L’Ombre (The Shadow)

Daniel Lavoie as Shadow Form Frollo with Patrick Fiori as Phobus performing L’Ombre Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Daniel Lavoie as Shadow Form Frollo with Patrick Fiori as Phobus performing L’Ombre

I always found this song a little more than silly as Phoebus asks why his shadow is wearing a coat and a hat. I get that it’s lyrical but I would buy that Phoebus would wonder why his shadow was a better dresser that him. Also Frollo’s pose is kind of funny as he holds up his arms.

Again, L’Ombre is a bridge songs to get us to the encounter scene. It’s taken from the book which is called something like the Goblin Monk. It’s not as funny as the chapter. Frollo and Phoebus don’t have their witty banter where Phoebus wants to fight and is broke and Frollo offers to pay for the room but wants to watch.

The song is ok. I like the beats and melody. The Lyrics are a little weird. they start silly but then Phoebus aska who would follow him and them asks if he’s a man of god and he likes of course. So I have no clue if Phoebus knows who the shadow is or if he just being dumb. But it’s a good bridge song and it’s really the only song in Notre Dame de Paris that is suppose to be humorous.

Le Val d’amour

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

Literally means Valley of Love but it’s a brothel. What kind of guy would ask for a tryst at a brothel? Phoebus, what a charmer. My guess is that because he a frequent visitor, he gets a discount for the room.

This scene is a vast departure from the book as Phoebus meets Esmeralda at a inn type house called Pomme d’Eve (or something like that). I guess that isn’t as romantic of a name. Le Val d’amour brothel was mentioned in the book however as the place Jehan goes to for some paid loving.

Le Val d’amour itself is a fun number. Gringoire sings it and sells it as THE brothel to visit when you’re in town as it offers good quality for low, low prices. He even gives detailed directions which is so Victor Hugo. It’s also a great number for Gringoire as he back into his fun party mood like in the Feast of Fools number. Plus this also really the last fun number in the show, so enjoy it.

The dancing is very sensual but in the Italian version is even more sexual. Also when I first heard the original London version I swear I heard the lines “Guitars implore Ga-Glor-ka-Glor.” Not really sure how to spell what I heard….

La Volupté (The Sensuous)

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus in La Volupté with his prize winning Smug look Notre Dame de Paris  picture image

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus in La Volupté with his prize winning Smug look

I’ll be blunt, I have never really liked La Volupté. The only thing I have really liked about is Phoebus’ smug look and that could just be Patrick Fiori. That being said I don’t think it’s a bad song, it didn’t make my hit list.

The music is fine and it has a nice sensual electric guitar thing but everything that is silly about the scene in the book is gone, except for that smug look. Also the song indicates that Esmeralda should have a darker skin tone than Phoebus, so at least with original cast, it takes me a little out of things but that is a major nitpick.

But you know what is NOT a major nitpick, we see shadow Frollo stab Phoebus but you also see Gringoire make the same gesture down stage. What this is meant to indicate is that Gringoire is telling the story and is pantomiming the actions, but it gets a little lost as it looks like Gringoire is the one doing the stabbing even though he is not.

All in all, it’s a okay song for moving the plot along but it’s a bit confused in execution. Thank goodness for that almighty smug look.

Fatalité (Fatality)

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire singing  Fatalité  Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire singing Fatalité

Again like La Volupté, Fatalité is not my favorite. But it is one of the few songs in Notre Dame de Paris where all the principle leads are on stage together. I think Belle is the other time unless you want to count the encore.

Again Fatalité has that nice guitar riff that is heard in La Volupté. It is very dramatic as Gringoire sings about how no can escape Fate. It’s a nice closer to Act I but it seems a little lacking if I were to compare it to Le Mis (One Day More) or Phantom (All I ask of you reprise) or even Der Glockner von Notre Dame (Esmeralda). I mean it’s fine but it’s not a song I’m inclined to listen to a lot.

I’d give it a B- as a grade, though I’m not grading the songs so that doesn’t really mean that much.

End of Act I!

All in all, despite my criticisms, Act I is great.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Anarkia

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo performing Anarkia Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo performing Anarkia



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)

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

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

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.

Belle

Notre Dame de Paris Belle Esmeralda Helen Segara, Garou Quaismodo, Frollo Daniel Lavoie Phoebus Patrick fiori picture image

Garou as Quasimodo , Daniel Lavoie as Frollo, Patrick Fiori as Phoebus and Helene Segara as Esmeralda performing Belle

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.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Can you guess the theme of these songs?

Le Mot Phoebus (The word Phoebus)

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire with Helene Segara as Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire with Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Le Mot Phoebus is one of my favorite little bridge songs in Notre Dame de Paris. First off the melody is very pleasant and sweet. Second this the ONLY time that Gringoire and Esmeralda get a duet, which is a shame, makes sense but a shame, though in other versions the get two lines in La Cour des Miracles but still.

In Le Mot Phoebus Esmeralda tells Gringoire he has been Friend-zoned and Gringoire isn’t that upset about it. I think he would have been happier with her be his muse, nymph, his lady but Gringoire is a chill dude and just goes with it.

It’s just a few nice lead into the next song.

Beau comme le Soleil (He is like the Sun)

Juie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Helene Segara as Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris Original Cast, picture image

Juie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Helene Segara as Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris Original Cast

And what is this? It’s the next song, fancy that. Beau comme le Soleil is a rather interesting song as it’s another duet sung by Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys in tandem but not really together about the man-whore know as Phoebus.

Now Esmeralda has known him for a solid day and had two interactions with him. One she was more-or-less flirtatiously gave a vague account of her life and the second time she refused him after he saved her and then somewhat agreed to met him at a brothel and now she in totally in love with him, teenagers am I right? Whether or not it’s believable from a logical stand point, Esmeralda’s part is a directly foiled by Fleur-de-Lys’ part.

Esmeralda’s part is just about a growing love or fascination for a guy she doesn’t know at all. All she knows is he is handsome. Fleur-de-Lys knows more about him like he is rascal but she is attracted to me on a more physical level than romantic idolization. It’s an interesting pairing of two loves that are both shallow and immature.

The melody is nice and the part they sing together is really pretty. I love how great the original cast harmonizes toegther.

Also I haven‘t talked about the editing very much but that overlay at the end with Phoebus is so derpy. In other versions, Phoebus appears between the ladies but on the Original cast DVD, that overlay makes me laugh every single time.

Déchiré (Torn)

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

Ah Déchiré, Déchiré and I go way back to my first AMV, the character was pretty the embodiment of this song. And what is Déchiré all about? It’s about how Phoebus is super duper happy that two lovely ladies want him.

Unlike in the book, Phoebus here expresses a desire for having both women in his life instead of Esmeralda being a one night stand. Fleur-de-Lys would have been the wife and Esmeralda would have been the mistress. At some points in times, mistresses were totally ok, I’m not sure if that was the case for 1482 France but the point is two women want his love and he is normal for being happy about it.

I really enjoy this song. I would say this song is upbeat even though it’s a little disguised as being being moody and other versions don’t have the same level of dark wit. The song defiantly has great energy and is a testament to the stupid male ego.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Le Portes de Paris (The Gates of Paris)

Gringoire singing Le Portes de Paris Bruno Pelletier Notre dame de paris picture image

Gringoire singing Le Portes de Paris

This song is kind of funny and I don’t mean like it’s hilarious, I mean this song set-ups a trend in Notre Dame de Paris that is very clear in all three of these songs. Where the plot and story are reduced to one or two lines of song over setting up mood or emotion. Typically this is fine but in this chunk of the overall story we kind of need story being told.

In Les Portes de Paris, Gringoire tells us he met a girl, followed her and lost her. That’s it. It’s like drive-by exposition. I mean if you don’t know he meant Esmeralda, would you REALLY know he meant her? The rest of the song tells us Paris is a dark and sexy place. It’s very moody and Gringoire is a delight in the song but alas isn’t a little more than forgettable.

Tentative d’enlèvement (Kidnap Attempt)

Phoebus and Esmeralda Tentative d'enlevement Helene Segara Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda

Ah, yet another song to make that worst list, at number six. First off what the fuck? This song depicts the critical scene where Quasimodo tries and kidnap Esmeralda. This is also the scene in the book where Esmeralda and Phoebus meet for the first time. And it just all so sloppy in Notre Dame.

So when Quasimodo goes in for the kidnap, Esmeralda is in mid-run from some weird extra, so it just looks like she is running from the other guy and not even Quasimodo, so that ruins it.

However that not even the tip of the messed up-ness of Tentative d’enlèvement. When Phoebus saves Esmeralda he puts the moves on her and she rebuffs him, telling him he as gotten the wrong girl as Esmeralda isn’t a soldier-girl. So then what happens? He tells he he’ll meet her at a brothel the “Cabaret de Val d’amour.” And for whatever that line worked and she’s now like Phoebus, in fact later on she says her heart beats for him, but I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s just like what! In under two minutes the ruined a very pivotal scene.

The music for the song is okay, it has a nice mystery and dark tone but it’s not enough to save the song.

La Cour des Miracles (The Court of Miracles)

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris



At last another big number. La Cour des Miracles tells us about the Court of Miracles and Clopin’s outlook on the world as a world without much divide of status and religion. Then there is the drive-by exposition where Gringoire just literally pops in, is hanged in a bag, which looks like fun and married off. Any humor of the scene is gone.

As far of the song itself, it’s fun and has good enegry. I do like Clopin singing it off a gilder from the ceiling. Not a favorite song of mine but far from the worst. I kind of wish that the camera guy got more of Gringoire and Esmeralda dancing.

Speaking of Esmeralda and Gringoire, other version added lines for them, where Esmeralda tells him that she is not into him which the next song did anyway so it was a weird addition.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

Bohémienne

Esmeralda Helene Segara Bohemienne Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda

Bohémienne is one of the few upbeat songs in Notre Dame de Paris. Pending on the cast you’re watching the number can be more upbeat, as most Esmeraldas do have dance choreography. The trouble with some Esmeraldas, is that even though they are dancing, the choreography can look REALLY mechanical. Some Esmeraldas can pull it all like Lola Ponce of the original Italian cast and Baba of the Korean version but most Esmeraldas it like arms up, run back. arms up again and now twirl. Helene Segara at least looks natural in her movements regardless whether not she is dancing, she isn’t but there are a few little steps in there.

Bohémienne tells us a little bit of Esmeralda’s origins and out look on life. She’s a wander and enjoys the unknown. She is also a dreamer and really dreams of going to Spain. Despite the upbeat nature of the number there is this hint of bittersweetness. The combination of tones gives this songs a nice complexity and interest.

It’s a really great introduction for Esmeralda and fun number.

Esmeralda Tu Sais, (Esmeralda, You Know,)

tu sais Esmeralda and Clopin Helene Segara Luc Mervil Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin

I once made a Top Ten Worst Songs of Notre Dame de Paris list and this song was there, at number three no less. This songs works to tells us more on Esmeralda’s backstory with regards to Clopin. Basically he raised her when she mother died. In the song he warns her about guys and his own rising interest in her.

Here the thing about Esmeralda tu sais and why it made my list, it’s REALLY boring. The melody, orchestration, tone are like valium. It doesn’t highlight the singer it anyway and makes Clopin sound like he is droning. In other cast versions, they tried to fix the song by making it a duet with Clopin and Esmeralda which is nice and Clopin gets more angry about the world but it didn’t really help anything, it’s still dull a rusty nail.

The ONLY thing I can give the song is showcasing Clopin’s gentler side but I mean they could have written a better melody, it’s just one of the weaker songs in the show.

Ces diamants-là (These Diamonds)

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris

Ces diamants-là is Fleur-de-Lys introduction song. Just so we’re all clear, Fleur-de-Lys is Phoebus’ Fiancee. Isn’t it great that Notre Dame de Paris introduces Fleur-de-Lys before Quasimodo? I think it is!

Ces diamants-là tells us about Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus’ relationship. Fleur-de-Lys who is young in this version but is wise to Phoebus’ playboy ways in that she says even if his romantic lines are lies she doesn’t care. She is smitten with him and Phoebus whether or not is he is lying or sincere does seem to be interested in marring her.

The song is sweet but there is more at play. They way they circle around each other and pull way speaks to a power dynamic and really way they do it speaks to Fleur-de-Lys having more control than Phoebus. This could be because Phoebus is a slut who can’t help himself or that it’s Fleur-de-Lys who has the monetary upper-hand like she does in the book. The melody while it’s quite pretty seems a little off, like almost a little diabolical, like a little foreboding with those drums. In that sense it’s the perfect depiction of Phoebus and Fleur-de-Lys‘ characters in the musical.

Get the whole GLORIOUS ALBUM HERE

I might discuss aspects from other casts but I’m going to keep it to the original cast.

Le Temps des Cathédrals (The Age of Cathedral)

 

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire singing Le Temps de Cathédrales Notre Dame de Paris  picture image

Bruno Pelletier as Gringoire singing Le Temps de Cathédrales

This is the first number of the show. It’s sung by Pierre Gringoire who acts mainly as a story teller. The song tells us about the changing times and how teh Cathedral once prominent and important to society is falling away and that population is changing too as people seek refuge in Paris.

The song itself is very mysterious with a touch of bittersweetness. The songs also have a great build and there is a nice reveals of the stage as the song builds. It starts with a bare stage and Gringoire but slowly layers of screens are pulled back to reveal the set pieces.

Le temps des cathédrales is also a great showcase for Gringoire’s voice. Bruno Pelleteir has such an expressive voice. Also with all the power and build up and the enegry Gringoire to into the song it transition to the nest song very nicely.

Les Sans Papiers (Those without Papers)

 

Luck Mervil as Clopin singing Le Sans Papiers, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Luck Mervil as Clopin singing Le Sans Papiers

Just a little clarication papers meaning without passport, or without legal documentation which I don’t think they would have had in 1482, could be wrong but it a big deal these days and the Refugee were a big issue in France at the time this musical came out so it’s topical.

So what is interesting about Notre Dame de Paris is that even though they didn’t start it the same way as the book they do introduce the characters at roughly the same points. This songs in Clopin asking for refuge for his people. There is also the same tone of change.

There is a great power and darkness to Le Sans Papiers. It’s interesting that a song that is basically begging would have such a forceful tone to it. There is also a menace and urgency that makes this song exciting by the end.

It also the first number with dancing. Notre Dame de Paris has a lot of dancing. For this particularly number the dancing is a little weird. I don’t know a ton or anything about dance, heck I was run out of tap dance class at the age of six, I’m the last person who should critic dance but while I think the dancing in this number is effective to the tone and mood of the song I don’t care for it. Some of it look like spazing out, which I excel out. I did like that walk out and throw down move.

Also during this song you can see Frollo looming in Notre Dame, as played by a rock climbing wall. And as indicated by the next song, this song did not melt Mr. Frollo’s icy heart.

Intervention de Frollo (Intervention of Frollo)

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo singing Invention de Frollo Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo singing Invention de Frollo

This is the first song that is a little different between the cast version. Frollo commands Phoebus to arrest the people and he complies. In the original cast he tries to arrest Esmeralda and is taken with her. In other versions, after getting the order Phoebus finds Esmeralda dancing and is taken. It’s both a HUGE difference and not. With her dancing it clarifies Esmeralda as a dancer but the transition is not smooth. With the arrest we lose her a bit as dancer but it makes for a better transition. Though it’s a transition that exist within the song.

As bridge song, Intervention de Frollo is okay. It’s very staccato but gets the point across of Frollo authority and coldness and Phoebus‘ conformity and interest in pretty girls.

*I might translate these with crummy translations or go by the English titles. which can also be crummy.

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Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris

So often in adaptations of The Hunchback Notre Dame, Fleur-de-Lys gets shafted. Either she is not there, an extra or just in a few scenes and with in those scenes she is pretty much a rich bitch. The 1956 version had her in one scene were she was soften a touch though still catty. Notre Dame de Paris however took a character that really isn’t a huge character in the book and fleshed her out and gave her some depth.

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Fleur-de-Lys is the smallest role in the musical has she only has three songs, though she appears in more numbers. The minimal songs she get do reveal everything about her character and her arch.

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Unlike the book, Fleur-de-Lys is much younger. I believe in the book she was twenty-four whereas in Notre Dame de Paris she is fourteen. More than likely this change is based on Julie Zenatti’s age at the time she played the role, which was seventeen.

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris

Zenatti said in that Fleur-de-Lys loves Phoebus with a passion, which is true but her love for Phoebus is not as romanticized as Esmeralda. She knows that he is handsome and spouts out romantic lines but he is also a scoundrel and a soldier.

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Julie Zenatti Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

In the Phoebus post, I mentioned that Phoebus was a double minion to both Frollo and Fleur-de-Lys and that is because at some point during the musical Fleur-de-Lys snaps and demands that Phoebus ensures Esmeralda’s death. The manner which she tells this to Phoebus is vastly different between the original version and all the subsequent versions.

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

In the original version, Fleur-de-Lys snaps and sings her big number, La Monture, to herself and asks Phoebus to kill Esmeralda. He overhears this and with the next number tells her that he is returning to her and basically agreeing to her request. Very personally, I like the original version of La Monture, it has  a desperation and venom. It also means that Phoebus is taking some agency with the death of Esmeralda.

 

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Patrick Fiori as Phoebus, Notre Dame de Paris

In other versions, Phoebus asks Fleur-de-Lys to take him back as his unfaithful heart is all better. Fleur-de-Lys then very sexually asks him to kill Esmeralda. She honey-potted him. He can’t really refuse her after that. I get why they changed it, as it makes Fleur-de-Lys look more powerful and in- control and second it just make for a better on stage show number. However I do think that someone who desperate and at her wit’s end asking for someone death is more interesting than someone who is forcing someone and using sex to get what they want. Also I’m not sure why Fleur-de-Lys wants Esmeralda to die as much in other versions, it just seems like she testing Phoebus more that she is going out her mind with jealousy, but that is just me.

 

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys with Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

 

Fleur-de-Lys is also Esmeralda’ s foil. Where Esmeralda is earthy, sensual, innocent and exotic, Fleur-de-Lys is colder, calculating, jaded, polished and has a fairer European beauty. This is in the book but is because Fleur-de-Lys is bigger in Notre Dame de Paris the difference between the two ladies is clearer.

 

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Julie Zenatti as Fleur-de-Lys Notre Dame de Paris

Despite having the smallest role in Notre Dame de Paris , Fleur-de-Lys is still quite well fleashed out and really compelling.

Next Time – Moving in to the songs

Original Cast Belle NOtre dame de Paris picture image

Original Cast Belle

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

I have said this more than a few times but Phoebus is a character that can be molded to fit a few roles in a Hunchback narrative; he can be a the handsome hero, the vain villain or the expendable extra, you know narrative needs. In Notre Dame de Paris is more on the villainous side things.

 

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Julie Zenatti Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

To be clear he is not the villain so to speak. Notre Dame de Paris doesn’t have a clear villain but if I were say I would say it would Frollo and Fleur de Lys with Phoebus as a minion between them. Frollo has control of aspects of Paris and he can command Phoebus. So it is Frollo who tells Phoebus to get Clopin’s people out of Paris and it Fleur de Lys who tells him to ensure Esmeralda’s death. So Phoebus is a pawn in the scheme of things however he shows no remorse for his actions, nor guilt for merely doing his job.

 

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Patrick fiori Julie zenatti Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda Helene Segara picture image

Phoebus with Fleur-de-Lys and Esmeralda

So is Phoebus the jerk he is in the book? Not quite, he does have a slightly positive spin on his characterization and that his intentions towards Esmeralda. In the book it’s clear that for Phoebus, Esmeralda is a one-time thing. In this version he basically wants her in a more long-term capacity, balance an affair with her while being married to Fleur-de-Lys. He wants Esmeralda for a mistress which I doubt would have made this Esmeralda happy in the end. This still makes him a jerk-face.

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Patrick fiori Julie zenatti Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

Much like Gringoire and Quasimodo, Phoebus’s depiction doesn’t differ from cast to cast of Notre Dame de Paris. He just a jerk little horny minion, but the ladies love him.

Next time Clopin

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris

Luck Mervil as Clopin from Notre Dame de Paris

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

Notre Dame de Paris is often praised for being accurate to the novel but there are A LOT of differences.

Esmeralda Helene Segara Bohemienne Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda

The biggest one is no Djali, I mean how could they? But in all seriousness, Esmeralda is in this version is a full-fledge Gypsy who at one point in her life knew her mother. As we have seen in other versions, Esmeralda being a Gypsy is the norm over her backstory in the novel where she is the daughter of French woman and stolen, so it’s not big changes considering the film/adaptation history of the character.

tu sais Esmeralda and Clopin Helene Segara Luc Mervil Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin

Clopin also serves as not only the leader of the Gypsies and thieves but as a father figure to Esmeralda, as her mother entrusted Esmeralda to him when she died. Clopin himself is different than other versions as he care for the blight and safety of his people more than previous versions of the character.

Quasimodo and Esmeralda Le Pape des fous Helene Segara Garou Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

The show opts to start with introducing characters and not the Feast of Fools, except for Quasimodo who appears during that Feast of Fools number. It’s a little unclear if Quasimodo had seen Esmeralda before or if he first saw when she crowned him as the Pope but he does take a liking to her when he is crowned and not when she gave him water.

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

Quasimodo also brings Esmeralda into Notre Dame and offers it to her as a home. Esmeralda has gone into Notre Dame a few times before prior to Quasimodo saving her in different versions but it is the first time Quasimodo invites her in, usually she goes in for another reasons mainly to escape guards. Though in the 1923 version it was to met Phoebus.

Phoebus and Esmeralda Tentative d'enlevement Helene Segara Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda

Speaking of meeting Phoebus, who liked that segue, Esmeralda and Phoebus arrange to met at a brothel called the Cabaret de Val d’amour whereas in the book they meet a tavern/inn/house called Pomme d’eve. However there is actually a Val d’amour in the book, it is a brothel that Frollo’s brother Jehan frequents.

It just weird that Phoebus would meet a girl, who not 2 seconds before turned him down, at a brothel. Oh well, it’s suppose to make him look sleazy.

Esmeralda on Trial with Frollo Helene Segara Daniel Lavoie Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda on Trial with Frollo

The biggest and most glaring of the differences comes in the second act. First off, Frollo handles Esmeralda’s trail and torture. I would venture a guess that the reason for this is more practical than artistic as they would have needed another singer.

Frollo makes sense to fill this role but it’s just weird. Though and I forgot where I heard it but when Esmeralda confesses she just says something like “I love him, I confess,” and Frollo orders the torture to stop, somewhere Daniel Lavoie (Frollo’s original actor) said that it’s because Frollo loved Esmeralda that what she said was deemed enough. So there ya go.

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

Esmeralda and Frollo

Also scenes that occur in Notre Dame after Esmeralda is brought there do not happen. The Port de Rouge scene and the scene where Frollo gives Esmeralda the final ultimatum are merged into the Jail scene, which is fine, they blended nicely together.

Also Frollo just likes science in general and not just alchemy which is just minor change and a nitpick.

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

Quasimodo freeing Esmeralda

Another BIG difference is Quasimodo saving Esmerlada, Clopin and the rest of the Court of Miracles. Everyone knows that Quasimodo descends from Notre Dame, saves Esmeralda and proclaims sanctuary while holding her aloft but not here.

In fact Quasimodo never says Sanctuary. He claims freedom for her but he never says “Sanctuary.” The closest is Clopin says “Asile” which can means sanctuary although is closer to asylum. And I’m now resisting making a Asylum Films joke.

Also Quaismodo is no where to be seen when the attack on Notre Dame is occurs. It really seems to be Clopin who is defending the cathedral and not Quasimodo, which just wrong.

Esmeralda about to be hung Helene Segara Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda about to be hung

Phoebus is there though and he is the one who proclaims Esmeralda’s death sentence as it’s what his fiancee wants. It a like more of a twist of the knife as Esmeralda was still in love with Phoebus when he passed judgment on her although that did not happen in the book but it makes for good drama.

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus Julie Zenatti Patrick Fiori Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus

Lately and this is a good change, Phoebus‘ fiancee, Fleur-de-Lys has a must more of a fleshed-out character. In the book we know she loves Phoebus and jealous of Esmeralda but not too much more.

Here we see more of her inner workings. She knows Phoebus spouts lies and she was ok with that till Esmeralda came along. Unlike the novel where Esmeralda was only meant to be a one night thing for Phoebus, here Phoebus wanted to balance them out. This makes Fleur-de-Lys go a little crazy and pending on what version you watch, she either wishes for Phoebus to ensure Esmeralda’s death or demands it of him. It’s just nice to see the character have a little bit going for her than nothing.

I’m sure there are many more difference but those are the core ones.

Next Time – Esmeralda

Helene Segara singing Ave Maria Paien in Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Helene Segara singing Ave Maria Paien in Notre Dame de Paris

Would you believe this is like at least the second time I have written a synopsis of the plot of Notre Dame de Paris ( here)? Also this is a synopsis of the original French product. In 2001 the show had some changes. I will at some point talk about the different casts (to the best of my ability) but for now the original French is the default since it’s most convenient version I can review.

Helene  Segara as Esmeralda and Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

Act 1
The show opens with Gringoire, the story teller, as he regals the crowd with cathedrals and their important to the world and their demise from importance as books in stone and glass. The scene then shifts to Clopin and his group of refugees who want sanctuary in Notre Dame. His pleads fall on deaf hears as Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre Dame who orders the captain of the King’s Archer, Phoebus to arrest them. Phoebus corners pretty Gypsy lady. Phoebus is instantly attracted to her and ask her about herself. She tells him that she is a bohemian and her parents are gone but she dreams of returning to Andalusia someday though her fate is already determined. Clopin, her care giver then warns her that she is grown now and to be wary of men. We are then introduced to Phoebus‘ fiancee, Fleur de Lys who is fourteen and is quite smitten with the dashing captain.

Garou as Quasimodo Notre Dame de paris picture image

Quasimodo as the Pope of Fools

The Feast of Fools begins with Gringoire leading the revelry. Quasimodo then pokes his head out from the cathedral and is crown the Pope of Fools by Esmeralda. Quasimodo then asks the crowd, especially Esmeralda if she will love him, but she doesn’t really care. Quasimodo curses his parents that abandoned him. Frollo then breaks up the fun and calls out Esmeralda for being a witch and evil. Froll then decides that they will kidnap her. Quasimodo tells Frollo that he will do anything for Frollo since he took Quasimodo in and gave him the bells. But despite that he doesn’t know Frollo’s heart but he belongs to Frollo and loves him as dog loves his master.

Juie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Helene Segara as Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris Original Cast, picture image

Fleur de Lys & Esmeralda

Gringoire tries to follow Esmeralda after the feast but lost her. He then tells us that nighttime in Paris is a dangerous and lustful place. Quasimodo then set out to Kidnap Esmeralda as she warms herself but he stopped by Phoebus. Phoebus offers to take Esmeralda outside the city to where the other Gypsy live and he sort of puts the moves on her. Esmeralda tells him that she isn’t that sort of girl however when her asks to meet her the following night at Val d’Amour (a brothel) she does not say no. We then are thrown in to the Court of Miracles where the vagrants live and Clopin rules a world with no heaven, no hell, no country, no creed. Gringoire wanders in and going to hang but Esmeralda marries him to save. Gringoire is all for this match but Esmeralda asks what Phoebus means and that it the name of the man she loves. Gringoire tells her it means the sun. Esmeralda likes this name and entertains girly ideas about what kind of man he is while Fleur de Lys knows him a little more. Phoebus then tells us that two women love him and this the bestest thing ever as he figures he can have both and it will be awesome.

Frollo and Esmeralda during Belle, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Frollo and Esmeralda

The next day, Frollo and Gringoire meet and Frollo find out that Gringoire and Esmeralda are married which is disapproves of and tells Grngoire that he must not touch his wife but I mean really want husband would really want to touch his wife. Gringoire shows Frollo the work Ankaria which engraved on the wall and asks what it means. Frollo tells him it means fate. They then see Quasimodo being taking away. (That songs last for 42 seconds). Quasimodo tries to a pillory and asks for a drop of water. Esmeralda gives him some and he calls her beautiful. Quasimodo, Frollo and Phoebus then tell us about their own desires for Esmeralda. After the crowd clears, Quasimodo invites Esmeralda in to Notre Dame and tells her she can be save their and it can be her home. Esmeralda then prays to Mary for protections against the people in power and the fools of the world as Frollo watches her and becomes more bewitched by her and knows she will destroy him and he is ok with that.

Gringoire Val d'amour Notre dame de Paris picture image

Gringoire at Val d’amour

Frollo follows Phoebus to Val d’Amour and tries to scare him away but Val d’amour is way too sexy and Phoebus meets with Esmeralda for a night of loving. They don’t make it very far when Frollo stabs Phoebus, such is fate.

Act II

Quasimodo with a Bell Les Cloches Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo with a bell

Frollo and Phoebus meet again and regal us with the changing world and how the snazzy new printing press with destroy architecture. They hear silence as the bells or Notre Dame no longer ring. Quasimodo is sad because he rings the bell for everyday and for everyone except himself and he wants to hear the bell ring out his love for Esmeralda. Esmeralda is also missing and Gringoire, Frollo and Clopin mourn her absence. Frollo asks where she has gone but Gringoire doesn’t tell him but tells Clopin that she has been arrested and will be hanged.

Esmeralda in jail les oiseaux qu'on met en cage  Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda in jail

Esmerlada in jail asks for Quasimodo to save her. Quasimodo is also missing her as they share a strong bond. Clopin then tries to recuse Esmeralda but is arrested himself. Esmeralda is put on trail but Frollo for wounding Phoebus. She then tortured and confesses to loving Phoebus which seems to be enough to condemn her to death. Esmerada then wishes Phoebus would save and take her to Andalusia while Frollo laments about being a priest and loving a woman.

Fleur de Lys La Monture Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Fleur de Lys

Fleur de Lys is at her wit’s end and is feud up with Phoebus’ cheating but she is whiling to forget it if Phoebus can ensure Esmeralda’s death, which is going to happen anyway so Phoebus agrees and claims that Esmeralda bewitched him anyway but he is ready to be 100% faithful.

Helene Segara as Esmerada & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo, un matin tu dansais from Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmerada & Frollo

The bells ring in the early morning as Frollo informs Esmeralda that in an hour she will die. She asks what she did to him to make him hate her but he confesses that he Loves her and gives her an ultimatum, the grave or Frollo’s bed. Esmeralda rejects him but Frollo tries to force himself on her. Just then Clopin saves Esmeralda as Quasimodo released everyone.

Gingoire lune Notre Dame de Paris  picture image

Gingoire and the moon

Quasimodo takes Esmeralda, and I guess the rest of the Court of Miracles. Gringoire then regales the audience and the moon with how consuming the power of love can be. Quasimodo gives Esmeralda a whistle and tells her not to leave Notre Dame. As Esmeralda drifts off to sleep, Quasimodo laments that God made the world wrong as Esmeralda will never love him but loves Phoebus. Esmeralda wakes up and tells us how she doesn’t want to die but she wants to live. She wants to live for love.

Esmeralda and Clopin l'attaque de notre dame notre dame de paris picture image

Esmeralda and Clopin

Clopin claims sanctuary but Frollo orders right if sanctuary broke Phoebus to expel them from Notre Dame. Clopin is killed and Esmeralda rushes to him but is recaptures and sent to the gallows, which pleases Fleur de Lys. Quasimodo begs Frollo to save Esmeralda but he refuses as she rejects him. As she hanged Frollo laughs and Quasimodo kills Frollo and then demands Esmeralda be returned to him.

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda,Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo with Esmeralda

 

Quasimodo holds Esmeralda’s body and begs her to dance for one final time and vows that in death they will be united in the universe.

Don’t you just feel happier now?

Next Time more on the Plot

Belle Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Belle