The first time I saw Les Misérables was in 1996, when the show came to Hong Kong and my mom took me; and it’s been one of my favorite musicals–and stories–ever since, with tremendous set pieces, brilliant melodies, and explorations of law and grace and fortune and forgiveness and the marginalized.
The epilogue version of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” has got to be one of my favorite parts, though. I managed to get through all of the movie (which I saw last night) without tearing up. And then the epilogue came.
Here’s the version from the 25th anniversary performance (beginning around 1:45), with a bonus rendition of “Bring Him Home” by four Jean Valjean’s afterward.
Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies;
even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord;
they will walk behind the plowshare, they will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes!
P.S. You can get the movie soundtrack for $5 on Amazon; not sure how long that’s going to last so you should snap that up!