Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Topsy Turvy Part 1–  Topsy Turvy  is broken up  into two parts to allow two songs to happen as a mean to introduce Phoebus and Esmeralda. Though technically Phoebus makes his first appearance in this song where we learn that last name of his. More on that soon.

The first 30 second is pretty much identical to the movie. However then Quasimodo sings a bit along with some new lyrics sung by the Chorus. His part has a slight reprise to Out There to it. Also the whole of Quasimodo part  feels very musical-y  and also rhyming Now with Now? You guys could have done better.

The Clopin’s a part start and it’s again it’s identical to the movie, though I do admit I prefer Paul Kandel’s sining. The song again shifts to Phoebus appearing in the crowd after The sixth of January line or “Januervy.” And he pretty much announces himself to everyone, Frollo and Jehan did the same thing In Bells so I guess it just a thing the musical does though I don’t really care for people narrating themselves, though the chorus joins in to tells us that “he has a haunted look in his eyes.”  Anyway this part leads in to the next song…

Rest and Recreation – This song was in the German version and now it’s back. It uses Phoebus’ march from the movie.  Much like in the movie Phoebus is back from the Front.   But you know I have to ask what war? What Front? Phoebus says that he has been gone four years and seems a bit shaken up from it as they  mention cannon fodder.  I’m no expert on European Wars but France wasn’t in wars in 1482. The wars that France was in that were the closest to 1482 were The War of Castilian Succession  of 1475 to 1479 and The Burgundian War of 1474 to 1477. It could be a simple matter that the musical doesn’t take place in 1482 except they say it did. Song mentions a siege and bodies in a trench which are probably more like hot words than actually referring to a war or battle. I can deal with unnamed War in the Disney movie but here it’s a harder pill to swallow since the musical is truing to be more like the book. I mean did the say which war it was in musical?  But this backstory takes me out of the song.

So back to the song. Phoebus also mentions that he’s on furlough but then he gets his new promotion as Captain of the Cathedral Guard. I’m going to real with you guys, that is the stupidest thing. I get what they are doing. Phoebus has to be Frollo’s minion for his character arc and Frollo is now a Priest so the tidiest way to handle this is to make Phoebus the Captain of the Cathedral Guard. BUT Cathedrals didn’t have private guards. This even goes against the book where the Sanity of the Church was respected, even Disney movie Frollo respected it.

Anyway  the I haven’t really discussed the song yet. Much like in German version Rest and Recreation tries to amalgamate book Phoebus with movie Phoebus. Book Phoebus was womanizer and movie Phoebus is nobel and gallant. Since Phoebus is described as having “a dashing manner and bold swagger” we know he got those personality down but the song gives us a reason why Phoebus wants the ladies, because he been away at the unnamed Fantasy war. Despite the war and Notre Dame guard the song is successful at give the blending of Phoebus’s characterization and setting up his character in this version.

Rhythm of the Tambourine – This song is Esmeralda’s introduction song which is also her dance number during the festival. It is also the first new song of this musical version. Judging from the lines Phoebus, Frollo and Quasimodo sing about “who is she” I’m going to guess Esmeralda and Quasimodo didn’t have their little moment where Quasimodo crashes into dressing room, but I could wrong, I’m probably wrong.

Rhythm of the Tambourine is very staccato which I would guess is for said tambourine but it does nothing for me. Also is just me or is this song reminiscent  of Carol of the Bells? Wonder if that was one purpose?   I do like her attitude on dance that it just for fun as she ask “What can it hurt?” Such delightful irony. We also get a Belle moment as like I said Phoebus, Frollo and Quasimodo sing about her. Frollo likens her to a devil, classic him. Phoebus and Quasimodo liken her to an angel but Phoebus goes on to say that she dances with Fire.

It’s decent song and clearly gets across Esmeralda’s love for dance which she REALLY didn’t have in the Disney movie as well as the guys views on her.

 

For the Music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame I have decided to do a few songs at a time (with the two exceptions).  I’m also going to try to not compare the singers between the Disney Cast and the Original Berlin Cast and I’m going to try not to discusss staging too much.

Die Glocken Notre Dames

Frollo (Norbert Lamla) with Baby Quasimodo and the Archdeacon Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Frollo (Norbert Lamla) with Baby Quasimodo and the Archdeacon Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Die Glocken Notre Dames (The Bells of Notre Dame) is the show’s opening number and it is pretty much exactly the same as it is in the movie but there are some differences. First off, no Puppet. Yeah, I know tragic. Clopin appears as a beggar and not as a performer, so any humor that the Disney version had is gone. Giving us a a clear tone. Also Clopin is not telling the story of Quasimodo and Frollo to children he instead tells it to  the audience which makes him more clearly a narrator.

Another difference is Quasimodo’s mother talks back to Frollo. Now, I don’t speak much German and I don’t have access to a script (I looked and couldn’t find one so if you know what she saying or know of a script let me know) so I have no idea what she is saying, I could guess. Probably goes along the lines of something like this:

Frollo- Hey, you there what are you hiding?
Quasimodo’s Mother – Who me? It’s just my Baby 
Frollo – You Lie, give me what you are concealing, I wants it! 
Or something like that or I’m way off.

Another difference is there is some instruments. The difference can really be heard when the Archdeacon is singing. There is a Piano and a lower brass opposed to the original which seems to be woodwinds, bells and a high brass. Also the usage of bells at the end is different whereas the movie uses what sounds like low octave bells that play a few notes the musical opts for scales of higher octave bells and I swear I hear a xylophone in there.

Also the attitude of Frollo and Archdeacon are different. In the movie Frollo is cool  and calm and the Archdeacon has a sad yet kind of soft tone till he get firm about the eyes. In the stage show Frollo is flustered and Archdeacon is forceful from the get go.

 

Also a staging difference, there are videos that you can be see on youtube (if Youtube isn’t killed by SOPA and PIPA) that shows this number performed on stage and when Quasimodo’s Mother is push by Frollo she doesn’t die right away. As she is dying she reaches for Quasimodo. So I guess she died of blood loss and not of head trauma or a broken neck like the movie but I’m no doctor. Watch Video Here

 

Zuflucht

Frollo and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Zuflucht  or Refuge is a song  that is extended from Frollo’s part of the movie  version of Out There. This song is where you learn that Frollo was a Priest  but he thought that Paris was sick and needed to be save and so he changed his career to a judge. Quasimodo still sings in it with the addition of the Gargoyles Antoine (Hugo), Charles (Victor) and Loni (Laverne). The Gargoyles here sing against Frollo and encourage Quasimodo to go out side to see the world for himself.

 

Musically the first part is the same as the movie, so where Out There starts properly (Quasimodo’s part) the music changes and the last part with Gargoyles is like a composite of the new movement and the old one and it works well. I actually like the gargoyles here, their harmony together and with Frollo is nice. The harmony is like the Angel and Devil on each shoulder troupe. And having the Gargoyle sing with Frollo solidifies the gargoyles as imaginary. The Gargoyles part makes it clear that they are not as cheerful or upbeat as their movie counterparts. There is a combination of hope and confusion in their lines, because as they sing about what the outside world is like they can’t complete their thoughts because as aspects of Quasimodo they too have no idea what the outside world is like.

 

Draußen

Quasimodo with the Gargoyles Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo with the Gargoyles Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

Draußen or Outside is exactly the same as the movie version of Out There with one wonderful difference; there is no more wobbly vibrato. Another than that there are no further differences I can ascertain.

Watch Video clip here

Next Time – Part 2 of the Music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame with;

Tanz auf dem Seil (Dance on the Rope)
Ein bißchen Freude (A Bit of Joy)
Drunter drüber (Topsy Turvy)

Esmeralda and Clopin during Drunter Drüber" (Topsy Turvy) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin during Drunter Drüber” (Topsy Turvy) Der Glöckner von Notre Dame