowlife couple running an inn, and making a living by swindling the townfolk. The innkeepers mistreat Cosette. They’re nasty characters, with plenty of cheek and their songs are as catchy as the germs in their pies.
Who’s played them: Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, Matt Lucas and Jenny Galloway, Alun Armstrong
Songs: Master Of The House
Before New Tricks, Alum Armstrong strutted his stuff as Thénardier…
The innocent one
The audience meets Cosette when she’s little (she’s the one on the poster), and when she’s a teenager. Brought to Paris by Valjean, she falls in love with the student Marius, much to the horror of his friend Eponine, the adult daughter of the Thénardiers.
Who’s played her: Amanda Seyfried, Claire Danes, Katie Hall
Best song: Castle On A Cloud
A student and a rebel, Marius falls head over heels for Cosette at first sight. This breaks Eponine’s heart – the daughter of the swindling innkeepers has loved Marius for years – but she puts her feelings aside to help him find his new love – all while they’re both wrapped up in the Paris Uprising of 1832.
Who’s played him: Eddie Redmayne, Nick Jonas, Michael Ball, Ricky Martin
Best song: Empty Chairs At Empty Tables
Hear Michael Ball belt out Marius’ solo…
Dubai Opera, The Opera District, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Mon to Thur 8pm, Fri and Sat timings vary, Dhs275. Tel: (800) 36227. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. dubaiopera.com