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

Compared to other musicals in the world, Notre Dame de Paris is VERY minimal for something that is marketed as a spectacle. As far as sets, set pieces and props, there isn’t really much going on in the show.

Luc Merville Clopin and the Court of miracles and the Attack of Notre Dame Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Clopin and the Court of miracles and the Attack of Notre Dame

The bulk of the set is really just a rock climbing wall that fills in for Notre Dame as well as some pillars that help sell the set as the cathedral when the scene demands. This puts a heavy burden on the lightening to change the scene as well as the mood.

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Esmeralda as Helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris picture image Visite de Frollo à Esmeralda

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo and Esmeralda as Helene Segara

I won’t pretend I’m a lighting wizard who knows about filters and gels and what not, my experience in the theater ended in 8th grade and my teachers didn’t teach the students anything of backstage tech or even acting methods but Notre Dame de Paris does some great things with the lighting. It’s moody when it needs to be and warm and bright to communicate the outside. It has some nice patterns of cobblestone and rose windows. I don’t think that is too complex of an effect but it’s a nice touch throughout the show.

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

Then there is the dancing and acrobatics which is probably where most of the marketed “spectacle” lives. The dancing is sort of a mixed bag in terms of conception because without it the show is less a musical and more of a glorified concert but at some points it gets in the way of the show.

Not too often does the dancing do this but at some points it’s overkill, though I will admit that could a side effect of the editing on the DVD. I mean it’s not like I can just go to a place whenever and see the show, it hasn’t been in North American since 2005 and only has been performed in my country for one cast run in 2000 for six months. Am I bitter? Yes!

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

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

This post has gotten away from me. Anyway the staging, it’s fine for what it is, stylized minimalism.

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

Gringoire sings this song as part of his storyteller role and it about the dangers and the all consuming nature of love. Gringoire asks the moon to bear 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 the production cut at least one song cut that would have made this song make sense because the transition between Vivre and The Attack on Notre Dame is very jarring and most of the songs in the show  have a bridge song  is a  transition.

The production 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 gives 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 most forgettable song in the musical by far.

2022 Edit-  Hi, I’m editing a 7 year old post. With regards to Je te laisse un siffle, I changed the wording from worse to just forgettable. I really doubt this anyone favorite song but “worse” seemed harsh for a small transition song.

But I was thinking that the production could use the a whistle or a sound effect right before Esmeralda is hanged or maybe as Phoebus sentences her and this would alert Quasimodo to try to help her by means of asking Frollo to stop it. I don’t know though the show is over two decades old so why would they why changing it now as this only really bothers me sometimes  like when I watch the show in its entirety as I don’t listen to this song otherwise.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Visite de Frollo à Esmeralda (Visit of Frollo to Esmeralda)

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Esmeralda as Helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris picture image Visite de Frollo à Esmeralda

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo and Esmeralda as Helene Segara

I once had the je t’aime as a ringtone, it was awesome. I want to say that any good version of Hunchback should have a jail scene but what I really mean is a confession scene. In that scene the lines do not have to be line for line of the book but lines that capture the mood energy of the scene. That’s what separates a good confession scene like the 1939 version from a meh one like the 1977 version.

However Visite de Frollo à Esmeralda is the perfect version, it gets the scene down perfectly. They only thing that is different is that Frollo isn’t as threatening or a scary as he is in the book, he is done right crazy. Here is just more sexually-repressed which gives was to crazy laster one but he doesn’t have the ice gaze with fiery eyes, however that more on a perform level than the intention of the show, but I don’t mind it, Lavoie’s Je t’aime is powerful, it’s great.

As far as the song goes, it is a lead in to the next song. It has the same off-ness that the other songs have had, defiantly a tone of this part of the musical. But it a a really good lead in.

Un Matin tu Dansais (One morning you danced)

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

Esmeralda and Frollo

Un Matin tu Dansais is the really the confession scene proper. In it Frollo confesses his feeling and thoughts towards Esmeralda, she rejects him and he tries to force himself on her, so we get the port de rouge scene mixed in. You got love Lavoie acting here when she pushes him away and he touches the spot where Esmeralda pushed him.

Again. like the lead in, the tone of the song has that off-balanced vibe that we all have come to love, haven’t we?

I don’t have any complaints about this song, the tone it perfect, I really enjoy the acting and the staging. If I did have one issue it would that Esmeralda isn’t scared of Frollo, which fits her character in the musical but not the book.

Libérés (Liberty)

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

Quasimodo freeing Esmeralda

Libérés is a great high energy song that is the perfect contrast to the songs that have some before however I do have some issues with it.

In the song, Quasimodo sets Clopin and his people free and then they save Esmeralda. The song is about revolution and their rights to asylum. The singer just sings this some with such power and conviction that it’s great. Also the staging and use of the space is awesome. They remove the iron bars and people suspend down the climbing wall which is cool.

Now it may seems like have a lot of issue with this song but I nitpick and just watching the musical you would more than likely not even think about these things.

1, As powerful as this song is, it is weak if you compare its counterpoint in the book where Quasimodo descends from Notre Dame and save Esmeralda right before she about to be hanged and proclaims Sanctuary. Here he just opens a cage door and the Clopin is the one to actually save Esmeralda.

I get why they did it this way, practicality and budget.

2, On contextual level, how did Quasimodo know where to go and when to show up?
Last time he was on stage he was in Notre Dame asking where Esmeralda went off to.

One could speculate that Gringoire told him as Clopin failed to save Esmeralda with his complaining song but how would Gringoire know that Quasimodo had interest in Esmeralda? Gringoire and Quasimodo have zero interaction with each other except for the Feast of Fools. Gringoire’s part in Libérés seems to indicate that he told Quasimodo BUT Gringoire has a storyteller role in Notre Dame de Paris so is he in this song as Gringoire the character or as Gringoire the storyteller?

Consider this? Gringoire’s part in Libérés is independent of the other singers, he is singing on his own and he off to the the side for most of the song and comes in separately from Quasimodo toward the middle on the song. It seems like he more of a storyteller than a player in the plan.

However the simpler method is typically the more likely so we”l just go with Gringoire told Quasimodo even though it makes no sense, since the play made it a point that Gringoire told Clopin but not Quasimodo, better drama I guess.

 

Side Note- The English version of this song is really awkward. it sounds like an ad for a Mattress Store One Day sale.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Do to some personal reasons, there will be no anti-hyptheical casting post today. I had asked for suggestions on Facebook so that is why I’m mentioning but I can’t get it out for today. I’m sorry, it will be out next week and maybe I will do two casting posts in August since people like seem to enjoy them.

Anyway Enjoy this video that is a Notre Dame de Paris blast from the past,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL-JJ0c421g

 

Again, next week will be an anti-hypothecial casting post on Jim Carrey as Clopin.

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

This is off-the-cuff

There is something about Stephanie Bedard that just doesn’t work for me. She is a very good singer and she has a nice power in her voice but I don’t get any feeling here. It’s just a tepid version of Vivre. She is not performing it she just singing it, albeit nicely but still there is like nothing to it.

It’s ok. Laurent is sing nicely which is odd considering how he typically sings Quasimodo but he injects some feeling into it. However, he has been in something like 500+ performances of Notre Dame de Paris so I would imagine it would be second-nature to him at this point.

This is cute. I feel like I get something from Bedard other than nice singing maybe it’s fun and relax. Laurent’s fast paced and rockfish Belle is weird but fun and I liked the duet angle with Bedard.