Donnez-la moi (Give her to me)

Garou as Quasimodo and Helene Segara as Esmeralda performing  Donnez-la moi Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Garou as Quasimodo and Helene Segara as Esmeralda performing Donnez-la moi

Donnez-la moi is a bridge song. It’s Quasimodo literally fighting guards to get to Esmeralda’s body to claims it. It’s roughly thirty seconds long but it so sad.

Danse mon Esmeralda (Dance my Esmeralda)

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Garou as Quasimodo and Helene Segara performing Danse mon Esmeralda

Speaking of sad. Danse mon Esmeralda is the show tear-jerking finale. I challenge you not to feel sad during this song because it is heart-breaking. Quasimodo sings this to a dead Esmeralda and begs her to dance and sing for him and to let him go with her as in death they will unite.

Quasimodo learns that his deformity has lead him to this moment and that to die for Esmeralda is not death but an expression of his love.

This is beautiful and heartfelt. I get chills listening to it and it also leaves my misty eyed. The three dancers that are lifted in the airt gives this songs a even more transdential quality.

Musically, lyrically and contextually this is the best song in the show and was the perfect way to end it. Though the curtain call does have the whole cast singing Le Temps together in a super happy way so the audience doesn’t go home too bummed but Danse Mon Esmeralda fit the ending of the book and way a great note to end the show. A+++

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

This is off-the-cuff

There is something about Stephanie Bedard that just doesn’t work for me. She is a very good singer and she has a nice power in her voice but I don’t get any feeling here. It’s just a tepid version of Vivre. She is not performing it she just singing it, albeit nicely but still there is like nothing to it.

It’s ok. Laurent is sing nicely which is odd considering how he typically sings Quasimodo but he injects some feeling into it. However, he has been in something like 500+ performances of Notre Dame de Paris so I would imagine it would be second-nature to him at this point.

This is cute. I feel like I get something from Bedard other than nice singing maybe it’s fun and relax. Laurent’s fast paced and rockfish Belle is weird but fun and I liked the duet angle with Bedard.

 

 Garou Helene Segara Quasimodo and Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

 

One of Notre Dame de Paris‘ core weaknesses is the way it presents the story. The narrative is very patchy and filled with a lot little gaps. To really understand what is happening you have to know that story before going into it.

 garou Bruno Pelletier Gringoire spotting Quasimodo during the Feast of Fools Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Gringoire spotting Quasimodo during the Feast of Fools

 

For instance it takes seven songs for the story to get to the beginning of the book. Before that it’s all set-up plus a few lines that marginally tell us about the characters. But seven songs for the Feast of Fools to start. And the plot kind of trots at weird pace, giving us the bare minimum to get to the plot points

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda,Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Notre Dame de Paris Ending

However the larger point of the musical isn’t so much to tell the story of Hunchback, as I suspect the creators were under the impression that the audience already knew the story prior to seeing it but the to tell the emotions of the story which the musical does very well. The emotions in this musical are like that of The Phantom of the Opera, over-the-fucking-top, I still get misty eyed during Danse Mon Esmeralda. Does that excuse the musical for some of its jarring weirdness?

 Luc Merville Clopin and the Court of miracles and the Attack of Notre Dame Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Clopin and the Court of miracles and the Attack of Notre Dame

Nope. I don’t care how emotional effective the songs are, so many of the transitions from emotion to pivotal story points are down right jarring. For instance to get from Phoebus’ song, Dechire, when he sings about two ladies wanting him to Quasimodo’s punishment we have the bridge song Anarkia which is 42 seconds to explain Gringoire being married, the word “Ankaria” and then OMG look it’s Quasimodo, let’s go check that out. Or how about going from the lovely song where Esmeralda sings about wanting to live to BAM attack on Notre Dame. And for the record Notre Dame de Paris sports a very sloppy hastily done attack scene. First off Quasimodo is not around, Frollo can just end sanctuary and I’m unclear if Clopin and the court of miracles are defending Notre Dame or attacking it.

Daniel Lavoie Frollo Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Frollo

 

Despite the narrative weakness, Notre Dame de Paris is faithful in some ways to the book. For instant the fate of the characters is all on point and this is the best portrayal of Frollo in any version outside the book, even better than the opera that Hugo himself wrote the lyrics to.

 Garou Helene Segara Quasimodo and Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

It is easy to over look the weak story telling of Notre Dame de Paris because you do get lost in the big emotions. Does that make it ok? No, but thank goodness the musical is so powerful, that is its very mighty strength.

Next Time – Differences between the book and the musical, (I wrote them once for my Hubpage, so outline, done)

Helene Segara as Esmeralda and Daniel Lavoie as Frollo NOtre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Frollo

Book 11, Chapter 2, La Creature Bella Bianco Vestita

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City picture image

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City

We have two deaths in this chapter, Frollo and Esmeralda. Poor Esmeralda is hanged right in front of Frollo and Quasimodo. Frollo gives out a terrible laugh and Quasimodo pushes him off of Notre Dame. Frollo clings to a gutter, much like the Disney version, but he falls and lands on a roof. He finally dies when he fall of the roof and on to the pavement. The sight of Esmeralda and Frollo both dead it too much for Quasimodo and he utters “ Oh, all that I ever loved.”

 

The 1956 almost got it but it cuts to Monfaucon before the tragic line can be uttered. The 1977 version does play out this scene well to a point but it’s ruined with Gringoire being like “yay, I’m alive” and people dancing around while Esmeralda’s body swings on the gibblet and Frollo’s corpse litters the pavement. Notre Dame de Paris does this scene really well even thought the line isn’t said  but the emotional impact more than makes up for it.

 

Book 11, Chapter 3, Marriage of Phoebus

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour picture image

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour

This chapter give us closure on Gringoire and Phoebus. Gringoire saved Djali and wrote tragedies so he has a “punny” tragic ending. Phoebus wasn’t so lucky he got a tragic ending too but he got married. Victor Hugo at the time he wrote The Hunchback was unhappy in his marriage. After the birth of his youngest daughter, Adele, his wife ended their intimate relationship as she had a lover. Hugo also had a lover but he was he down on the institution.

The 1977 stupid dance at the end is actually Phoebus’ wedding and in Notre Dame de Paris Phoebus and Fleur de Lys exchange a look that indicates they are heading for marriage, so this chapter have been referred to in these versions.

 

Book 11, Chapter 4, Marriage of Quasimodo

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Danse Mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris

This chapter always leaves me with a tear in my eye, it’s so bittersweet. After Esmeralda’s death Quasimodo disappears from Notre Dame. Roughly two years later at Monfaucon two skeletons are found in embrace one is Esmeralda and the other is Quasimodo. Quasimodo had sneaked in and laid down beside Esmeralda and died. As Quasimodo’s remains do not belong there, the men try to remove them but they crumbling to dust. Quasimodo crumbling to dust and erasing his existent from the Earth bring the them of Ananke full -circle.

So sad and quite lovely. One version has done this scene pretty much while another just hints at it. The one that did it was 1956 version, though we are just told about the the Quasimodo turning to dust. Instead we just see him settle down next to Esmeralda. It was done well. But Notre Dame de Paris which hints at it does this scene amazingly well. It because the song, Danse Mon Esmeralda, is so full of emotional impact that the tears just flow. It’s so sad …………….

We’re done, next week some final thoughts.

It’s a very lovely performance but I gotta say what it up with music selection? The start with Vivre sung by Noa, then a weird insturmental  version of La Cours de Miracle, then the symphonique version of Val d’amour and then Garou sining Danse mon Esmeralda. I got that they used the concept CD but the two instrumental piece were odd picks. But whatever, it was a lovely performance and I always enjoy people skating to music from Notre Dame de Paris and the announcer said nice this about the music ^^.

This was the debut of Davis and White Free skate to the Notre Dame de Paris suite. They also were crowned with their 5th straight Ice Dance Championship

 

 

This is 2002 Olympic champions, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat skating to Danse mon Esmeralda as sung by Garou at 2000 Euro exhibition.  Enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQO-od6NcYI

the video won’t embed so just click the link.