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)
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.
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.
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