What do you get when you mix Sudbury’s favourite tenor, a popular local conductor and two acclaimed arts organizations that regularly perform to audiences of more than 1,000?
Attendees at the upcoming production of "Les Miserables: In Concert," which runs Dec. 17-19, will soon find out. Although the performance is the first venture into musical theatre for the Sudbury Symphony, and YES Theatre’s first engagement with a live orchestra, the key players in the production are far from amateurs.
Playing the leading role of Jean Valjean is Jeff Wiseman. Nicknamed “Sudbury’s favourite tenor,” Wiseman’s arresting voice has taken him on tours across Canada and Scotland.
Now leading the Sudbury Chamber Singers and the Firefighters Choir, Wiseman has showcased his musical talent to numerous sold-out venues.
“It’s been a dream of mine to be Jean Valjean. I even had a callback for the role in Toronto during their original production,” said Wiseman, in a press release.
“Les Miserables has so many well-known melodies; including 'Bring Him Home,' one of Jean Valjean’s most emotional songs. I’ve been singing it for years at concerts, and it’s always an audience favourite.”
"Les Miserables" tells an enthralling story of broken dreams, unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, redemption and the human spirit - all set against the backdrop of 19th century revolutionary France.
The main character, Jean Valjean, is hunted for decades by a ruthless policeman, Javert, after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives are changed forever, as are the lives of every citizen in a France filled with change and political upheaval.
The concert version of the musical will forego the sets and major action sequences often associated with the performance, while still performing the music that "Les Miserables" is well known for. Instead, Sudbury Symphony and YES Theatre will only use the occasional prop and minor movement, allowing the music alone to deliver the emotional tale.
At the helm of the production is Conductor Jamie Arrowsmith. No stranger to Sudbury audiences, Arrowsmith is well-known as conductor of the Sudbury Youth Orchestra. Recently, he conducted the Sudbury Symphony’s SSO Magical concert featuring JUNO-nominated Sultans of String, the Orchestra’s best-selling concert of its 2012/13 season.
“This is an amazing treat for both the audience and performers,” Arrowsmith said. “Musicians and vocalists alike will collaborate in a way that we don’t see often in Sudbury. Audiences will have the opportunity to share this magic and energy with us. We’ve been waiting a year to bring this to audiences, and it will absolutely be worth it.”
The concert runs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17-19 at Glad Tidings Auditorium. Tickets are $35 each for adults, and $25 for students and seniors. Phone 705-673-1280 or visit www.sudburysymphony.com for tickets.