I’ve been long familiar with the music from Les Miserables. Not because I’ve seen the Broadway musical. However much I’d love to,  an opportunity just never worked itself out.

No, I first heard some of the key songs sung by Mandy Patinkin, a gifted actor also in possession of one of the most beautiful singing voices I’ve ever heard. His voice combined with the beauty of music from Les Miserables meant many, many listens to songs that became favorites. So I was already enraptured with I Dreamed a Dream long before Susan Boyle’s stunning revelation of a rendition practically blew YouTube off the internet.

As beautiful as that song is, it wasn’t what held me riveted to the most recent film incarnation of Les Miserables. That distinction belongs to Russell Crowe. Every agonized expression, every note he sang…to me that was the heart of that movie. I kept trying to see his Javert as the villain the story tried to show me, but Crowe’s outstanding performance wouldn’t allow that. Multifaceted, multidimensional, emotion one moment contained, the next unleashed…I think his just may be my favorite performance of the year so far. And that after just seeing Hitchcock.

I knew Russell Crowe could sing. Like most women on the planet I’m a fan. I know what TOFOG means. When I watched the DVD of A Good Year, I found his music videos among the bonus material and ended up watching them multiple times because the songs were so beautiful. Somehow, portraying Javert took his considerable talent to a new level.

There was a level of emotion within his singing that some longtime Broadway stars never reach. In Javert, Crowe’s acting and singing talents melded into something new and wonderful. When he stood on that wall, seeming suspended between the prison of his life and the unattainable heavens, he sang so beautifully that the moment transcended the wider story. I could have watched Javert’s story excerpted from the whole and been satisfied that I had watched a small masterpiece.

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