Close to the end of the season – on 23 June at 19:30 h on the Large Stage of the Opera and Theatre our audience is to see the greatest hit of Madlenianum in its premiere performance with double-casting


Back in 2007, when we staged the musical Les Misérables, the first musical on the Madlenianum stage, we could not even suppose that it would last that long, or reach its 100th performance. The musical, already seen by generations of our audience, directed by Nebojsa Bradic, under the conducting baton of Vesna Souc, still intrigues. The first premiere was on 18 October 2007, with Zafir Hadzimanov as Jean Valjean. At the request of the audience and the cultural public, this cult play, which has become a symbol of the Madlenianum, was revived in 2014, with the same team of authors, but with major casting changes. Nebojsa Dugalic appears in the role of Jean Valjean, and on the other hand, some of the actors have changed roles, such as Dejan Lutkic, who now appears as Inspector Javert, Srdjan Timarov as Thénardier in the revived play as well as the supreme actors such as: Ivan Bosiljcic, Katarina Gojkovic, Natasa Markovic and singers Branislava Podrumac, Ljubomir Popovic, Zoran Leković. Over the years, the ensemble of Les Misérables has been joined by: Slaven Doslo as Marius, Mina Gligoric as Cosette, but also as Fantine and Eponine, Nevena Djokovic as Cosette and from this month we will also have the opportunity to watch Branislava Podrumac as Fantine ... No one could remain indifferent to our children actors-soloists: Gavroche, Cosette and Eponine as children. As our children grew, so did the children in these roles.

How comes that Les Misérables remains so popular, not only in our country but in the world as well? It is the longest-running musical, with over 40.000 performances, seen by over fifty million visitors. First performed in 1985 at the Barbican Centre in London, and in 1987 on Broadway, Les Misérables (affectionately called LeMiz) became a hit never leaving the world's music stages. This musical has won over 50 major awards, including a Grammy for an album of songs from a Broadway performance (triple platinum disc). The crown of this musical success is the TONY Award in 1987. The musical has been translated into 21 languages, and was presented to the audience in Serbia and Belgrade for the first time on the stage of Madlenianum. It has had over 60 film adaptations, the last one in 2012. Intrigued by the magic of this musical, we are organizing a lecture on "The Process of Creating a Musical" with the director, conductor and performer as participants, on Wednesday, 22June at Belle Etage.

The musical is based on Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables, the novel called the book-monument and considered to be the most famous novel of the 19th century. The novel follows the lives of several characters in the twenty-year period of the early 19th century, which includes the turbulent Napoleonic era and even more uncertain decades after it. The central character, a kind of mirror of the epoch, is Jean Valjean, who at the same time escapes and participates in history, trying to hide and redeem himself. In this novel, Hugo has conveyed the real small geography of Paris, the largest European city of the 19th century. He has also offered a gallery of supporting characters, each of whom, up to the last beggar, fortune teller or Parisian prostitute, just live their life in front of a reader’s eyes. It is the story of stumbling, misery, redemption and hope. The writer's strong social engagement is noticeable and the novel explores the nature of good and evil, but also deals with politics, ethics, law, justice, religion and even discussions about the types and nature of romantic and family love.

The novel Les Misérables is based on a real person’s biography – a former criminal and a famous policeman François-Eugène Vidocqli, whose character is split into two main characters, but Hugo has, on this foundation, created the work, considered the classic even during his lifetime. It is an interesting fact that Giacomo Puccini, a composer specializing in human feelings, also thought about staging this novel, but yet still gave up because as the work did not seem too scenic to him. Fortunately, Boublil and Schönberg not give up and we can now enjoy live in unforgettable melodies. "While I was reading Les Misérables, I heard music," said one of the authors of the musical, Schönberg.

One of the greatest novels of French and world literature, Les Misérables of Victor Hugo, continues to be of interest to film, television and drama creators, and since the moment it was written in 1862, it has been among the bestseller in the whole world. The sentimental, romantic story, wrapped in revolutionary, dramatic, epic and tragic events, has inspired the authors to lyrical, but also dramatic music enchanting listeners around the world. Numerous characters, extremely thorough described the novel that a number of generations of all times and social strata can identify with, added realism some ephemerality of music, giving thus the musical the characteristics of timelessness and ambiguity with a drinkable but very demanding music weft.

The production Madlenianum, directed by a certified master of musicals, Nebojsa Bradic, has been evaluated by those who saw the play on our stage, but also via video throughout the world, as one of the best performances in general. "The words of superhuman praise for the brilliant musical and stage creation in the Madlenianum, named "Les Misérables” are running out, and this year's BEMUS spurs to heavenly heights, spilling galaxies of its shining stars on such an unforgettable all-night journey!”, is just one of the professional critics’ praises.

Challenging for performers and the team of authors, attractive to audience, the musical Les Misérables, has been a real music and stage hit all over the world since staged for the first time. Each performance on the Opera &Theatre Madlenianum stage delights both the ensemble and the audience, awakening all our needs for beautiful, humane, good and honest in the world we live in. While listening and watching Les Misérables, we bring to life a whole world of the past with the noblest messages to the future that are received directly and naturally as they sound melodic, appealing and exciting.

Support your favourite musical at every performance, this month on 28th May as well as at the 100th performance on 23rd June and celebrate life while famous melodies and philosophical thoughts that make us act echo from our stage!

“To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live. Where there is no more hope, song remains.”


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