And there’s good reason for those colossal numbers…as Dubai Opera audiences will no doubt confirm.
From the off you realise you are in the presence of a giant, a theatrical ambition realised and achieved; familiar yet also fresh to this young venue and an eager audience with an at last satiated appetite for the kind of international quality entertainment already gracing the likes of Broadway or London’s West End.
From the wide-ranging vocal richness of John Owen-Jones – a revered ex-convict turned mayor Jean Valjean and veteran of the role – to the strident young talents of Paul Wilkins as student/Cosette’s suitor Marius and Alistair Brammer as charismatic revolutionary leader Enjolras, this is a cast with diversity and depth.
Peter Polycarpou, once of British TV comedy Birds Of A Feather, since a journeyman of Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera and Evita, exhibits flamboyant brilliance as mischievous tavern owner Thénardier alongside stage wife Jodie Prenger. Their intermittent appearances lend welcome light relief to an often-dark tale of troubled pasts and doubtful futures in some of the most memorable ensemble scenes, including all those street kids and prostitutes with inexplicable Cockney accents.
Emily Langridge’s Cosette is suitably demure and love-struck, although her voice is sometimes left a little wanting in close proximity to the powerful sweetness of English rose Carrie Hope Fletcher, perfectly poised as Éponine.
Combine all this with imaginative, detailed set design and director (one-time Les Mis cast member) James Powell’s informed use of space and scale and you have a production that fits this title’s reputation.
Twenty-five years into its record-breaking runs across the globe, Les Mis has found new life and willing ears in the Middle East’s great new home of major performance arts.
Be warned, however: this winning combination - already extended from its original run - lasts only until December 2.
For tickets and timings, visit www.dubaiopera.com/showlist/les-miserables