Thelast show in Duisburg


Sunday evening, November 28th 1999, Duisburg, about 7.30pm
After four years and aproximately 1590 performances (some say 1578, others 1598), about 33 390 students and volunteers who died on the barricade:
"Das deutsche Volk blieb teilnahmslos!" And the German Musical Company STELLA decided that Enjolras and his followers should fight their final battle in Germany that evening... The whole last month the theater was sold out, there was no ticket available for the very last show since June 99. Fans who had seen the show more than once were a vast majority of the audience.


What a beginning! At 7.25pm the curtain was still down, there was just the very little noise the ensemble made behind it - and the audience started apllauding. It did not take long until the whole theater gave FOUR minutes standing ovations - though nothing had happened up to that moment! After a short speech of theater-manager the show began:
Even the conductor got a warm hand from the audience when his head apeared in front of the stage... A performance of superlatives was to come.
CHARLES FORNARA's interpretation of the role of Jean Valjean almost had the same phenomenal impact on the audience as Thomas Borchert's had before. Although he is tall as a bear he convinced by his very sensitive performing of the ex-convict. Moreover, he discovered several aspects of Valjean's character no other German performer had ever emphazised. Among the things that were thrown onto the stage afterwards there was a big puppet of "Balou the bear" and, of course, loads of flowers.
HARTWIG RUDOLZ (Javert) showed all those who had hesitated to call him the greatest German Javert ever that they were wrong. His nearly extraterrestrical voice filled the theatre from his first appearence on! Besides, Rudolz acted convincingly. For the first time he emphazised facettes of the police man's character in a way that each spectator could feel how much Javert is torn apart when he decides to commit suicide! Rudolz not only ACTED as inspector. No - he began to BE Javert! It seemed as if he had analysed the German lyrics anew and found little nuances in each line. By that he made phrases become highlights that had been overheared before. His suicide was great. After the show he turned to the whole ensemble, opened up his coat and the widely opened eyes of the other actors and insider information hint at the supposition that he did not wear more than a black leather-slip!! :-)
PAUL DONKERS as Enjolras was the only one who could reach the impact of original Enjolras Martin Berger's voice in the whole 3 years and 10 months LesMis ran in Germany. There was no real difference between usual shows and that last performance. For he used to act with full intesity all the time. Together with marius Michael Lewis he really seemed to love the show. They both were the last who left the stage at the very end of that night. And they both had tears in their eyes...!

MICHAEL LEWIS (Marius) was better than all the young students in love from all over the world were before. Together with LILLIAN MARTI as Cosettehe made the originally boring Rue Plumet-scene to one of the most memorable. And Lewis had another creative idea: While "A Heart Full of Love" he pulled surprisingly a rose out of his jacket and gave it to the astonished Cosette Marti. Seeing these scenes veryone can undersatand that there is the rumour that Lewis and Marti shall have had an love-affair.
At some moments CLAUS DAM even managed it to let the audience forget original German Thénardier TOM ZAHNER who had always had the status of the very best Thénardier according to the fans' oppinion. You could almost feel how much fun Claus had to make one clever and creative joke after the other. When Javert pulled him up while "Let the old man keep on running" (Paris) DAM used the short break in the music to answer: "Oh yes, with this ear I can hear you very good!".:-) At the wedding-scene Madame Thénardier KARTI FARKAS ran around the left part of the barricade and CLAUS DAM asked the audience after a few seconds: "Excuse me, but has anyone of YOU seen my wife?!". Conductor BERNHARD WÜNSCH and his orchestra had to make some breaks because of the many scene the audience had to laugh or applause. Of course the fans celebrated him by standing ovations!
The Fantine that evening was MAYA HAKVOORT. She acted as if her life was at stake. Her fascinating voice was combined with very good aspects of the role. When she got arrested by Javert she screamed in a way that gave you the creeps! At the end she cried some tears as well.
JAQUELINE BRAUN (Eponine) convinced the spectators only with her voice. Her acting never reached the quality of the other actors'!


After the curtain had been opened for the third time (!!) the whole company Company (inclusive all swings it were 32 performers that were onstage)gave an encore. During the final "Will you join in our crusade" the entire audience stood up and clapped to the music! And exactly this passage of the epilogue was the encore that the whole audience (1550 people) sang along! After 25 minutes of standing ovations (!!) the people left the theater for the last time!



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