The Lord of the Rings Musical - My review

Seeking knowledge in, of, and about Middle-earth.
Post Reply
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 10178
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Post by Alatar »

Nah, its just a fan abbreviation Hobby. No better or worse than "The Rings" or other abbreviations I've heard applied to LotR. Its no disrespect or lack of intelligence. Just a fan thing, like how we refer to Fellowship, or Towers. Like people refer to Phantom, instead of Phantom of the Opera.
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
truehobbit
Cute, cuddly and dangerous to know
Posts: 6019
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:52 am
Contact:

Post by truehobbit »

But none of them sounds silly. :P
(Ok, "The Rings" is a bit weird, but I've never heard that, and it still works under the normal abridging traditions, though dropping the "the" would be more logical.)

On messageboards, you usually do some acronym thing (LOTR), and in the theatre you usually cut it down to the most important word in the title, so it's very natural that "The Phantom of the Opera" becomes "Phantom", not "The P" or "The Pha" (in analogy to Les Mis).
Equally logically, it's "Fellowship", not "The Fel". If it were used, I would think "The Fel" sounds a bit daft, too.
"Les Mis" leaves the only unimportant word intact. I can only imagine that whoever coined it had no clue what the words were and/or found pronouncing the whole of 'Misérables' too troublesome in French pronunciation.
What I find most astonishing is that it wasn't given an English title to begin with, though.

So, yeah, I'm not saying it's not a fan abbreviation, I'm well aware it's the standard one, I'm just saying it's one that looks clueless and it makes my toe-nails curl. :P

(But we are off-topic again, you know. ;) )
but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.
Erunáme
Posts: 2364
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:54 pm
Contact:

Post by Erunáme »

Les Mis doesn't sound silly either. It rolls of the tongue quite eloquently.

Alatar: if the musicians were all in sound-proof rooms, I'm assuming they were playing into microphones?
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

hobby, this is a weird thing that I only just realized, but Les Misérables doesn't have an English title, even published in English translation (Amazon link).

Other French classics have translated titles, but not this one.

So, "Les Mis" is the easiest way for an English speaker to shorten the title. English speakers are inclined to avoid speaking French words, for fear that in attempting to produce an authentic accent, they will swallow their own uvulas.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 10178
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Post by Alatar »

Erunáme wrote: Alatar: if the musicians were all in sound-proof rooms, I'm assuming they were playing into microphones?
Of course. Otherwise we wouldn't hear them. ;)

I see what you're saying, but in fact pit orchestras are almost always mic'd and fed through the sound system. Even the Rings Symphony, which was in the Albert Hall and had the Orchestra in full view without the muffling and echo produced by pits had mic'ing. Sound engineers like to have control of all elements of the sound balance.
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
truehobbit
Cute, cuddly and dangerous to know
Posts: 6019
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:52 am
Contact:

Post by truehobbit »

Primula Baggins wrote:hobby, this is a weird thing that I only just realized, but Les Misérables doesn't have an English title, even published in English translation (Amazon link).

Other French classics have translated titles, but not this one.
Weird, isn't it?
With the unease English speakers often have with "forrin" words, you'd think they'd try to find an English title.
I guess the problem is that there is no noun from "miserable", but isn't there really an English word for someone who is in misery?
What's wrong with "The Wretched", for example?
So, "Les Mis" is the easiest way for an English speaker to shorten the title. English speakers are inclined to avoid speaking French words, for fear that in attempting to produce an authentic accent, they will swallow their own uvulas.
LOLOL, yes, that was one of the reasons I was thinking of. :D
But it seems to me that if they had any clue about the language, they'd drop the "les", too. Why not just say "Mis"? I don't know about the nice "roll" (I dare not ask what "les" sounds like when spoken in an English pronunciation :scarey: ), but that can be only as long as you're not aware of how silly it is, in analogy to the English examples I gave earlier.
but in fact pit orchestras are almost always mic'd and fed through the sound system.
Er, not in what I'd consider 'proper' stage performances.
Ok, if you play in a room that isn't built for music and hence doesn't have proper accoustics, it can't be helped.
Or, in case of the Drury Lane Theatre, when there's just no room to have everybody in the pit - I mean, the pit was tiny.
Also, if you have a mix of instruments that don't carry equally well, it's forgiveable.
But I'd find it very sad if they had needed to amplify part of the music in the Royal Albert Hall - you sure it was control reasons and not just because they had instrument groups that otherwise would've drowned or because they were recording the whole thing?
So, unless there's some really good reason, for me, I regret to say, if the music is filtered by a sound engineer before it reaches my ear, it's not properly 'live' music anymore. When I go to a concert I want to hear the sound coming from the singers and instruments. When it comes from a loudspeaker, I can just as well stay at home and put on a CD.
but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 10178
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Post by Alatar »

Unfortunately Hobby, welcome to the 21st Century. You'll start to see more and more of this.

Interesting and worrying factoid. When you see Phantom live you may not be hearing Christine live. I've been told by friends in the business that for each performance the techies ask the actress if she's ok for the top note in the aria. If she's not up to it, they seamlessy blend in a pre-recorded version.

I first noticed this phenomenon at a Michael Jackson concert. During major dance numbers he would cover his mouth and boom mic with his hand to hide the fact that he was no longer singing live.

Its just the way the business is going. And it is "business". People are paying big money to hear Christine hit that top note, they don't want to hear it crack. So if they have to, they cheat. The audience never knows.

See, I've heard of people asking for their money back cause they got an understudy. They came to see Richard Harris, not Camelot. Since then there has been a move away from "Star Performers". The show is the star. So it becomes a package.

Like I say, welcome to the 21st century. Prepackaged for your convenience.
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
Erunáme
Posts: 2364
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:54 pm
Contact:

Post by Erunáme »

truehobbit wrote:With the unease English speakers often have with "forrin" words,
I don't know about the nice "roll" (I dare not ask what "les" sounds like when spoken in an English pronunciation :scarey: ), but that can be only as long as you're not aware of how silly it is,
Both of the statements are bordering on rude and insulting. You do realise you are speaking to mostly English speakers who do refer to the musical as Les Mis?

Prim's post was spot on: rather than mangle the pronunciation of 'misérables', the title is shortened to Les Mis. English speakers do manage to pronounce the 'Les' part correcty so no need to get frightened about that. Calling it just 'Mis' would most definitely sound silly. Yes Les Mis may not make sense when you think about the meaning of the words but it does sound nice (unlike your analogy 'Lordy'...which actually sounds silly) and makes it easy for others to realise what the speaker is referring to. It has nothing to do with English speakers being scared of, as you so kindly called it, 'forrin' words. The French language is notorious for being difficult in regards to all the different ways to silently pronounce the endings of words. So again, instead of accidentally mangling or stumbling over the word, it is shortened to something that still sounds nice and retains the original character of the word.

The abbreviation of Les Misérables to Les Mis sounding silly is your opinion and one that is very much in the minority. I fail to see how going on about how silly it is and nearly insulting those of us who do use the abbreviation is at all helpful.

Alatar, I'm afraid I agree with truehobbit in regards to intrumentalists using microphones in musicals and most especially symphonic performances. It does make the sound quality suffer. It was enough to make me think that the LotR musical was prerecorded. I've seen plenty of pit orchestras in operas not use mics and the sound was wonderful. Mics aren't a necessity for good sound.

I'm really suprised to hear mics were used in the LotR symphony. Can you expand on that? How were they used? I see no reason why a symphony orchestra would need them. Usually that genre ahbors mics because they mess with sound quality. An orchestra should need no mics anyway. Good ones excel at sounds balance...that's the point. Maybe the mics were there for recording purposes?
User avatar
truehobbit
Cute, cuddly and dangerous to know
Posts: 6019
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:52 am
Contact:

Post by truehobbit »

Alatar, true, but none of the 'concerts' that you describe are actually proper music-making. They are, as you say, for people who expect pre-packaged things, mass-events. It's ok, I suppose, for these audiences, but not for anyone who wants to hear music, rather than entertainment.
So, I do hope that short of mass-events we will keep having real music performances. :)


Eruname, I don't see how it is in any way helpful if people keep on harping on my explaining MY opinion.
I don't care what you think of my opinion. I've not asked you to share it.
I've made it abundantly clear that it's just the way I see it, and I find it bordering on the insulting if you keep trying to tell me that I shouldn't see it that way I see it.

That's all I have to say on this topic.
but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.
Crucifer
Not Studying At All
Posts: 1607
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 10:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Crucifer »

I've always called it "Les Mis"

I assumed that the music wasn't recorded, but I had no idea where the musicians were. I really wish they'd acknowledged the musicians in the program, and let us know where they were, because without them, you'd have a load of people on stage trying to pick notes out of the air (unless one had perfect pitch and was on stage the whole time as a reference point for the rest). That really bugs me now...

I've never been miked when playing live, and I've played in "Les Mis" in a tiny little pit that had sound absorbant black felt as the lining. The question never arose. The only time I was ever miked as a singer was during "Fiddler", and they turned it off when I was singing, because I refused to adjust the volume of my own voice to suit their requirements, so I only used it for the speaking parts.

Of course, that excludes miking for recording purposes as opposed to amplification purposes, which I've had plenty of times.

Personally, I find the notion that properly classically trained musicians should need mikes insulting, particularly for classical (i.e. everything from Bach up as far as approximately Wagner and beyond) music. The music wasn't written for mikes, so if there's a sound problem, it's either the fault of the hall, and there's nothing can be done, or the musicians are incompetent.
Why is the duck billed platypus?
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 10178
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Post by Alatar »

Ego should never get in the way of a performance. Your example of refusing to adjust the volume of your voice is arrogant in the extreme. If you can't control volume and tone you shouldn't be singing. Its not a fight between musicians and sound engineers. You should be both working together to give the audience the best performance you can. They have their job to do, as you have.

What you're talking about sounds like sheer snobbery and I've no time for that.

As for this:
Personally, I find the notion that properly classically trained musicians should need mikes insulting
Be insulted all you like. The music isn't being played in the venues it was designed for. There are other considerations. Again, the sound engineers are trying to do their job. Help them. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. They're not doing this to piss you off. Get off your high horse and help them, don't hinder them.
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
MithLuin
Fëanoriondil
Posts: 1912
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:13 pm

Post by MithLuin »

It's just shortened, not corrupted:

Les Mis (Lay Miz) instead of Les Misérable (Lay Miz er ab)

It is a convenient and commonly accepted abbreviation, but that doesn't mean everyone has to use it. I'm sure French-speakers shake their heads when they hear it.

I use 'LotR' all the time, without even thinking, but only in typing. I always say 'Lord-a-the-Rings' out loud ;). But that doesn't mean no one says that. I think it is in one of Peter Beagle's introductions to one of Tolkien's books that he posits LOTR should be pronounced to rhyme with 'boater.'

Now that's silly :D

But I do apologize for derailing this thread with discussion of Les Mis. I doubt I brought it up, but I def. stirred it up... ;)
Crucifer
Not Studying At All
Posts: 1607
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 10:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Crucifer »

If you can't control volume and tone you shouldn't be singing.
My issue was that I didn't need the mike. I'm used to projecting into often terrible acoustics, and I can control volume, but we'd rehearsed without mikes for months, and I don't see why I should have to adjust the natural tone and dynamic of my voice simply because of a mike. It is far easier to adjust the electrics than to adjust the natural sound of the voice, as it was rehearsed for weeks. If I'd rehearsed under miked conditions, or been told from the start that I would have had a mike, I would have rehearsed differently, but I didn't. Anyway, I did use a mike, for the spoken parts.

I believe I said that if the venue isn't suitable, there's nothing to be done except call in the sound engineers, but if the orchestra manager is doing his/her job properly, that wouldn't be necessary.

Call me an egotistical snob all you like, but my attitude is shared by vast crowds of classical musicians. Microphones have no place in classical music.
Why is the duck billed platypus?
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 10178
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Post by Alatar »

I don't have an exact quote, but Nigel Kennedy once said that if a piece of music can't change with the time it shouldn't be played. The same is true of anything. Classical music is wonderful, but it should be living and breathing in "this" time, not living in the past. Yes, its roots are there, but it should be capable of growing and evolving with the time.

Or it should only be played in the past.
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
Voronwë the Faithful
At the intersection of here and now
Posts: 41941
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:41 am
Contact:

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

If you guys want to continue this debate, we should probably move it to a new thread in the Cottage. Let me know.
"Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles flew ever to and from his halls; and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world."
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

Yes, classical music needs to live in the present—but I agree with Crucifer and hobby that it's best heard in a venue that allows it to be performed without miking. To hear a full orchestra and a large chorus playing softly and still be able to hear every voice and every instrument in the blend—like a transparent tapestry, beautiful and complex, but barely there—I get chills. There's no way to get that effect if anyone is miked, or if everyone is miked.

Not that miking is inherently sinful—in musical theater, or outdoors, its often really needed. But it does take the responsibility for the blending of sound away from the musicians and singers and place it on the sound man. Since classically trained musicians and singers have spent years learning how to do this on their own, I can understand feeling a bit odd about it.

That said, miked voices and unmiked voices have a different sound quality; if mikes are needed, it seems to me that everyone should use them. A voice so well trained that it can fill a not-so-great musical theater performance space without help is wonderful, but it's going to sound different, maybe jarringly so, from everyone else's.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 16688
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Post by Inanna »

Hobby!! crashtacklehug
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
Crucifer
Not Studying At All
Posts: 1607
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 10:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Crucifer »

I'd rather not continue this discussion to be honest. It's one purely based on musical opinion, and everyone's entitled to their own.
Why is the duck billed platypus?
User avatar
MithLuin
Fëanoriondil
Posts: 1912
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:13 pm

Post by MithLuin »

Right, so, back to the LotR musical, which is what this thread is (mostly) about. It looks like it's supposed to open in about a year in Cologne. Should we plan a Cologne moot around that?

Hobby?

They'd be singing in German, of course, so maybe that's not quite as exciting to those of us who don't actually know German. :blackeye:

And in both Toronto and London, the "preview" shows tended to have technical difficulties with the stage. So, maybe it would make sense not to be too, too eager to see it immediately when it opens.

But, seriously, is anyone interested?
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 10178
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Post by Alatar »

If the price is right, certainly! I think I'll be able to follow the story in German ;)
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
Post Reply