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

L’Ombre (The Shadow)

Daniel Lavoie as Shadow Form Frollo with Patrick Fiori as Phobus performing L’Ombre Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Daniel Lavoie as Shadow Form Frollo with Patrick Fiori as Phobus performing L’Ombre

I always found this song a little more than silly as Phoebus asks why his shadow is wearing a coat and a hat. I get that it’s lyrical but I would buy that Phoebus would wonder why his shadow was a better dresser that him. Also Frollo’s pose is kind of funny as he holds up his arms.

Again, L’Ombre is a bridge songs to get us to the encounter scene. It’s taken from the book which is called something like the Goblin Monk. It’s not as funny as the chapter. Frollo and Phoebus don’t have their witty banter where Phoebus wants to fight and is broke and Frollo offers to pay for the room but wants to watch.

The song is ok. I like the beats and melody. The Lyrics are a little weird. they start silly but then Phoebus aska who would follow him and them asks if he’s a man of god and he likes of course. So I have no clue if Phoebus knows who the shadow is or if he just being dumb. But it’s a good bridge song and it’s really the only song in Notre Dame de Paris that is suppose to be humorous.

Le Val d’amour

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire with dancer during Le Val d’amour  Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire with dancer during Le Val d’amour

Literally means Valley of Love but it’s a brothel. What kind of guy would ask for a tryst at a brothel? Phoebus, what a charmer. My guess is that because he a frequent visitor, he gets a discount for the room.

This scene is a vast departure from the book as Phoebus meets Esmeralda at a inn type house called Pomme d’Eve (or something like that). I guess that isn’t as romantic of a name. Le Val d’amour brothel was mentioned in the book however as the place Jehan goes to for some paid loving.

Le Val d’amour itself is a fun number. Gringoire sings it and sells it as THE brothel to visit when you’re in town as it offers good quality for low, low prices. He even gives detailed directions which is so Victor Hugo. It’s also a great number for Gringoire as he back into his fun party mood like in the Feast of Fools number. Plus this also really the last fun number in the show, so enjoy it.

The dancing is very sensual but in the Italian version is even more sexual. Also when I first heard the original London version I swear I heard the lines “Guitars implore Ga-Glor-ka-Glor.” Not really sure how to spell what I heard….

La Volupté (The Sensuous)

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus in La Volupté with his prize winning Smug look Notre Dame de Paris  picture image

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus in La Volupté with his prize winning Smug look

I’ll be blunt, I have never really liked La Volupté. The only thing I have really liked about is Phoebus’ smug look and that could just be Patrick Fiori. That being said I don’t think it’s a bad song, it didn’t make my hit list.

The music is fine and it has a nice sensual electric guitar thing but everything that is silly about the scene in the book is gone, except for that smug look. Also the song indicates that Esmeralda should have a darker skin tone than Phoebus, so at least with original cast, it takes me a little out of things but that is a major nitpick.

But you know what is NOT a major nitpick, we see shadow Frollo stab Phoebus but you also see Gringoire make the same gesture down stage. What this is meant to indicate is that Gringoire is telling the story and is pantomiming the actions, but it gets a little lost as it looks like Gringoire is the one doing the stabbing even though he is not.

All in all, it’s a okay song for moving the plot along but it’s a bit confused in execution. Thank goodness for that almighty smug look.

Fatalité (Fatality)

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire singing  Fatalité  Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire singing Fatalité

Again like La Volupté, Fatalité is not my favorite. But it is one of the few songs in Notre Dame de Paris where all the principle leads are on stage together. I think Belle is the other time unless you want to count the encore.

Again Fatalité has that nice guitar riff that is heard in La Volupté. It is very dramatic as Gringoire sings about how no can escape Fate. It’s a nice closer to Act I but it seems a little lacking if I were to compare it to Le Mis (One Day More) or Phantom (All I ask of you reprise) or even Der Glockner von Notre Dame (Esmeralda). I mean it’s fine but it’s not a song I’m inclined to listen to a lot.

I’d give it a B- as a grade, though I’m not grading the songs so that doesn’t really mean that much.

End of Act I!

All in all, despite my criticisms, Act I is great.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Anarkia

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo performing Anarkia Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo performing Anarkia



Ok, I love this bridge but it is 43 seconds of three completely different subject matters.

Subject Number 1; 0:00-0:17

Frollo asks Gringoire about Esmeralda. Gringoire says that she is his wife and Frollo orders Gringoire not to touch her which Gringoire would never permit himself to do but not for the lack of trying, am I right?

Subject Number 2; 0:18-0:33

Gringoire asks about the word craved on the wall, Anarkia. Frollo tells him that it means “fate” in greek. Which is a simplified definition of the word but it’s not wrong.

Subject Number 3; 0:34-0:43

Gringoire sees Quasimodo being taken away and Frollo says (or sings) that God know why he got arrested but the jerk knows.

Anyway three magical subjects and my goodness do they not blend together at all. I mean they needed a song likeAnarkia but this song suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder. I mean I love that they put concept of Ananke in the musical but it so shoe-horned in.

ReallY just find the three subjects throw together hilarious but it does get us to the next scene, it sort of lifted from the books and helps the plot so I don’t hate it.

A Boire (A Drink)

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

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

This scene is one of the most important scenes in the book as it’s when Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda after she gives him some water and pity. The song itself is fine, Quasimodo is emotional and pathetic as he tied to the pillory. I like how he is rocked back and forth as it’s a nice visual.

There isn’t really too much to A Boire though. It has a nice tonal shift with a march at the beginning then become sad and haunting. But that is pretty much it. It feels more like a bridge song to get us to the song of the show.

Belle

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

Garou as Quasimodo , Daniel Lavoie as Frollo, Patrick Fiori as Phoebus and Helene Segara as Esmeralda performing Belle

There is very little contest over what the star of the show is and it is Belle. For many it was that first song they heard from the show, myself included.

Belle is a highly emotional song as it perfectly expressives the feelings for Esmeralda from three different perspectives. Quasimodo sings about a tenderness with underlying sexual desires, Frollo sings about a conflictions of desires against seeing her as combination of evil and pure and Phoebus just can’t resist wanting to have sex with her even though it hurts his fiancee.

These perspectives are not only perfectly captured by the lyrics but the key changes. Quasimodo is sweet and melodic, Frollo is a little stronger and his a heavy drum beats, and Phoebus has a more rock-like vibe.

The staging is also wonderful. Pending on the version, Quasimodo either sits on top of the pillory for his part or his hands are still tied but he can make lunges towards Esmeralda. With him on the pillory it makes the part seem more dream-like but the other way makes him seem more protective towards Esmeralda. Frollo and Phoebus more of less just stare intently at Esmeralda, though Frollo knells before her and Phoebus motions toward Fleur-de-Lys. At the end when they all sing together Esmeralda lies on the floor in a crucifixion like pose as the three mean close in around her, foreshadowing these loves are fatal for her.

If I had one criticism of this song, it’s that I don’y have any criticism of it. It’s pretty perfect. Well maybe one but it has to with the staging, what are those guys doing with Fleur-de-Lys. they like push her around and then Phoebus saves her? Huh? Is it to show Phoebus likes Fleur-de-Lys while still desiring Esmeralda, because we kind of got that already. It’s just weird. But again that is staging and not the song.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Can you guess the theme of these songs?

Le Mot Phoebus (The word Phoebus)

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire with Helene Segara as Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire with Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Le Mot Phoebus is one of my favorite little bridge songs in Notre Dame de Paris. First off the melody is very pleasant and sweet. Second this the ONLY time that Gringoire and Esmeralda get a duet, which is a shame, makes sense but a shame, though in other versions the get two lines in La Cour des Miracles but still.

In Le Mot Phoebus Esmeralda tells Gringoire he has been Friend-zoned and Gringoire isn’t that upset about it. I think he would have been happier with her be his muse, nymph, his lady but Gringoire is a chill dude and just goes with it.

It’s just a few nice lead into the next song.

Beau comme le Soleil (He is like the Sun)

Juie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Helene Segara as Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris Original Cast, picture image

Juie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Helene Segara as Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris Original Cast

And what is this? It’s the next song, fancy that. Beau comme le Soleil is a rather interesting song as it’s another duet sung by Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys in tandem but not really together about the man-whore know as Phoebus.

Now Esmeralda has known him for a solid day and had two interactions with him. One she was more-or-less flirtatiously gave a vague account of her life and the second time she refused him after he saved her and then somewhat agreed to met him at a brothel and now she in totally in love with him, teenagers am I right? Whether or not it’s believable from a logical stand point, Esmeralda’s part is a directly foiled by Fleur-de-Lys’ part.

Esmeralda’s part is just about a growing love or fascination for a guy she doesn’t know at all. All she knows is he is handsome. Fleur-de-Lys knows more about him like he is rascal but she is attracted to me on a more physical level than romantic idolization. It’s an interesting pairing of two loves that are both shallow and immature.

The melody is nice and the part they sing together is really pretty. I love how great the original cast harmonizes toegther.

Also I haven‘t talked about the editing very much but that overlay at the end with Phoebus is so derpy. In other versions, Phoebus appears between the ladies but on the Original cast DVD, that overlay makes me laugh every single time.

Déchiré (Torn)

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

Ah Déchiré, Déchiré and I go way back to my first AMV, the character was pretty the embodiment of this song. And what is Déchiré all about? It’s about how Phoebus is super duper happy that two lovely ladies want him.

Unlike in the book, Phoebus here expresses a desire for having both women in his life instead of Esmeralda being a one night stand. Fleur-de-Lys would have been the wife and Esmeralda would have been the mistress. At some points in times, mistresses were totally ok, I’m not sure if that was the case for 1482 France but the point is two women want his love and he is normal for being happy about it.

I really enjoy this song. I would say this song is upbeat even though it’s a little disguised as being being moody and other versions don’t have the same level of dark wit. The song defiantly has great energy and is a testament to the stupid male ego.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Le Portes de Paris (The Gates of Paris)

Gringoire singing Le Portes de Paris Bruno Pelletier Notre dame de paris picture image

Gringoire singing Le Portes de Paris

This song is kind of funny and I don’t mean like it’s hilarious, I mean this song set-ups a trend in Notre Dame de Paris that is very clear in all three of these songs. Where the plot and story are reduced to one or two lines of song over setting up mood or emotion. Typically this is fine but in this chunk of the overall story we kind of need story being told.

In Les Portes de Paris, Gringoire tells us he met a girl, followed her and lost her. That’s it. It’s like drive-by exposition. I mean if you don’t know he meant Esmeralda, would you REALLY know he meant her? The rest of the song tells us Paris is a dark and sexy place. It’s very moody and Gringoire is a delight in the song but alas isn’t a little more than forgettable.

Tentative d’enlèvement (Kidnap Attempt)

Phoebus and Esmeralda Tentative d'enlevement Helene Segara Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda

Ah, yet another song to make that worst list, at number six. First off what the fuck? This song depicts the critical scene where Quasimodo tries and kidnap Esmeralda. This is also the scene in the book where Esmeralda and Phoebus meet for the first time. And it just all so sloppy in Notre Dame.

So when Quasimodo goes in for the kidnap, Esmeralda is in mid-run from some weird extra, so it just looks like she is running from the other guy and not even Quasimodo, so that ruins it.

However that not even the tip of the messed up-ness of Tentative d’enlèvement. When Phoebus saves Esmeralda he puts the moves on her and she rebuffs him, telling him he as gotten the wrong girl as Esmeralda isn’t a soldier-girl. So then what happens? He tells he he’ll meet her at a brothel the “Cabaret de Val d’amour.” And for whatever that line worked and she’s now like Phoebus, in fact later on she says her heart beats for him, but I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s just like what! In under two minutes the ruined a very pivotal scene.

The music for the song is okay, it has a nice mystery and dark tone but it’s not enough to save the song.

La Cour des Miracles (The Court of Miracles)

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris



At last another big number. La Cour des Miracles tells us about the Court of Miracles and Clopin’s outlook on the world as a world without much divide of status and religion. Then there is the drive-by exposition where Gringoire just literally pops in, is hanged in a bag, which looks like fun and married off. Any humor of the scene is gone.

As far of the song itself, it’s fun and has good enegry. I do like Clopin singing it off a gilder from the ceiling. Not a favorite song of mine but far from the worst. I kind of wish that the camera guy got more of Gringoire and Esmeralda dancing.

Speaking of Esmeralda and Gringoire, other version added lines for them, where Esmeralda tells him that she is not into him which the next song did anyway so it was a weird addition.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Bohémienne

Esmeralda Helene Segara Bohemienne Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda

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,)

tu sais Esmeralda and Clopin Helene Segara Luc Mervil Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin

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)

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris

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.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

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

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris

So often in adaptations of The Hunchback Notre Dame, Fleur-de-Lys gets shafted. Either she is not there, an extra or just in a few scenes and with in those scenes she is pretty much a rich bitch. The 1956 version had her in one scene were she was soften a touch though still catty. Notre Dame de Paris however took a character that really isn’t a huge character in the book and fleshed her out and gave her some depth.

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Fleur-de-Lys is the smallest role in the musical has she only has three songs, though she appears in more numbers. The minimal songs she get do reveal everything about her character and her arch.

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

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Unlike the book, Fleur-de-Lys is much younger. I believe in the book she was twenty-four whereas in Notre Dame de Paris she is fourteen. More than likely this change is based on Julie Zenatti’s age at the time she played the role, which was seventeen.

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris

Zenatti said in that Fleur-de-Lys loves Phoebus with a passion, which is true but her love for Phoebus is not as romanticized as Esmeralda. She knows that he is handsome and spouts out romantic lines but he is also a scoundrel and a soldier.

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Julie Zenatti Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

In the Phoebus post, I mentioned that Phoebus was a double minion to both Frollo and Fleur-de-Lys and that is because at some point during the musical Fleur-de-Lys snaps and demands that Phoebus ensures Esmeralda’s death. The manner which she tells this to Phoebus is vastly different between the original version and all the subsequent versions.

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

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

In the original version, Fleur-de-Lys snaps and sings her big number, La Monture, to herself and asks Phoebus to kill Esmeralda. He overhears this and with the next number tells her that he is returning to her and basically agreeing to her request. Very personally, I like the original version of La Monture, it has  a desperation and venom. It also means that Phoebus is taking some agency with the death of Esmeralda.

 

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris

In other versions, Phoebus asks Fleur-de-Lys to take him back as his unfaithful heart is all better. Fleur-de-Lys then very sexually asks him to kill Esmeralda. She honey-potted him. He can’t really refuse her after that. I get why they changed it, as it makes Fleur-de-Lys look more powerful and in- control and second it just make for a better on stage show number. However I do think that someone who desperate and at her wit’s end asking for someone death is more interesting than someone who is forcing someone and using sex to get what they want. Also I’m not sure why Fleur-de-Lys wants Esmeralda to die as much in other versions, it just seems like she testing Phoebus more that she is going out her mind with jealousy, but that is just me.

 

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

 

Fleur-de-Lys is also Esmeralda’ s foil. Where Esmeralda is earthy, sensual, innocent and exotic, Fleur-de-Lys is colder, calculating, jaded, polished and has a fairer European beauty. This is in the book but is because Fleur-de-Lys is bigger in Notre Dame de Paris the difference between the two ladies is clearer.

 

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

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Despite having the smallest role in Notre Dame de Paris , Fleur-de-Lys is still quite well fleashed out and really compelling.

Next Time – Moving in to the songs

Original Cast Belle NOtre dame de Paris picture image

Original Cast Belle

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

I have said this more than a few times but Phoebus is a character that can be molded to fit a few roles in a Hunchback narrative; he can be a the handsome hero, the vain villain or the expendable extra, you know narrative needs. In Notre Dame de Paris is more on the villainous side things.

 

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Julie Zenatti Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

To be clear he is not the villain so to speak. Notre Dame de Paris doesn’t have a clear villain but if I were say I would say it would Frollo and Fleur de Lys with Phoebus as a minion between them. Frollo has control of aspects of Paris and he can command Phoebus. So it is Frollo who tells Phoebus to get Clopin’s people out of Paris and it Fleur de Lys who tells him to ensure Esmeralda’s death. So Phoebus is a pawn in the scheme of things however he shows no remorse for his actions, nor guilt for merely doing his job.

 

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Patrick fiori Julie zenatti Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda Helene Segara picture image

Phoebus with Fleur-de-Lys and Esmeralda

So is Phoebus the jerk he is in the book? Not quite, he does have a slightly positive spin on his characterization and that his intentions towards Esmeralda. In the book it’s clear that for Phoebus, Esmeralda is a one-time thing. In this version he basically wants her in a more long-term capacity, balance an affair with her while being married to Fleur-de-Lys. He wants Esmeralda for a mistress which I doubt would have made this Esmeralda happy in the end. This still makes him a jerk-face.

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Patrick fiori Julie zenatti Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

Much like Gringoire and Quasimodo, Phoebus’s depiction doesn’t differ from cast to cast of Notre Dame de Paris. He just a jerk little horny minion, but the ladies love him.

Next time Clopin

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris

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

Notre Dame de Paris is often praised for being accurate to the novel but there are A LOT of differences.

Esmeralda Helene Segara Bohemienne Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda

The biggest one is no Djali, I mean how could they? But in all seriousness, Esmeralda is in this version is a full-fledge Gypsy who at one point in her life knew her mother. As we have seen in other versions, Esmeralda being a Gypsy is the norm over her backstory in the novel where she is the daughter of French woman and stolen, so it’s not big changes considering the film/adaptation history of the character.

tu sais Esmeralda and Clopin Helene Segara Luc Mervil Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin

Clopin also serves as not only the leader of the Gypsies and thieves but as a father figure to Esmeralda, as her mother entrusted Esmeralda to him when she died. Clopin himself is different than other versions as he care for the blight and safety of his people more than previous versions of the character.

Quasimodo and Esmeralda Le Pape des fous Helene Segara Garou Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

The show opts to start with introducing characters and not the Feast of Fools, except for Quasimodo who appears during that Feast of Fools number. It’s a little unclear if Quasimodo had seen Esmeralda before or if he first saw when she crowned him as the Pope but he does take a liking to her when he is crowned and not when she gave him water.

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

Quasimodo also brings Esmeralda into Notre Dame and offers it to her as a home. Esmeralda has gone into Notre Dame a few times before prior to Quasimodo saving her in different versions but it is the first time Quasimodo invites her in, usually she goes in for another reasons mainly to escape guards. Though in the 1923 version it was to met Phoebus.

Phoebus and Esmeralda Tentative d'enlevement Helene Segara Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda

Speaking of meeting Phoebus, who liked that segue, Esmeralda and Phoebus arrange to met at a brothel called the Cabaret de Val d’amour whereas in the book they meet a tavern/inn/house called Pomme d’eve. However there is actually a Val d’amour in the book, it is a brothel that Frollo’s brother Jehan frequents.

It just weird that Phoebus would meet a girl, who not 2 seconds before turned him down, at a brothel. Oh well, it’s suppose to make him look sleazy.

Esmeralda on Trial with Frollo Helene Segara Daniel Lavoie Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda on Trial with Frollo

The biggest and most glaring of the differences comes in the second act. First off, Frollo handles Esmeralda’s trail and torture. I would venture a guess that the reason for this is more practical than artistic as they would have needed another singer.

Frollo makes sense to fill this role but it’s just weird. Though and I forgot where I heard it but when Esmeralda confesses she just says something like “I love him, I confess,” and Frollo orders the torture to stop, somewhere Daniel Lavoie (Frollo’s original actor) said that it’s because Frollo loved Esmeralda that what she said was deemed enough. So there ya go.

Esmeralda and Frollo Un matin tu dansais Helene Segara Daniel Lavoie Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Frollo

Also scenes that occur in Notre Dame after Esmeralda is brought there do not happen. The Port de Rouge scene and the scene where Frollo gives Esmeralda the final ultimatum are merged into the Jail scene, which is fine, they blended nicely together.

Also Frollo just likes science in general and not just alchemy which is just minor change and a nitpick.

Quasimodo freeing Esmeralda Liberes Helene Segara garou Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo freeing Esmeralda

Another BIG difference is Quasimodo saving Esmerlada, Clopin and the rest of the Court of Miracles. Everyone knows that Quasimodo descends from Notre Dame, saves Esmeralda and proclaims sanctuary while holding her aloft but not here.

In fact Quasimodo never says Sanctuary. He claims freedom for her but he never says “Sanctuary.” The closest is Clopin says “Asile” which can means sanctuary although is closer to asylum. And I’m now resisting making a Asylum Films joke.

Also Quaismodo is no where to be seen when the attack on Notre Dame is occurs. It really seems to be Clopin who is defending the cathedral and not Quasimodo, which just wrong.

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

Esmeralda about to be hung

Phoebus is there though and he is the one who proclaims Esmeralda’s death sentence as it’s what his fiancee wants. It a like more of a twist of the knife as Esmeralda was still in love with Phoebus when he passed judgment on her although that did not happen in the book but it makes for good drama.

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Julie Zenatti Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

Lately and this is a good change, Phoebus‘ fiancee, Fleur-de-Lys has a must more of a fleshed-out character. In the book we know she loves Phoebus and jealous of Esmeralda but not too much more.

Here we see more of her inner workings. She knows Phoebus spouts lies and she was ok with that till Esmeralda came along. Unlike the novel where Esmeralda was only meant to be a one night thing for Phoebus, here Phoebus wanted to balance them out. This makes Fleur-de-Lys go a little crazy and pending on what version you watch, she either wishes for Phoebus to ensure Esmeralda’s death or demands it of him. It’s just nice to see the character have a little bit going for her than nothing.

I’m sure there are many more difference but those are the core ones.

Next Time – Esmeralda

Helene Segara singing Ave Maria Paien in Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Helene Segara singing Ave Maria Paien in Notre Dame de Paris

We finished reading/blogging about the Novel of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I hoped you guys found it enjoyable, sorry it took so long, so many chapters.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read this, at least four all the way through. Reading this time I found some flaws with the book. Like it’s very slow to start and Hugo bogs down the narrative with a lot of names of people that don’t matter in the scheme of things. Is this bad? No, not really, it’s a style but once you get through Hugo’s essays and long descriptions of Paris and the plot finally gets going the book is great.

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

Notre Dame de Paris Belle with Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Patrick Fiori and Helene Segara

I love how in some parts the book are a bit silly and how other parts are so tragic, so many emotions and for the most part the movie get the emotional resonants of book but they really do just focus on Quasimodo’s emotions and not Frollo.

I think it’s understandable why, at the end Quasimodo is just more likable and understandably tragic. I just wish Frollo got as much time with his core emotional scenes as Quasimodo gets. To do that some actor would need to spear-head that vanity-project with himself as Frollo and not Quasimodo.

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo and Christopher Gable as Gringoire 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo and Christopher Gable as Gringoire

 

I think what a lot of version miss is the madness of the time, that is why Frollo original lie about sanctuary being dispelled is so important. It started off small and then exploded leading to the death a of great many people including most of the main characters. Films should try to work it in better instead not at all. The book isn’t so long that a film couldn’t add it but a mini-series would be better, like by the BBC, they do good work.

All in all the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a great book to read  even if you just skim parts and/or skip the essays and a bird-eye view of Paris. It really paints a great picture of the late medieval period and has a great range of emotions.