So this series of review is really just based on the Cast Album and not so much the show itself, that is not say I won’t say anything about the stage production if there is video of it available. Also at this point I haven’t heard the whole album in its entirety.

Olim – Olim is the  actually the first bit of music heard in the Disney movie version and honestly I’m not sure why it’s a separate track. It seems unnecessary to me. Maybe it’s because of the dramatic tone of the opening to what is now The Bells of Notre Dame is different.

All in All it’s the same of the film counterpart, Georgian chanting in Latin. And if your curious the lyrics are; “Once, long ago, God arrived, In this age of brightness, He will come again.” It’s not “Here comes a lion, Father, Oh yes, it’s a lion” but it’s okay.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Bells of Notre Dame – A part of me wants to like this song more than I do since I love the movie version. Like in the movie we’re given the backstory of Quasimodo and Frollo but it’s very different as it tries to amalgamate the movie with the book. So first difference we are introduced to Frollo’s younger brother Jehan which is like book. Also like the book Jehan is a wild child. Jehan is sent away from Notre Dame for sneaking a Gyspy Girl into the Chruch so Frollo could get some.  Unlike the book Jehan is the father of Quasimodo. The mother was Gypsy girl, the same one who Jehan brought into the church. As Jehan is dying he begs Frollo to look after the child and he does and give him the cruel name, unlike the book where it was Quasimodo sunday.

I do like that they brought Jehan into the picture and they’re right that  reason why Frollo took in little Quasimodo was out love for his brother but it’s sort of trite here. Book Frollo did it out empathy for a child that had no one because his brother had been in almost same position and here in this musical he does it as a cross to bear out a sense of guilt. Also I don’t like that they have that familial connect of uncle and nephew. It takes away something from their relationship at least for me.

But wait there is more. In the movie when Frollo is chasing down Quasimodo’s mother there is this swell of dramatic music that fits that part perfectly. They have that same music in this version as Frollo is walking with baby Quasimodo but so out place. I really couldn’t tell if Frollo was thinking killing baby Quasimodo or what. It’s jarring and should not have been there despite that fact that it’s awesome music.

The Chorus singing the parts instead of Clopin was interesting not bad just different. BUT one thing I can not and I mean CAN NOT forgive is how they pronounce Jehan. They say like Jay-AN. It’s not inherently wrong but they over emphasis the sounds. They could have just said John. I mean they didn’t keep Phoebus’ last name so what difference does it really make? They call him Phoebus de Martin not sure why since he had a last in the book and plus they missed a great pun by adding that R. He could have been Sun of Morning, Phoebus de Matin. And yet they get Clopin’s last name correct.

Anyway, it’s a good opening that does tries to be a good blend of movie and book it just missed it a bit for me.

 

Out There –  Out There isn’t at all different than its movie counterpart, they play it straight. One thing I did like is the difference of Arden’s voice when he singing the part with Frollo vs his solo. Where he sound more deaf and unsure in Frollo’s presence and then more refined one his own. The movie did this too to a degree but Quasimodo was just meek and timid.  It’s a fine version. I will say that song is a little weird considering Quasimodo didn’t seem that interested earlier in the scene. Like he wasn’t the type to really care to remember  the town’s people’s faces. Still a nice version it’s just a disconnect between the book and the movie.

La Jolla Hunchback Poster picture image

La Jolla Hunchback Poster

I have been looking for pictures or videos of the new Hunchback musicals since it began and I have found next to zip till now. While searching for the sets of show I found http://enseeseven.tumblr.com and when I looked back there a few days later I found this http://lajollahunchback.tumblr.com which has some of the recordings of the song from the show. So very briefly I will just go through the recording and give my thoughts.

Rhythm of the Tambourine –  I have to assume this is Esmeralda’s introductory song and it’s a new song. I gotta say though, it’s not doing much for me and I’m a little bummed that it not an Esmeralda only song that was a big issue for me with Glockner.

Made of Stone – I have to admit Michael Arden sounds a bit like Colm Wickinson here. I also wish he was angrier sounder, he sounds more sad but it’s a fine version of the song. I’m curious about the Ensemble/Gargoyles roles.

Finale Ultimo, Part 1 – They kept the stabbing angle? Neat! I don’t really like the pep talk with Quasimodo and the ensemble, seems un-necessary with the Made of Stone song. Overall it’s good.

The Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas) – Another new song! It’s fun. I’m not sure where this song goes in the play but I like it.
Apparently Thai Mol Piyas might mean “And wine we drink” in Romani.

Sanctuary (Reprise) – OMG, the red door scene! At first I thought it was the jail scene but it’s clearly not. This could have been in the original Glockner because it was in the King’s Academy version although less adult.   I’m glad to hear some lines from the book though.

God Help the Outcasts – They play this very straight to the original Disney movie which is fine by me because I hated Quasimodo part of the song as it took Esmeralda’s only solo away. At first I though Ciara Renee was going to be belt-y with this song but she isn’t, it’s nicely done.

The Bells of Notre Dame – This is very different. The example Frollo backstory prior to Quasimodo.  Frollo has Jehan back in the version. Frollo and Jehan lived at Notre Dame. Jehan gets Frollo a Gyspy prostitutes for his birthday but they get caught Jehan get kicked out. Frollo then rises to the ranked of Archdeacon. Frollo finds Jehan who dying and his Gyspy wife has died. Jehan asks Frollo to take his baby, i.e Quasi. He doesn’t want to but then does.

I’m not sure how to feel about this version of the song. It’s a good mitigation between the novel and Disney version but it lacks the drama and intensity that the Disney version had. However it could be way better on stage. They also mispronounce Jehan.

Hellfire – Much like God Help the Outcast, they play this one straight to the Disney version.

The got rid of A Guy like you, City under Siege, Out of Love, Dance of the Gypsies, Balancing Act.

What do you think of these songs?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaxwdSWZ3Oo

European Portuguese

 

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