Bohémienne is one of the few upbeat songs in Notre Dame de Paris. Pending on the cast you’re watching the number can be more upbeat, as most Esmeraldas do have dance choreography. The trouble with some Esmeraldas, is that even though they are dancing, the choreography can look REALLY mechanical. Some Esmeraldas can pull it all like Lola Ponce of the original Italian cast and Baba of the Korean version but most Esmeraldas it like arms up, run back. arms up again and now twirl. Helene Segara at least looks natural in her movements regardless whether not she is dancing, she isn’t but there are a few little steps in there.
Bohémienne tells us a little bit of Esmeralda’s origins and out look on life. She’s a wander and enjoys the unknown. She is also a dreamer and really dreams of going to Spain. Despite the upbeat nature of the number there is this hint of bittersweetness. The combination of tones gives this songs a nice complexity and interest.
It’s a really great introduction for Esmeralda and fun number.
Esmeralda Tu Sais, (Esmeralda, You Know,)
I once made a Top Ten Worst Songs of Notre Dame de Paris list and this song was there, at number three no less. This songs works to tells us more on Esmeralda’s backstory with regards to Clopin. Basically he raised her when she mother died. In the song he warns her about guys and his own rising interest in her.
Here the thing about Esmeralda tu sais and why it made my list, it’s REALLY boring. The melody, orchestration, tone are like valium. It doesn’t highlight the singer it anyway and makes Clopin sound like he is droning. In other cast versions, they tried to fix the song by making it a duet with Clopin and Esmeralda which is nice and Clopin gets more angry about the world but it didn’t really help anything, it’s still dull a rusty nail.
The ONLY thing I can give the song is showcasing Clopin’s gentler side but I mean they could have written a better melody, it’s just one of the weaker songs in the show.
Ces diamants-là (These Diamonds)
Ces diamants-là is Fleur-de-Lys introduction song. Just so we’re all clear, Fleur-de-Lys is Phoebus’ Fiancee. Isn’t it great that Notre Dame de Paris introduces Fleur-de-Lys before Quasimodo? I think it is!
Ces diamants-là tells us about Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus’ relationship. Fleur-de-Lys who is young in this version but is wise to Phoebus’ playboy ways in that she says even if his romantic lines are lies she doesn’t care. She is smitten with him and Phoebus whether or not is he is lying or sincere does seem to be interested in marring her.
The song is sweet but there is more at play. They way they circle around each other and pull way speaks to a power dynamic and really way they do it speaks to Fleur-de-Lys having more control than Phoebus. This could be because Phoebus is a slut who can’t help himself or that it’s Fleur-de-Lys who has the monetary upper-hand like she does in the book. The melody while it’s quite pretty seems a little off, like almost a little diabolical, like a little foreboding with those drums. In that sense it’s the perfect depiction of Phoebus and Fleur-de-Lys‘ characters in the musical.
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