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 hero


Hugh Jackman Jean Valjean

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…

The law


Javert John Malkovich

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)

More culture news:
*The BBC Proms is coming to Dubai*
*An insider look at the epic aqua show La Perle*
*Jamie Cullum, Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe are coming to Dubai*

The victim


Anne Hathaway fantine

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



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


Katie Hall Cosette

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

The rebel


Nick Jonas Marius

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…

November 10 to December 2
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