Esmeralda’s personality really comes down to what version of Notre Dame de Paris
you’re watching. In all likelihood I will talk about how the role as changed over time and the other actresses but for this post we’re just going to focus on the original.
Now if you want to get super really technical, and you know I do, the Original Esmeralda and her personality sort of doesn’t exist. Esmeralda was originally going to play by Noa, an Israeli-American singer but she dropped out but she did record on the concept album. So we don’t know how Noa would have played the role. After Noa dropped out Helene Segara took over the role. Segara is a French singer and she had originally audition for the part. So this post is going for Segara’s version of Esmeralda.
Without getting too much in Segara’s voice (because later posts), Segara uses a low, somewhat rough, sultry tone to her voice which she uses for the character. This gives Esmeralda a mysterious quality as she doesn’t know her what her life will bring and she comfortable in that. She’s also confident. She doesn’t seem afraid of Frollo as she just spits at him and tries to call him out nor that wide-eye about Phoebus when she first meets him but does get dreamy about him after he wants to meet up with her again. She does confess to being afraid of Quasimodo but she does get over that quickly and Esmeralda and Quasimodo do form a strong friendship as Quasimodo offers her protection.
One of the core facets of her personality is that she doesn’t like boarders or distinctions of race, nationality or religion. She also doesn’t have must faith in authority. This speaks to her upbringing of traveling from place to place but it gives Esmeralda a new dimension to her personality.
There is a trade off to Segara’s Esmeralda that people are quick to mention. Esmeralda in this version isn’t really a dancer, outside of a few twirls Segara doesn’t really do many dance steps. Also Esmeralda’s winsome innocent is not really found in this version. Instead she comes off as more mature.
I will be first to say that I have demised other Esmeraldas for this but with this Esmeralda I’m more forgiving. Why? Favoritism, I just like this musical but seriously it’s because it’s a stage show, they are singing live. I prefer a singer for a singing role. As much as dancing means to her character I don’t find dancing to be the end all be end all of a good Esmeralda plus in the book, her singing was more charming than her dancing.
Would it have been better if she had tried to dance more? Maybe but not so much at the cost of the singing or a natural moment to character. I have seen pictures where it looks like Segara is dancing a bit more and maybe it was for the cameras that she isn’t, I don’t know, just a guess, the picture are in the booklet that comes with the DVD. Though there is A LOT of lines that are about her dancing, like a ton so it’s a legit issue that she doesn’t really dance.
Aside from Esmeralda’s philosophies there isn’t must too new about her in this version other than her playing up her mystery more. I would say it a good solid version of the character for a musical. She reminds me of a combination of the 1939 Esmeralda and the 1956 version.
Next Time Frollo
And just so people are clear, I’m covering the characters as they are listed on the back of the DVD. And I’m sorry for the pictures, my rip of the DVD is not that great which makes me sad as I had a better rip of it when I made a little music video but I lost it or deleted it or something.Follow thehunchblog