Carlotta Grisi and Jules Perrot, La Esmeralda
Well break is over, I can’t hold off anymore on not reviewing another Hunchback version. So here we are instead of some stupid annoying dumb knock-off Disney animation waste of time that makes me dumber as I watch it over and over instead we’re going a classy upscale version of Hunchback, a Ballet. Even though if you have seen The Forsythe Saga, Ballets aren’t cliche as opera because it’s young women dancing. I digress in today society Ballet is more an upscale art form and it something I know nothing about. The closest thing I got to a dance class was tap dance and I got run out the class by the mean students and the incompetent teachers.
Let’s just start with some basics. The ballet is called La Esmeralda and it’s done in three acts and five scene. It was originally choreographed by Jules Perrot to music by Cesare Pugni, with sets by William Grieve and costumes by Mme. CopÃ¨re. It was first presented by the Ballet of her Majesty’s Theatre, London on 9 March 1844, with Carlotta Grisi as Esmeralda, Jules Perrot as Gringoire, Arthur Saint-Leon as Phoebus, Adelaide Frassi as Fleur de Lys, and Antoine Louis Coulon as Quasimodo.
Alexandra Timofeeva as Esmeralda, La Esmeralda Bellet, Kremlin Ballet Company, Moscow
The first time it was performed in America was in New Jersey in 2004. Most Western ballet companies only perform two Esmeralda-related piecesâ€”La Esmeralda pas de deux and La Esmeralda pas de sixâ€”and the Diane and ActÃ©on Pas de Deux, which is actually not excerpted from the ballet, but often mistakenly credited as having been added by Marius Petipa to his 1886 revival of La Esmeralda. So it’s not a very common ballet to American but you do seem the part performed for like ballet competition. It’s a good allegory of Hunchback a piece work that is superficially known by the general public but the story isn’t understood.
The version we’ll look at and review is by the Kremlin Ballet Company of Moscow. Alexandra Timofeeva plays as Esmeralda. While I could be wrong this production was done in April 2016. Though there were performs in 2014, so it could something they perform periodically.
I feel very much out of my depth with this one.
From the Heart of the Ocean to the Evenstar to that ring in the Phantom of the Opera movie, jewelry can play a big part in a film’s narrative. Despite being a large part of the book, Esmeralda’s necklace has never been seen in the movie version.
Costume design from the Opera La Esmeralda
Esmeralda wears a small oblong bag fasten to a necklace of red seeds. The bag is made from green silk and has a large imitation emerald made from glass. This is where she gets her name from but the fact that the stone is fake means that she too is fake. Esmeralda is not a real Gypsy. Inside the bag is her only link to her real self, a baby shoe.
Sister Gudule (Gladys Brockwell) showing the necklace to Esmeralda Hunchback Notre Dame 1923
Having the pouch in a movie would mean that Esmeralda’s backstory would have to be played out in some way. In the 1923 movie, Esmeralda did have a necklace to signify her origins but it was a medallion and in the 1999 parody version she had a birthmark.
Esmeralda Smiling, Maureen O’Hara 1939 HUnchback of Notre Dame
However, a few years ago there was talk that the Brolin movie would be more of an action-adventure tone and treasure hunts are popular plot mechanic for that genre. If the narrative was somehow centered around Esmeralda’s jewelry having a connection to a treasure that could be location at Notre Dame, like it’s a key or just part of it, you could have a story that keeps are as a Gypsy since films like that and have her jewelry as a focal point.
Esmeralda and Sister Gudule by Benjamin Lacombe from Notre Dame de Paris Tome 2
Personally, I wish the origins of Esmeralda and her original necklace would be played out in a film very but also I like jewelry in general so I would just like to see how a film could work it in to a narrative even if as stupid as the idea I proposed in that last paragraph.
Today’s Fan-art was done by Manon Yapari. It’s a rendering of Disney’s Esmeralda in CLAMP’s style. CLAMP is a manga group known for their gorgeous artwork. I think this is really gorgeous. It captures both the style of CLAMP and Esmeralda perfectly.
La Esmeralda by Manon Yapari
Check out more by Manon Yapari and be sure to look at hersecond account myapari.
The Art of the Hunchback of Notre Dame
One of the best companion pieces to the Disney version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame is The Art of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney Miniature).
Concept art of Quasimodo saving Esmeralda from the Art of the Hunchback
It’s for all intended purpose thisis an art book. It has tons of concept art, production stills, sketches, illustrations from the novel, and art by Victor Hugo. (Hugo’s own art work is gorgeous). However the major flaw with it is its size. It’s tiny for something that is an art book. Here’s a picture of it compare to my Final Fantasy IX art book (I had this book for a while).
Size comparison of The Art of the Hunchback of Notre to The Art of Final Fantasy IX
The Hunchback art book is 5.6 inches by 4.3 inches compare to the art Final Fantasy IX which is 11.8 inches by 9.3 inches. However I think this isn’t suppose to be a true art book as much a more in depth look behind movie’s creation.
Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame
The book has a ton of information about the background on the book, characters and a lot of how the movie art plays with light and shadows. It’s a very interesting read although Stephen Rebello does make one big generalization. In the Quasimodo chapter page 57, he writes ” Victor Hugo probably never imagined his malformed, melancholy creation breaking forth into song.” Hugo himself wrote a libretto for Louise Bertin’s opera La Esmeralda . Making Hugo the first person to adapt the novel. Considering Hugo wrote Quasimodo an aria, I think it’s safe to say that he did imagine him breaking out into song. On a side note, that aria was only piece people liked from the opera. You can listen to it here
Concept Art of Quasimodo from the Art of the Hunchback of Notre Dame
Anyway despite that generalization it is well researched and an interesting read with lots of great artwork. I would highly recommend it for fans of the Disney movie.