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Amazon offers Original Cast (Audio CD),19 October, 2005
Chistian music |  Amplified Version  | top music artists List price $78.99
The Japanese GREEN Cast / 4
I'm so glad that Amazon is adding new cast recordings to their inventory! We all love the red and blue Japanese cast recordings, but they are obviously a bit dated. They were made in 1994, so they quality of the recordings is not so good and the voices are often muffled. In 2003, TOHO COMPANY LTD released four NEW Japanese recordings- this one, which is referred to as the Tetsuya Bessho cast or the GREEN cast (Bessho is the Valjean on this recording). The other three are the blue cast/Kazutaka Ishii Version, the violet Kiyotaka Imai version, and the Orange/Yuichiro Yamaguchi version. Hopefully Amazon will decide to carry the other ones too!

This CD is much clearer than the red cast, and this CD has the ENTIRE musical on it. It has the cuts and changes made to the musical. It was recorded live, so everything is included on the two discs. The CD set comes with a pamphlet which includes photos, a schedule of the shows, and the complete libretto in Japanese.

Tetsuya Bessho really shows Valjean's transition because in the beginning his is very rough, almost frightening, in his interpretation. He does a lot of yelling in "What Have I done?" However, you can definitely hear his transformation in his pensive "Who am I?" and his lovely "Bring him home." He seems to sing BHH in a much sweeter fashion than most do. He has one of those quiet voices. He tends to vibrato more on his lower notes- it's like a stylistic thing. Just an observation. :) He's a very nice Valjean.

Yumiko Takahashi is a very good Fantine. She puts a lot of emotion into her singing. Her death scene is especially touching. Too bad Cameron Mackintosh cut it in half! She does a very good job, though. She doesn't over act, and it's easy to do that when playing Fantine. She actually sounds weak like a dying woman, which I find to be impressive.

Although I enjoy LOOKING at the Thenardiers, you can hear Aro Sanyutei doing funny little things like spitting in order to clean dishes, and sneezing... just nice little touches that would be hilarious live! Kumiko Mori is hilarious as Madame Thenardier... her interpretation reminds me slightly of Aymee Garcia, I don't know why! Her phrasing in "Master of the House" is hilarious, though!

Kojiro Oka (Javert) has a very nice voice. His "Stars" is beautiful, but he just doesn't have that Javert force until the end of the song. He gets really powerful for the last 45 seconds or so, but I will he had more power. He's very good though! :)

Tamaki Kenmotsu is excellent as Cosette (adult). She has a girlish voice and can easily hit the high notes. She is not shrill, which is important in Cosettes.

I love how Koji Yamamoto (Marius) and Seiko Niizuma (Eponine) interact. She is playful with him, and you can hear the hurt in her voice when Marius ignores her. Her entrance in "In My Life" is especially good. Koji Yamamoto is good as the love struck, reluctant Marius. He has a kind of throaty voice- not overly throaty, just slightly. It's pleasant to listen to, though. Kenji Sakamoto is good as Enjolras, especially in his entrance in "Do You Hear the People Sing?"

I would say since this album is so expensive, only true fans of the show should get it. I like it a lot, but don't get it as a joke or something because that is quite a lot to spend on a joke! I think the cast is very talented and that all Les Mis freaks should add it to their collection.

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