Legendary Les Misérables is still lighting up our stages

A shot of part of the cast of Les MisérablesCameron Mackintosh’s legendary production of Boubil and Schönberg’s Les Miserables is now a world-wide phenomenon. Les Misérables has been seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the world. In recent news it is still breaking box office records.

Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Les Misérables tells a captivating story about broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption. The essence of the story is of a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. The story focusses on an ex-convict called Jean Valjean, who has been hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter Cosette, their lives change forever.

When Les Misérables transferred to The Palace Theatre, where it ran for 18 years and then continued its triumphant run at The Queen’s Theatre, the production gained intimacy, power and still receives standing ovations after every performance. In nearly 10 years, more than 145,000 students in over 2,900 productions worldwide have interpreted Les Misérables in their own style.

When Susan Boyle sang the song ‘ I Dreamed a Dream’ on the popular television show Britain’s Got Talent, almost overnight it became the world’s most popular song with over 200 million YouTube hits. The connection with this song, as well as worldwide exposure meant that Les Misérables is a hit all over again.

Les Misérables is a sung-through musical play based on the novel Les Misérables by the French Poet and playwright Victor Hugo. The musical is proving more successful than ever – it has already opened in USA and Spain and is planning to open in South Africa, Japan, and Australia.

The running time of Les Misérables is approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes with ticket prices ranging from £20 to £67.50. This enthralling musical will be running until 26th October at The Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

After taking in this charismatic performance, why not head over to DUKES Bar to complete the night with one of our world famous martinis created by the legendary Alessandro Palazzi?

Image courtesy of VillageTheatre

The Rest is Noise: are you ready for it?

The London Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsingFor those of you who love contemporary music, or for those who are just beginning to discover classical music, The Rest is Noise is maybe an introduction into something that might be for you.

London’s Southbank Centre will be celebrating contemporary classical music with a year-long festival inspired by Alex Ross’ book, The Rest is Noise. The festival will feature nearly 100 events including talks, films, performances and debates all exploring the 20th century classical music in the context of historical, cultural and political commotion.

With more than 30 concerts, The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been described as being the backbone of this festival. Through their music, they reveal the stories behind the rich, exhilarating and sometimes controversial compositions that have changed the way we listen to contemporary music forever.

The festival will be divided into 12 chronological themes from The Big Bang: A New Century, a New World in January to New World Order and No More Rules in December. Other themes include Berlin the 20s and 60s Weekend and The West Does Revolution. The festival will be accompanied by a TV series on BBC4.

Speaking at the launch of the Southbank Centre’s 2012/13 classical music season, director Jude Kelly claims that the festival will take several art forms and aim to involve audiences “hostile to 20th Century music’ while giving those already highly committed to it ‘another route in'”.

The weekends will take audiences through the 20th century and focus on the moments when the art movements were emerging – how music was immersed through visual arts and dance, where that fitted in with literature and commenting on these major moments in history will be poets, dancers, choreographers and musicians.

Ross will also be offering three lectures throughout the festival that will give an overview of 20th century styles and ideas, with the aid of dozens of recorded excerpts and images.

Back in 2008 Ross won The Guardian First Book Award. The judges described it as “a triumph with a magisterial quality and marvellous scope”, praising Ross’s ability “to tell a good story, with good pace, but always keeping his own judgement”.

The Rest is Noise covers everything from orchestral concerts and opera to intimate chamber recitals and discussions, so after one of these momentous evenings why not get together and treat yourself by heading over to our Bar to enjoy one of our world-famous martinis created by the legend that is Alessandro Palazzi?

Image courtesy of Nittentrikken

Start the year properly: Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza is here

Two members of the cast of Cirque Du Soleil's 'Kooza'The New Year in the capital has started with a bang as the Royal Albert Hall welcomes back the Cirque du Soleil. They return with their highly rated show ‘KOOZA’ for the first time in the UK.

KOOZA is a touring circus production which consists of a combination of acrobatics and clowning performances set in what has been described as an ‘electrifying and exotic‘ world.

The story is centred on a character called The Innocent, a lonely outsider searching for himself in the world he has been lost in for many years. His story and inspiring journey is demonstrated with trapeze-artists, high wire performers and the stunning wheel of death throughout the show.

The show cleverly mixes up a variety of different acts throughout which help contribute in developing the story and engaging the audience. Cirque du Soleil’s talented performers take to the stage presenting some incredible acts allowing the audience to capture the amazing and complex anatomy of a human body and to what lengths it can be pushed.

The Red, White and Gold coloured fabrics used to design the stunning costumes are inspired by the traditional circus and burlesque colour schemes. With more than 175 costumes, 160 hats and all together an impressive 1,080 pieces of wardrobe it is safe to say a lot of effort has gone in to creating the outfits.

All aspects from costume to music and atmosphere have been considered to create a show that promises to exceed all expectations. If you fancy being a part of The Innocent story you can grab tickets from now until 14th February.

Afterwards, why not take a moment to relax in our exclusive Dukes Bar, where our very own world-famous barman Alessandro Palazzi will conjure up the perfect drink for you to unwind in our idyllic surroundings?

Here is a video preview of what you can expect from the show:

Image courtesy of Derek Key