Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Martin Giroux as Phoebus Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Martin Giroux as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Martin Giroux as Phoebus

I have been watching videos of the most recent cast of Notre Dame de Paris and I noticed something about Hiba Tawaji’s portrayal of Esmeralda that was just off. It was something I couldn’t place but it was something I didn’t like. It was like she was trying to do too much but not succeeding. She  just wasn’t coming off as natural but forced.

Just so we’re clear this has nothing to with her as singer or person, this is just in her acting. She is fine as a singer.

Hiba Tawaji singing Bohemienne picture image

Hiba Tawaji singing Bohemienne

The weirdness in her acting was further noticeable when you watch the preview when the cast was announced. She is singing Bohemienne and she was coming off as sweet, happy and natural. From that video she seemed like the perfect Esmeralda. But then you watch the performance and she has a weird expression on her face and she trying to be sultry and playful and doing weird arm movements.

This led me to watch every Bohemienne performance I could find to see what the other Esmeraldas were doing since there is a bit of a disconnect from Segara’s original performance to what other Esmeraldas do with the song. I say this because I’m most familiar with Segara’s version but it’s not the standard anymore.

 

Helene Segara as Esmeralda and Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

Bohemienne, under at least Segara, starts off mysterious and somewhat aloof. Some Esmeraldas maintain some mystery but in other parts of the song.  The reason why Segara’s Esmeralda starts this way was because of changes to the lead-in to the song. In the original Frollo starts off by ordering Phoebus to arrest the refugees in which he immediately  runs into Esmeralda and then she starts her song after he asks her who she is. There is a threat here with Phoebus, as he was starts pursuing her and then tries to flirt. She is aloof because she on her guard.

 

In subsequent versions Phoebus gets his orders, there is a scene shift and then runs into Esmeralda already dancing for the people. She is unaware of Phoebus’ orders. So the song is already upbeat and happy at the start.

 

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Italian Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Italian Notre Dame de Paris

Most Esmeraldas perform Bohemienne in a happy upbeat playful manner. Dancing varies but most try to move in a dancing like fashion whether or not it looks natural. Probably the best Esmeralda at conveying the spirit of a dancer and  a playful flirtatious attitude is the Italian cast Original Esmeralda, Lola Ponce. She is very natural in this performance. However the trade-off is her singing suffers. While it’s not bad she does get breathy and out breath in places but you can forgive it as she commits.

Many Italian Esmeraldas follow Ponce’s example in the playful flirty persona. Some try and focus more on singing so they don’t commit as fully. Some are just less natural in their movements and you can see them aiming to hit the next mark.

Other Esmeraldas it’s  just hard to tell if their happy and succeeding in the choreography because the quality of footage is bad.            

 

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin

   

So it’s a question of choreography vs singing vs an Esmeralda who is natural with their movements.  It would be unfair to put the blame solely on Tawaji as the choreography is weird at times. Like when she gesturing out towards the audience, why? Or maybe she’s just not super comfortable trying to move sensually while trying to be playful, effervescent and flirtatious while maintaining good vocals. It’s a tall order if not impossible   But then you watch Tawaji perform other songs in the show there is still that awkwardness with her movements so I don’t know. She could not be a very adept actress, great singer and not good in the acting department, she wouldn’t be the first singer not great at acting.

However there seems to be awkwardness with Daniel Lavoie’s movements in this version opposed to his original performance,  so I really don’t know what to think. Could be the director? Or maybe this all better live and the videos are not doing the performances any justice?

The point is in the case of Bohemienne  there is no right way to perform the song. The performer can be more playful, aloof,  flirtatious, sensual, wistful, youthful etc. However it does seem like sometimes the minor choreography can get in the way of the performer’s natural movements and that is when an Esmeralda can look mechanical or awkward and that is something an Esmeralda should never be.   

With  the new production in Paris of Notre Dame de Paris there has been updates to the costumes. These changes range from fairly minor to a near complete overall, though still in the spirit of the original designs. This also marks the first time the costumes have really been altered aside from minor variations in Esmeralda’s and Fleur-de-Lys’ costumes and of course the Italian version. So let’s start with Esmeralda’s main costume in the 2016/2017 production.     

 

Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

Helene Segara as Esmeralda from Notre Dame de Paris

It seems like the evolution of the costume has some full-circle in some ways. As you had the first generation of the green dress, which if you recall was made from a patterned velvet that was sewn to give it a patchworked look and sported asymmetrical sleeves. The caveat with costume is it didn’t move to showcase Esmeralda as a dancer. Though to be fair, the original production didn’t have Esmeralda dancing as much as subsequent versions.

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

Italian version has been the only version to really deviate from the original style. The Italian version uses a lighter fabric and the pattern is made from lace though it it keeps the patchwork like pattern. The silhouette was the same of the original.  

 

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda 2016/2017 Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda

Now in 2016, the production seems to have gotten the movement memo and has created an Esmeralda costume that has the basic elements of the original and the movement of the Italian version but it’s all together very different.

Just a bit of background, I first saw this dress at like 2am one night after a few too many weird videos on youtube (more on that next week) and my powers of critical thinking were out. I had no idea how to feel about this new design and to be honest I still don’t. Parts of it I like and other parts I’m confused by.

To be clear this dress is lovely to watch. It’s prettier in motion and I do applaud the production the innovation in changing things up. I for one was getting tired of the newer versions of the costume, with the higher hems and less embellishments.  They just didn’t look visually pleasing.

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin 2016/2017 Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin

Ok, so the actual dress, there is A LOT going on with this costume. First it does hit all the basic components of the original with the color, neckline, basic silhouette, sleeves and slit. Thank you for getting the slit right, looks way better on an actual seam. Honestly, I’m not sure what the first you notice about this costume is  but for me it was the pattern or lack of one. They just nixed the pattern or any attempt at mimicking one. There is a little ombre as it’s a darker green on the bodice and a lighter green on the bottom. The patchwork pattern is now done with seams along the bodice and speaking of these seams they do an interesting asymmetrical overlay over one breast. This fabric overlay starts over the breast on one side goes around the back and ends under the breast on the other side of the bodice. This overlay is where a lot of the costume’s movement comes from and where the sparkly embellishments live. Instead of having sequins or beads sewn on the dress this version has them  in the overlay. I can’t really tell if it’s an insert or a lining. It also matches very closely do it’s harder to see. There also COULD be some sparkle elements on the dress itself but it hard to really tell. There is also ANOTHER overlay at the seam at her waist. 

But wait, there is more. All the edges of the costume are very much ragged. This is of course done on purpose to make Esmeralda look more like she lives on the streets. Most of the other versions did this element to an extent but the 2016/2017 version  has the edges look more frayed and distressed.   

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda 2016/2017 Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda singing Vivre

Then there are the sleeves. There HAS to be two  different versions of the costume because one has shorter, more distressed sleeves and the other has longer less distressed sleeves. The shorter one reaches, at the longest, mid upper arm, just above the elbow. The shorter version also has three layer of fabric. The longer one reaches just past her elbows with no layering. Another theory is that the sleeves were hemmed after the preview of the show as in the picture Esmeralda shouldn’t be wearing the green dress during Vivre.

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda 2016/2017 Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda

 

 That really should bring us to the  prisoner costume but I found so very little pictures of it so I will have to hold off on complaining about it but I what I can make out is it  seems to have an A-line silhouette and looks to made of a lacey burlap.  

 

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda 2016/2017 Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda

I just find that bodice overlay really baffling from a design stand-point. It took me a while to figure it out and while in motion I understand it, in pictures it just looks weird and somewhat awkward. I guess it was a good compromise in adding movement while holding true to the original but it just a weird mix-bag for me. I don’t hate, I’m just not sure I like it. I really don’t know how to feel.

But what do you guys think of this costume? Like it? Hate it? No opinion? Like the disney costume better?

Esmeralda and Quasimodo in Notre Dame Ma Maison c'est ta maison garou helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo in Notre Dame

Despite its flaws Notre Dame de Paris is the one of the best adaptions of the novel. It captures the spirt of Hugo and the characters better than any other version to date. Is it perfect? No but you don’t get much closer to the book and it does it own thing very nicely. And it brought musicals back to France.

Notre Dame de Paris Belle Esmeralda Helen Segara, Garou Quaismodo, Frollo Daniel Lavoie Phoebus Patrick fiori picture image

Belle with Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Patrick Fiori and Helene Segara

Easily this my favorite version. To be honest, I could spend more time on Notre Dame de Paris since I didn’t really get into the any of the other casts. In fact that is something I have always wanted to do even before thehunchblog officially started. I more than likely will return to Notre Dame de Paris and discuss the various casts more probably on Wednesdays at various interval, since Wednesdays are like a free-for-all day. Heck, there is a new Italian tour going on so there are a lot of casts to get through and I would like to discuss more about the costumes.

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

Garou as Quasimodo and Helene Segara performing Danse mon Esmeralda

So this isn’t good-bye but a see you later Notre Dame de Paris.

Next month is a theme month (Guess the theme if you dare), so there won’t be a version starting in October. Next version starts in November and trust me when I say it’s one of the infamous bad ones.

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

L’Attaque de Notre-Dame (Attack of Notre Dame)

L’Attaque de Notre-Dame Notre Dame de Paris picture image

L’Attaque de Notre-Dame Notre Dame de Paris

This songs just hits like a ton of bricks after Vivre. Maybe that was the point but like I have said half the songs in the show are bridge songs that lead into the next song. Maybe that was the point to lull the audience in with nice flow and then break it but it seems to me that songs or scenes were cut between Vivre and L’Attaque de Notre-Dame and that whistle line was proof enough of that.
However how is L’Attaque de Notre-Dame? As a song it’s has a cool melody, though it’s mostly Le Sans Papier with another melody overlay over.

The song has two parts the first part is mostly Clopin and Phoebus singing. Phoebus and Frollo attack Notre Dame to get the Court of Miracles out as both Frollo and Phoebus want Esmeralda dead because Frollo couldn’t get some and Phoebus wants some, (wink wink.) Frollo at the start has a part where is gives Phoesbus the right to break the right of sanctuary, because he can do that. Phoebus’s main part is line line about outing the outlaws while Clopin sings the chorus of Le Sans Papiers.

The first part ends when Clopin is beaten to death and before dying asks Esmeralda to take over The Court of Miracles. Esmeralda then takes over singing Le Sans Papiers and Gringoire sings some verses from La Sans Papiers. However Phoebus and crew win.

While the music is very powerful, there is a weird context issue. Considering how accurate this version is regarded, this part is one of the least faithful versions. I’m not saying it doesn’t work within the show but I must mention it.

-Frollo in the book makes up the rumor that sanctuary is being suspended for a day but in the musical he can just do it.
-In the book the Court of Miracles attacks Notre Dame to save Esmeralda and get riches but in musical they are the ones defending the Cathedral with Clopin leading the charge.
-In the book Quasimodo defends Notre Dame to protect Esmeralda from people he thinks want to harm her but in the musical Quasimodo is not in this number at all.

I think for me that is a big little misstep, Quasimodo who loves Notre Dame isn’t there to protect it. It works in the musical but it seems off. The whole of this scene feels off, it’s a cool number but it is rushed and odd.

Déportés (Deported)

Esmeralda about to be hung Helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda about to be hung

The bad guys win! Everyone who wants Esmeralda to die got their wish. In this song Phoebus passes the sentence on Esmeralda and the Court of Miracles. The Court are all deported and Esmeralda is dragged off to be hanged. Fleur-de-Lys and Phoesbus leave together happy with their scheme and Gringoire is powerless to help. This is the last we see of these characters in the show.

Frollo has moment of remorse but he is too far gone.

Déportés isn’t that much, just really two lines, exile and deported but Phoebus and the chorus sing the the lines with coldblooded authority that it’s crushing and chilling. It’s an effective number that gets you into a less than happy mood.

Mon Maitre, mon sauveur (My Master, My Savior)

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo and Garou as Quasimodo performing Mon Maitre, mon saver Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo and Garou as Quasimodo performing Mon Maitre, mon sauveur

More death. As dawn breaks, Quasimodo begs Frollo to stop Esmeralda’s execution but Frollo reveals to Quasimodo that he organized the hanging. As Esmeralda dies Frollo laughs and Quasimodo pushes him to his death. In the show it’s down the stairs instead of off Notre Dame de Rock Climbing wall.

Mon maître, mon sauveur is a simple song without a lot of orchestration but that gives way for Frollo’s craziness to come through. There much to it except the deaths of Esmeralda and Frollo. Esmeralda is harnessed and lifted up so the sight of seeing her hanging lifeless in the air is disheartening. Frollo’s death is done with a silhouette falling down various stairs of Notre Dame. I’m going to guess it was done with doubles tumbling on cue and Lavoie appears out the bottom.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Dieu que le monde est injustice (God made the world unfair)

Garou as Quasimodo Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Garou as Quasimodo

Dieu que le monde est injuste is heartbreaking. Quasimodo sings as a lament that Esmeralda doesn’t love him the same way she loves Phoebus. It’s more than strictly he’s ugly and Phoebus is handsome it’s more about rich and poor. Quasimodo is ugly and poor and Phoebus is handsome rich lord, they are as unequal as two people can get.

Quasimodo doesn’t blame Esmeralda for her preference, he blames god as God made the world unfair. He then asks who God and Jesus prefer the rich or the poor though the implication is that Quasimodo believes it’s the rich who don’t have the some heart and are not as faithful. Might be a unfair but since the two representations of the nobles in the show are Fleur-de-Lys who wants a poor girls to die because she is jealous and Phoebus a two-timing slut, Quasimodo might have the right of it.

Most Quasimodos sell this song with sad anger though I think Garou just nails this song wit the right amount of angst.

Vivre (To Live)

Helene Segara as Esmeralda performing Vivre Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Helene Segara as Esmeralda performing Vivre

Vivre is a gorgeous song and I throw that word around a lot but it really is beautiful. Esmeralda sings this song as a yearning for unconditional love. Love without barriers or social status. Esmeralda wants love and believes in its power  The lyrics have a lovely flow and Helene Segara gives a lot of emotional power to this song.

The main irony of this song is that Quasimodo wants to give her that kind of love but she can’t see it. It’s a little unclear if at the point in the musical she still longs for Phoebus as she never say him specifically and this musical isn’t shy about using names.

Vivre is Esmeralda’s growth song, she wants to live in a world where love belongs to everyone and if she has to die for that she would. And since she talking about loving in a more unconditional way and that as a hope for all humanity, I think it more than her singing with Phoebus in mind. I do wonder that if Esmeralda and Quasimodo had more time together Esmeralda could have loved him. I don’t think book Esmeralda could have without some more maturity but this Esmeralda I think could have.

Both of the songs are great foils for each other and flow wonderfully into each other which makes the next song very jarring.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Lune (Moon)

Gingoire lune Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Gingoire and the moon

Lune is gorgeous. If you don’t believe that a Gringoire can sing then this knocks it out the park.

Gringoire sings this song as a storyteller and it about the dangers and the all consuming nature of love. Gringoire ask the moon to bare witness to Quasimodo who suffers from love.

There is so much power and pathos in this song. The melody is delicate and melancholic. It’s perfect!

Je te laisse un sifflet (I leave you a whistle)

Garou as  Quasimodo and Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre dame de Paris picture image

Garou as Quasimodo and Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Two words; Chekov’s Gun! If you introduced a prop, you better damn use it or why bother. This song is the biggest misstep in the show. In this song Quasimodo gives Esmeralda a whistle much like in the book however she never uses it in the show and it is never used ever.

I sort of HAVE to assume that they were songs cut from the show that would have made this song make sense because the transition between Vivre and The Attack on Notre Dame is awful and most of the songs in the show are bridge songs that transition.

They should fixed this song up so that there was no whistle mentioned because it’s stupid. I mean it’s one line that could have been fix as the most of the songs is rather sing-song and Quasimodo just give Esmeralda the load down of the cathedral. But even with that line about the useless whistle, I have no problem saying that this is the worse song in the musical by far.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

In most other versions the order of these songs is a little different. It goes Être Prétre et aimer une Femme, Phoebus, then Je te reviens vers toi and finally La Monture. Both orders make a level of sense but I prefer the original, it just always seemed odd to me that Frollo would sings about loving a woman right after he tortured her, but the order made sense to someone.

Phoebus

Esmeralda as Helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris  Phoebus picture image

Helene Segara as Esmeralda singing Phoebus

Phoebus is Esmeralda’s plea to the aforementioned. She bittersweetly asks him to save her and gives some exposition about how the man in black stabbed him. She then begs him to at least remember her.

It’s a pretty yet simple song that has a lovely melody that has wave like quality.

Être Prétre et aimer une Femme (To be a Priest and to love a woman)

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo singing Etre Pretre et aimer une Femme

Être Prétre et aimer une Femme lifts a lots of its lines from Frollo’s confession to Esmeralda in the jail, so basically I love this song and what is so great about Notre Dame de Paris is that we get two instances of the jail scene, so yay.

This song has a lot of power and moving lines. Frollo is a preist and therefore not free to love a woman but he can’t help it because as he stifled his emotions, he has no power to fight them when they are super strong.

The songs also makes it seem that Frollo’s “love” for Esmeralda is not just lust-based, he seems to love is some weird twisted way. This is in constast to other versions and even some versions of Notre Dame de Paris and it really could just come down to Daniel Lavoie’s acting.

The melody is also great. It has a great off-kilter tone that is still pretty which suits Frollo.

La Monture (The Mounting)

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys singing La Monutre

La Monture is Fleur-de-Lys’ big number. It’s the songs that really drives home her personality which all the versions is the biggest is this musical. Pending on what version of the musical you are watching this songs is vastly differnet because of the order of song and the staging.

In the original, Fleur-de-Lys sings this song to herself/shadow. This looks cool on the DVD but perhaps to an audience it doesn’t have the same effect so they changed the staging. What is nice about her singing to herself is it makes her look desperate and at her limits and it also makes her asking for Esmeralda’s death seem like it has a pathos because she at the end of her rope and can’r cope with Phoebus anymore. There is no doubt that she means it, she wants Esmeralda dead as there is a just spitefulness in her voice.

The other staging has Fleur-de-Lys singing directly to Phoebus after he sings Je te reviens vers toi. She singings in less a desperate, spiteful way and more in a sexual way. Basically she doesn’t believe Phoebus‘ song even though Phoebus says in his song that Esmeralda will die (at least in the French and English version), though in English he asks Fleur-de-Lys what me must to to get back with her. This staging make Fleur-de-Lys more calculating, cruel and cold. She is more in control of herself and Phoebus and she uses her leverage to get what she wants, the competition dealt away with.

I think it comes down to preference. One staging gives Fleur-de-Lys a little more sadness as she in not as in control of herself or her emotions and the other gives her power and control but she uses it to ensure someone’s death.

Now as far as the song its self goes, because I almost forgot to discuss the song, silly me. It’s great. Like some other songs at this point in the show it has that off-kilter prettiness and Fleur-de-Lys‘ sweet voice is a great contrast to the horrors that she is singings. It’s is Fleur-de-Lys‘ best song in the show, which isn’t REALLY saying that much since it like three but it’s great non the less.

Je te reviens vers toi (I return to you)

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys and Patrick Fiori as Phobues performing Je te reviens vers toi Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys and Patrick Fiori as Phobues performing Je te reviens vers toi

I REALLY hate this song. It’s mean. Phoebus sings about how he is returning to Fleur-de-Lys and he is all better now. Since it’s clear that Phoebus is lying it probabdly why they switch the songs around but Esmeralda is going to die and yet Fleur-de-Lys is like, “ok makes she does,” not sure why that would have been hard for Phoebus, but even about the order changes.

I dunno this song just seemed mean but it does showoff Phoebus‘ singing and has a nice powerful beat. It’s the subject matter that is detestable and so is Phoebus.

Fun Fact – Patrick Fiori once made the mistake of saying “From the Deeps of you, it’s me I still love” instead of ‘From the Deeps of me it’s you I still love,” pardon my bad translation I only took a year of French but it’s a silly mistake that I could see a Phoebus saying.

Je reviens vers toi

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Condamnés (Condemns)

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris Condamnés picture image

Luck Mervil as Clopin performing Condamnés

I won’t beat around the proverbially bush, I don’t like Condamnés, not even a little. I will admit, I like somethings it does but on the whole, not a fan.

In the context of the show, Clopin has been told that Esmeralda has been arrested and will die if she is not saved. I took Clopin telling Gringoire not to tell him anymore as like a code for like leave it to me, I got this. I’m not sure why I thought this but that is how I took that exchange the first time I watched the musical. So Clopin then sings about how unfair the world is, again but this time it’s outside a jail and he gets arrested. So either that was his way of saving Esmeralda or he was just complaining, take your pick.

As a song, this is pretty much the same subject matter as Le Sans Papiers but more desperate and angry. The emotions are good but I don’t feel the show needed it has second song.

The big issue I have with the song is the dancing and the costumes. I mean dear god what are they wearing? Rain Gear and why white hooded shirts? Who thought that would be good? Clopin makes it work but on the dancers it looks dumb. And then there are the weird spazzy turing movement and flinging into the other dancers, I like it not.

If there was one thing that could have help this song it would have been the music but alas it really does nothing for me. I think the point of this number is because they needed something to fill in between Les Oiseaux qu’on met en Cage and Le Procés. And as a gap filler it does work and makes Clopin being saved later make sense but this song could have been so much better.

Le Procés (The Trial)

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

Esmeralda and Frollo

Le Procés is Esmeralda’s trial and Frollo is acting as the judge. Now I know what you might be thinking, why Frollo? That is a good question since really contextually it makes no sense that he would be running the trial as in the book he was just sort of there. However from a practical standpoint it is necessary as the show doesn’t have any extras for singing so they had to use Frollo in this capacity.

But how is the song? It’s great, it has a creepy yet sexy tone to it and Frollo adds great tension as he knows what happened but plays it like Esmeralda did it. The strong beats are also wonderful at adding drama in a short time frame.

I also like how Esmeralda while scared does stand up for herself, she throws it right back at Frollo that he looks like one who stabbed Phoebus and she has nothing to confess.

The part where Frollo and the disembodied chorus sings, She’s a witch, Foreigner, Gyspy and a non-believer, I used to have that as ring-tone. It was pretty awesome though I never answered my phone but I never really answer it anyway. But I really to love that part.

La Torture (The Torture)

Esmeralda as Helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris La Torture picture image

Esmeralda as Helene Segara performing La Torture

La Torture is weird. Basically Frollo calls for the torture, Esmeralda’s foot in put in the vice and she confesses with basically “I love him, I confess” and that is it and the Frollo takes that as the confession and she sentenced to death.

I heard somewhere that according to Daniel Lavoie, original Frollo, that Frollo takes that confession with its wording because Frollo didn’t want to torture her, so her confession it was enough. And sure why not? Makes a level sense. But if you are just watching the show, it’s like huh?

As far as a song goes it serviceable for scene but there isn’t a lot to it.

I will say that that the original version and other versions are quite different in how the actual torture goes. In other versions Esmeralda is not in the huge cage for this scene though it is in the background. Instead she is tied up at the start of Le Procés. It seems like instead of the boot they tie something around her ankle and pull the two ropes in two opposition directions for the torture. It’s more dramatic than the boot but instead of compressing it’s pulling. Just a weird staging difference, I guess.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Act II Commence!

Florence

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire and Daniel Lavoie performing  Florence  Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire and Daniel Lavoie performing Florence

The second act opens in a very similar manner as the first act. Florence is a duet between Frollo and Gringoire and the sing about the changing weird mainly how the printing press will affect architecture. This of course is the subject to a long chapter in the novel but it was very interesting and it translates to a lovely song.

Unlike Le Temps, Florence has a more melancholic tone or at least bittersweet. However neither Frollo or Gringoire point to how they feel about this transition, they present it more as fact.

If there is a negative it that tonally Frollo ends the first act by stabbing Phoebus and now he is wondering about the state of the age. It’s just weird.

The Song has a lovely melody and both singer add great emotion. The Song ends with Frollo and Gringoire commenting on Quasimodo being in love.

This was Daniel Lavoie favorite song.

Les Cloches (The Bells)

Quasimodo with a Bell Les Cloches Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Garou as Quasimodo with a bell

One this I love about this number are dudes hanging from the Bells, that looks like so much fun.

Les Cloches is on the one hand a fun song and on the other it’s rather sad. How can it be both? It’s fun because it up-tempo and Quasimodo sings all the instances when he rings the bells, which is pretty every hour of every day, busy guy.

However in his duty he has to ring the bells for lover getting married and he knows this doesn’t apply to him and more over the bells never ring for him which makes him sad as he loves the bells.

This precisely captures not all Quasimodo’s relationship with the bells but his feeling on love and his future. There also a lot emotion in this song and Garou exposes Quasimodo’s inner working perfectly.

Patrick Fiori once said in the Frequentstar special that of all the songs in Notre Dame de Paris, this is the one he would most want to sing.

Où est-elle? (Where is she?)

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire and Luc Mervil as Clopin during  Où est-elle? Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire and Luc Mervil as Clopin during Où est-elle?

What is this? Another trio about Esmeralda, this makes the second one of in the musical. This time it’s Gringoire, Frollo and Clopin. in Où est-elle ? Frollo asks Gringoire where Esmeralda is and he pretends he doens’t know but tells Clopin. Thet all miss her and remark that Paris is sadder without her.

It’s a pretty simple song but it heart-felt even from Frollo even with all his weird confused lusty feeling towards her. And all their voice work well together.

Les Oiseaux qu’on met en Cage (The Birds in Cages)

Esmeralda in jail les oiseaux qu'on met en cage Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda in jail

Ok, I’m just going to say it, Les oiseaux qu’on met en cage is one of my favorite songs in the show, like easy top three.

This song is a depressing duet between Esmeralda and Quasimodo. Esmeralda in jail asks for Quasimodo to save her and not Gringoire or Clopin as her and Quasimodo have a bond that she doesn’t seem to have with the other two. Quasimodo longingly wonders where Esmeralda is.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo have such pathos in their voices that it hard not to love this song. It’s also just a lovely duet with beautifully sad lyrics.

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