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was it appropriate of me to say that Les Miserables has recitatives in it?

alright well me and this group went to go see that new Les Mis movie,and theres this girl in the group, my friend April (who is this big musical and broadway fan, but who doesnt really like Classical music)In the movie I noticed there are some recitative like dialogue in it.

and then later in the car we were talking in this one place and i said how i was surprised that this movie had musical numbers and recitatives like some sort of operetta or something.

and obviously, she dint know what it meant so i told her what i meant.

but now im kind of thinking of it was appropriate to call those lines, recitatives, would say it was ok?

I dont see why not, they're pretty similar


you know, i would ask this in the theater section but im pretty sure they would all have puzzled looks on their faces once they read about recitatives.

2 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some musicals do (and let's be clear that "Les Miserables" is a musical--it doesn't even qualify as an operetta). I think the stage version probably had more what you could label "recitative"--but --there are other passages that should be properly labelled as "verses" or even called an introduction. For example--the beginning of "I Dreamed a Dream", where the character sings "There was a time when men were kind and their voices were soft and inviting...." is more of a short introductory verse. A recitative would be more when characters actually sung words that might have otherwise been spoken instead.

    Several of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals are pretty much sung throughout---"Jesus Christ Superstar" was subtilted "A Rock Opera", where rock music instead of classical music was used.

    A lot of "Les Miserables" is more in this tradition--such as the pop-style ballad "On My Own" or typical theatre music.

    By the way, I have seen a professional stage production of "Les Miserables" (a touring company) and the recent movie. I read the book at least a couple of times and seen other movie versions, so I know the story pretty well and probably got more out of it than my friend who said he was unimpressed by the whole thing.

    Anyway, whether or not if "recitative" is wholly accurate or not, I get your point, and you can simply explain to your friend what you meant, but if they haven't seen or heard any opera they really won't get the comparison.

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  • 7 years ago


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