AS A LITTLE GIRL OF SIX, I sang Castle on a Cloud on my very first recital, hesitantly at the time because I preferred to sing On My Own. It was only a matter of years until the song would suit me better, singing the all-too-familiar audition piece on unrequited love at school programs, followed a few years later by the musical's more mature female solo, I Dreamed a Dream.
It was not until last year however, in the summer, that I first saw the musical on West End; a well-grabbed opportunity that awoke in me, sentiments I didn't know had been building up in there since I first learnt Cosette's song 22 years ago. Nowadays, I have no reason to sing in public anymore but the Les Mis numbers continue to be in my alone-at-home repertoire, most especially these days as I anticipate this December's film version of the Schönberg musical.
For purposes of this blog, I turn to the novel/film/musical's iconography, with Émile Bayard's original illustrations for Victor Hugo's 1862 novel. A French illustrator from the 1800s, Émile-Antoine Bayard had first illustrated current events, turning to novels when photography displaced documentary drawing. He provided artwork for novels by Jules Verne, Victor Hugo and Harriet Beecher Stowe, with his drawings for From the Earth to the Moon considered as one of the earlier space art of scientific nature.
Émile Bayard's portrait of Cosette sweeping outside the Thénardiers' inn had been adapted into a poster for the 1985 musical, which in turn had been adapted into a photographic poster for this year's Les Miserables movie, the first of 13 Les Mis films to be based on the musical.
Just one week more. In the meantime, my alone-at-home Broadway concert ensues.
Cosette Sweeping, Death of Fantine and Gavroche by Émile Bayard. Images from commons.wikimedia.org