She sounds good.
I think Der Glöckner von Notre Dame did a great job of using the Disney film as a basis for a play while at the same time trying to make fit the tone of the book. I do like they tried to recognize the book even if some of the plot points really didn’t work as well as they could have.
It does feel like it’s own story which is hard to do when your a side-product of a Disney film but it’s enjoyable. It’s not perfect but I find myself liking it more than the Disney movie.
Before I end my main discussion on Der Glöckner von Notre Dame I just want to mention the upcoming American version, There have been rumors that Der Glöckner von Notre Dame is getting an American version. Der Glöckner von Notre Dame/Disney Version lyricist Stephen Schwartz has said that the production is more or less in the works. However these rumors have been circulating for a while. But Hopefully it will get done. I for one hope they don’t revert the musical version to the Disney film. Der Glöckner von Notre Dame has more character development than the film and I like the tragic ending. It makes things more interesting. I do hope they give them better costumes but I hope the stage craft is in the same vein. However the one thing I hope for is that they singer don’t sound to “Broadway” you know that belt-nasal style of singing that you hear a lot in musical theater in American productions. I can’t stand that style. Anyway I think the earliest you can accept to see the show would the 2013-2014 season. If I hear anything regarding the much anticipated American version I’ll be sure to post it. Though come to thick of it, there actually already was an American Hunchback of Notre Dame Stage show based on the Disney film.
Next Time – A Single Post on the Disney Park Stage Show (Sheepish yay)Follow thehunchblog
Der Glöckner von Notre Dame has a lot of differences from the Disney Film; some small some big. Here are the major differences in a nutshell (in no real order);
No Djali or Achilles, Esmeralda dies, Quasimodo kills Frollo, Frollo was a Priest, Phoebus starts off somewhat of a philander, the gargoyles are 100% imaginary, the gargoyles have different names (Antoine, Charles and Loni opposed to Victor, Hugo and Laverne), the story is told as flashback by Clopin as an old beggar man who doesn’t use puppets, Esmeralda is shown out of Notre Dame rather than Quasimodo holding her while climbing down, The Court of Miracles Song is replace by a dance number, the archdeacon brings a wounded Phoebus to Quasimodo and Out There is split between two songs.
Some of these differences don’t add too much but some add a great deal because some of these differences add Character Development. Quasimodo gets an arch in the stage version. Like in the Disney movie Quasimodo starts off naive, he wants to see the world for himself despite what Frollo tells him, however in Glöckner Quasimodo does not come off as gentle as he does in the movie and his emotions are more intense. This gives way for more interesting character development. Also in the movie Quaismodo claims to believe Frollo only out of fear for Frollo not because he actually believes him. In Glöckner it seems that he fully trusts Frollo at the beginning, they even make a point of mentioning Quasimodo lying to Frollo for the first time at the end of Act I when Quasimodo denies knowledge of Esmeralda’s escape to Frollo. Quasimodo’s trust in Frollo makes Quasimodo killing Frollo at the end all the more dramatic.
It’s not just Quasimodo to get a character development Phoebus gets an arch too. He starts off as a guy who just wants to have fun and views his new position as a path for “Rest and Recreation.” But through interactions with Esmeralda he learns that he would rather be “good’ than do what his boss tells him i.e burning an innocent family to death. Esmeralda doesn’t exactly get character development but her backstory about of how she gets into trouble and is forced to move around because she expresses her opinion without a filter makes her at least a little more human and flawed. Disney’s Esmeralda was just too perfect, some goes for Disney Phoebus.
However I don feel that Frollo’s backstory was unnecessary (Frollo’s background as a Priest). I know what Glöckner was trying to do and as a fan of the book I do appreciate that they tried to make Frollo like he was in the book but it didn’t really add to any character development or an arch. To my knowledge Frollo being a former Priest was only mentioned once. I guess it adds a single shade of a backstory to him but most megalomaniacal people in power position don’t really need a reason to think they are better than most people. Plus why would someone who was once a Priest decide that the best way to cleanse to the world (or in this case Paris) of vice and sin was to promote genocide and corporal punishment? If anything Glöckner’s Frollo being a Priest adds further questions to his character and backstory. At least Disney’s Frollo was just a megalomaniacal mad man who has power and was having a control issue.
I do think a lot of changes between the film and stage version were good and added something that was missing from the original Disney film. However adding things from the book to make a compromise between the book and the Disney film really didn’t work that well. Maybe had the spent some more time developing Frollo it could have worked but it really didn’t.
Next time – ConclusionFollow thehunchblog
I’ve made no secrets that I love costumes but I got to say the costumes in Der Glöckner von Notre Dame do nothing for me. For the most part they are pretty generic. The costumes were design by Sue Blane of Rocky Horror fame but I feel like there was little to no real effort put into them.
My first problem is the use of colors. Costumes used in musicals can help identify the characters and colors are a great way to do this. When colors are used like that they can add a style to the overall look of the show. Some examples are Romeo and Juliet where Montagues are in Blue and Capulets are in Red. Notre Dame de Paris also does a good job of using colors to distinguish the characters Esmeralda- Green, Quasimodo- Red, Frollo- Black ect. In Glöckner Quasimodo wears red but so does Esmeralda, Clopin wears brown, Frollo wears Black and Purple, Gargoyles in grayish taupe, Phoebus is wears Dark Blue and Gold? So the colors they wear do not make characters stand out from each other.
A second problem is the details on the costumes. It not that they’re badly done, it’s just that, if you’re sitting in the audience of the show you’re not going to see them. Little details don’t work in musicals. So the lace on Esmeralda’s Blouse and embroidery on her corset are lost to the audience. All the costumes I’m sure are lovely up close but it’s wasted from the audience’s perceptive.
The one costume(s) that I like are the a gargoyles, at least they have a sense of drama and design to them. Quasimodo is hardly ugly, Esmeralda looks like she threw together a renaissance fair costume from her closet, Phoebus looks more like a musketeer than Burgundian Knight, the Archdeacon’s costume looks way too modern and Frollo’s costume just looks like they copied Frollo’s costume from the 1939 version, fitting given that Disney copied that movie but kind of lazy. Clopin has two costumes, the beggar and the King of Gypsies, and yet I don’t get a true sense of personality from either one. There is just no cohesion to these costumes, no style no real personality that makes these costume feel like they belong to the show.
Next Time – Stage vs FilmFollow thehunchblog
The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a long film history of being a big grand production and Der Glöckner von Notre Dame of does a good job of capturing a grand scope on stage.
The Stage Design uses a lot of tricks to simulate heights and locations. They way the show does this is by using hydraulic to raise portions of the stages and they also use projections to show various locations. The Lighting also work well to capture the mood of the scene by also lets the projections shine. For example, a Rose Window Projection with columns on stage and soft dark lighting to indicate the nave of Notre Dame or Clouds and Stone Carving with bright lights to show the top of the tower of Notre Dame. There are also a lot of moving pieces which add to the spectacle.
The overall effect looks well integrated and rich and less cheesy than standard sets. You can tell that this where the budget was mostly spent but I think it was worth it The Stage design combine the sets, lighting and projection to give Der Glöckner von Notre Dame a grand majestic style.
Set Design by Heidi Ettinger, Projections by Jerome Sirlin, and Lighting by Rick Fisher
Watch a video the sets in action here
Next Time – CostumesFollow thehunchblog
I’d say that the songs in Der Glöckner von Notre Dame are good. Sure there are some weak songs but they’re thoughtful and the either drive the plot forward or develop a character. However the music is not without problems.
First off, I HATE, hate that Esmeralda doesn’t get a solo in this. With exception of the Archdeacon, Clopin and the gargoyles she the only character not get one. Now you maybe thinking “But Hunchblog the majority of the characters in this didn’t have their own songs. ” Well that is true but let’s face, each of the gargoyles couldn’t get their own song they’re a trio and as a trio they almost get a single song, Clopin may not a single song but he sings a lot as the narrator and the archdeacon is hardly even a character so he doesn’t count. Beside the plot pretty much revolves around her you’d think she’d get one but her only big songs has Quasimodo in it. I mean in Notre Dame de Paris every character got one even Fleur de Lys (Phoebus’ Fiancee) got one (La monture) and she is seldom even in the adaptations. So that was a BIG negative.
I also got bit tired of the gargoyles singing over people. I do think it was a great way to show that gargoyles are 100% in Quasimodo’s head but it’s gets a bit old after a while. I think the show kept putting the gargoyles in songs so that A Guy Like you wouldn’t feel out of place. Another thing that gets old is hearing Draußen (Out There) over and over again. Anytime the play wants to reenforce Quasimodo to the audience Draußen is played. Admittedly this maybe unfair because Die Glocken Notre Dames is the most overused as in the play this how Clopin does most of his narrating but since I’ve been judging off the CD it’s Draußen that got old.
So yeah the songs are good for the most part but what I think really helps a lot of these songs is that singing quality is better. Though I’ve picked on Draußen in this review, I much prefer it in this musical than in the Disney movie along with Ein Mann wie du (A Man like you). The singers are just much better and that helps the enjoyment of the songs. Conversely, Hellfire suffers for this and it’s not because the is bad, I mean he put emotionally intensity into the next song Esmeralda, but maybe Hellfire is Tony Jay’s and no one else compares. Esmeralda and Clopin are one the level though the cresendo at the end of Bell isn’t as powerful as Kendal but he does a great job otherwise.
The musical does make the recycled Disney movie songs feel like it’s own which is nice, you don’t feel like their just simply lifted from the movie and put in to a musical. And while I do prefer Notre Dame de Paris Der Glöckner von Notre Dame has wonderful music. Just wish Esmeralda got one song to herself.
Next Time – The Production; SetsFollow thehunchblog
This is the Ninth Part (or the last part) of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
Grand Finale or Ultimo Finale is the ending and occurs in two parts. The Finale is where the two most famous differences occurs; The death of Frollo by Quasimodo and the death of Esmeralda. Apparently the translator Michael Kunze campaigned to have Esmeralda die which makes it more like the book, though her death is by a different method. Kunze’s reasoning for this is that Esmeralda’s death would be viewed by European audiences as moving and more romantic of an ending. We’ll see how the American Broadway version handles this, though I kind of hope they keep the German ending.
The Final starts with Frollo pronouncing Esmeralda’s sentence then it goes into “song” portion. I use the word song in quotes because the Finale is a melody piece as it uses songs from throughout the show with one exception. So it starts pretty much the same as the movie with Sanctuary playing complete with latin lyrics as Esmerlada starts being burned and Quasimodo saves her and proclaiming sanctuary. Then Phoebus starts railing the people of Paris with the tune of Einmal (Once). Then the scene shifts back to Quasimodo who is defending Notre Dame from Frollo and his minions as he sings the tune of Wie aus Stein (Made of Stone).
After he pours the led from Notre Dame Quasimodo checks in on Esmeralda who is dying. My guess is she dying of asphyxia which is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen in body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. In her case this occurred from the fire. Anyway Quasimodo and Esmeralda have little conversation while Draußen (Outside) is played in the background. Esmeralda thanks Quasimodo for being her friend and then sings Hoch über der Welt (High above the World) and then the conversation continues for a couple more lines and then she dies. After she dies Frollo comes in and sings about how he happy to be free of her to the tune of Esmeralda but he sings this in a creepy, off balanced way. Quasimodo gets mad and the song shifts to a new melody with gargoyle singing with the latin choir. The gargoyle basically sing that God strikes the wicked, so the gargoyles, or aspects of Quasimodo’s own mind are telling him that he should kill Frollo, which he does by throwing Frollo off of Notre Dame, like in the book. I will point out that Quasimodo in the book does this in a fit of rage and here it’s a little more pre-mediated. After this the gargoyles sing Zuflucht (Refuge) about how the world is both cruel and kind. Quasimodo then sings Draußen (Outside) and sings about how he must live out there with all the pain, sorrow and fear that world can bring. He the carries Esmeralda outside and is joined by Phoebus. The ensemble then sing Einmal with as Quasimodo disappears. Then Clopin in his narrator role sings Die Glocken Notre Dames (The Bells of Notre Dame) and it’s pretty akin to the reprise at the end of the movie.
It’s vague what happens to Quasimodo but given how he sings about living it is doubtful that Quasimodo goes off to die. Also considering the two deaths this pretty much same except for Quasimodo and Esmeralda epic running away scene, that’s not there either.
So both Musically and plot wise we have a lot going on. However it’s a fitting ending. All the songs used here fit well together so while it could have felt a bit all over the place the emotional intensity flows well from one into the next. So if you like all these song before you’ll like them here.
Next time – A conclusion of the music
This is the eighth part of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
Wie aus Stein
Wie aus Stein is Quasimodo’s despair song. The song is lifted from the movie when the gargoyles are trying to convince Quaismodo to save Esmeralda who is moments away from death. In the musical this scene occurs the night before Esmeralda is to be sentenced and instead of a short scene between the gargoyles and Quasimodo, we have a song.
This song is Quasimodo at his most angry and his most broken-hearted. He is clearly angry at the gargoyles as they don’t understand his pain as they’re made of stone and he wishes he was like them. He regrets his emotions and wishes they would go away. I really can’t not imagine the Disney movie Quasimodo getting this angry and morose. Plus it’s nice to hear Quasimodo really telling off the gargoyles.
The title Wie aus Stein (Made of Stone) is taken from the original book when Quasimodo mournfully asks why he wasn’t made of stone. He’s not exactly angry in the book but more sad that he is in love with Esmeralda and can’t really do anything about it.
Musically this song is great it has wonderful tension and drama. Quasimodo voice moves though these soft parts like suppressing rage and parts him fully expressing his rage with great power in his voice. Quasimodo’s angry and despair really come though.
I really enjoy this song, it’s a great way to showcase the singer for Quasimodo. I find this song oddly additive and it’s one of my favorites from the show.
Watch a video clip of Wie aus Stein here
Einmal (Once) is the song Someday which was created as a second option for the song used in the “Esmeralda Prayer” sequence in the movie. However Someday was used as the credit song which had two pop song recording.
Einmal occurs after Frollo gives Esmeralda his ultimatum in jail (Be Mine or Die). Esmeralda considers taking it if only to save Phoebus. Phoebus tells her she should do it for herself, so she can live. Esmeralda says she doesn’t consider a life with Frollo living. She then sings along with Phoebus and eventually with Clopin and the ensemble about how she hopes the world will learn after countless war and bloodshed to live and not to hate.
Unlike Someday, Einmal’s lyrics are less soft and gentle. In Someday. Esmeralda sings about the world becoming more mature and in Einmal she sings about the world learning after making mistakes. The song ends as Esmeralda about to be put to death which makes this song all the more poignant and dramatic as Esmeralda dying wish for the world.
Muscially it’s a pretty song and while I like the inclusion of Phoebus, Clopin and the crowd, this means Esmeralda does not get a solo song of her own, which I find a bit sad. But as the song stands on it’s own merits, it is quite lovely and powerful with the overlays of singing. And like Wie aus Stein it’s high on my list of favorites from the show.
Watch a video clip of Einmal here
A Final Thought on these songs;
Wie aus and Einmal are very nice counterpoints to each other in both mood and meaning. In Wie aus Stein we have Quasimodo who is depairing in life and in Einmal we have Esmeralda who has hope as she about to die. It a just a nice example of selfness vs altruism in the show, and I love contrast.
Next Time – The Grand Finale,
This is the seventh part of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
Weil du liebst
Weil du liebst (Because/Out of Love) occurs after Frollo makes his threat against Esmeralda and the Court of Miracle while Phoebus is trying to convince Quasimodo to leave Notre Dame and help warn her.
Unlike the Disney movie, Phoebus is softer and more understanding with Quasimodo’s hesitation. Phoebus understands why Quasimodo does not want to leave and he tells him it because of the love that he must do it. It also interesting to mention that Phoebus has not solidify a romance with Esmeralda yet. Unlike the Disney movie, it’s the Archdeacon who asks Quasimodo to hide Phoebus. So Phoebus is being a bit more altruistic here.
Also I want to point out that Phoebus was a jerk in this scene in the Disney movie. He told Quasimodo that he owns Esmeralda for helping him. However Esmeralda helped Quaismodo from the crowd partly because she pulled on stage and she had a sense of guilt about it and Quasimodo already repay her when he helped her escape Notre Dame, so he actually owns her nothing, bad argument Phoebus. This scene/song is a VAST improvement to the Disney counterpart.
Musically this song uses a bit from Ein bißchen Freude at the beginning but it turns gentle and sweet. The gargoyles get in on that song and help convince Quasimodo to help.
It’s a nice song but I feel that it exists more for the reprise than the set-up.
Tanz der Zigeuner
Tanz der Zigeuner (Dance of the Gypsies) replaces the song “Court of Miracles” from the movie. On it’s own it’s a fun little instrumental dance number that provides levity before the show gets dark.
Musically it sounds like Gypsy music with the melody from Tanz auf dem Seil. I just wish this could have existed along side Court of Miracles since it was one my favorites from the movie. Oh well, can’t have everything I suppose. Still it a nice addition to the show and I enjoy it.
Weil du liebst (Reprise)
Weil du liebst Reprise a.k.a Esmeralda & Phoebus are in love and Quasimodo gets the shaft. So after Phoebus and Quasimodo warn the Gypsies, Phoebus and Esmeralda decide to leave Paris together. While Esmeralda and Phoebus declare their love Quaismodo watches them heartbroken.
The song gives Phoebus and Esmeralda a love song which was sorely missed from the movie but in this song the love story has a complexity. Neither of them ever envisioned being in love. The song also works to contrast against Quasimodo’s heartbreak better than in the movie. In the movie Phoebus and Esmeralda kiss and Quasimodo thinks of Heaven’s Light and he rips up an Ace of Hearts playing card. In this song Quasimodo pain is more felt though his singing. But then against Quasimodo in the show is a bit more angry and less “boyish”. However the presentation of Phoebus and Esmeralda singing lovingly against Quasimodo’s pain could have worked in the movie as the focus doesn’t leave Quaismodo which was very important from the Disney movie directors (eye-roll) and it doesn’t kill the pace as they sing this before fleeing which makes more sense than a wedding.
Musically the song uses Weil du liebst, Das Licht des Himmels and a touch of Draußen at the end.
I really enjoy this song it provided enough levity and yet angst before the ball drops completely on the angst.
Next Time- Wie aus Stein & EinmalFollow thehunchblog
This is the sixth part of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
Trommeln in der Stadt
Trommeln in der Stadt (Drums in the City) is a new song that uses Sanctuary from the original soundtrack. This song opens Act 2 and it expresses what the citizens think of Crazy Frollo’s search for Esmeralda. At first when they though it as just about “cleansing” (creepy word choice huh?) the city of Gypsies that was fine but with the all the soldiers, blockages and fire they’re are none to happy about it.
Like I said this song uses the music from Santuary, which is the music playing when Quasimodo is recusing Esmeralda from the Pyre in the movie, so the music is great. It’s dramatic and has high energy which is a great way to start the the second act. It also great to see how the normal people of Paris react to Frollo’s obsession.
Ein Mann wie du
Ein Mann wie du (A Man like you) is A Guy like you. It pretty much the same as the original song but it’s less annoying. Instead of making visual gags the Gargoyles throw random French words and phases into the song. Which isn’t as annoying as it sounds.
The song has one other difference Quasimodo sings in it. From what I can understand of the lyrics (because my German is non-existence) is that Quasimodo expresses that he wants to believe the Gargoyles but doesn’t quite. Musically I don’t think it adds much I guess it adds a bit of character development because this musically is a a lot guilty at throwing Quasimodo at the audience but at least he is more interesting here than the Disney movie Quaismodo.
Given that this song in it’s conception is song that provides levity it’s a little awkwardly placed in this musical. As movies have continuous action something was need after Hellfire, the torture of Gypsies, the burning of the house, Phoebus getting shot and falling in the river to bright up the mood and while I don’t like A Guy like you at least the placement makes sense. Ein Mann wie du as a song of levity doesn’t really work. It’s the second song in Act 2 so the audience has had a break and the song prior didn’t have an emotional investment in it as it’s just about the Citizens of Paris. So ultimately and this pains me to say it’s not as successful as A Guy like you, it’s just better performed and not nearly as annoying.
So it’s mixed I don’t hate this song as I hate it’s Disney counterpart but I dislike the song in the musical as it doesn’t work as it’s concept intended. It hard because I like 10x better than the Movie version.
Weil du liebst
Tanz der Zigeuner
Weil du liebst