This is a Music Video of Tina Arena singing “Live from the One I Love.” Which is   the English version of Vivre. Arena played Esmeralda in the first London  cast.  This video reminds me so much of Jim Henson’s 1986 movie The Labyrinth.  She sings it in a Labyrinth  and there is a white owl.

However this may have be a connect to Notre Dame de Chartes which has a Labyrinth and Chartes is considered the Seat of Mary, as it’s believed that her veil is housed there.  Also all the water imagery relates to Mary too.

Or it could that a labyrinth stands for  the singer being trapped and lost without it being a apparent that the song is from a musical.

For the most the video is kind of cheesy with its blues tones, CGs, weird overlays,  weird cross fades and odd costumes. However despite the clunky lyrics, Arena sounds great.

As Esmeralda been adapted for different versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, she has wore red a lot.

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion picture image

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion

The first couple adaptations La Esmeralda (the opera and the Ballet)  her costumes has red details.

Costume design for La Esmeralda Opera 1831 picture image

Costume design for La Esmeralda Opera 1831

 

In 1839, Belgium Painter, Antoine Wiertz depicted her in all red.

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wiertz

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wiertz

In 1870 ballerina, Adelina Patti, is depicted in a costume with a red skirt. The Ballets runs the gambit of colors from blue to green to pink though red seems to be the popular color choice.

Adelina Patti as Esmeralda 1870 picture image

Adelina Patti as Esmeralda 1870

 

Paloma Herrera as La Esmeralda Ballet picture image

Paloma Herrera as La Esmeralda Ballet

La Esmeralda Ballet picture image

La Esmeralda Ballet

La Esmeralda Ballet with Phoebus picture image

La Esmeralda Ballet with Phoebus

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not till we get to the movies that we see red surfacing as the dominate color for her. The 1923 movie has at least two instances of a colorized posters one is yellow and purple and the other has red details.

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1939 despite Walter Plunkett’s design being mostly blue with red details and a red vest the coloration of her dress on a poster is all red.

Walter Plunkett design Costume for Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Plunkett’s costume design for Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though to be fair there are a few posters  where she wears green and blue, but there is more red.

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939 Poster picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939 Poster

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1956 version Esmeralda wears all red for most of the movie.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

But I find it curious that she wears yellow at her ill-fated meeting with Phoebus over red.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1996 Disney version Esmeralda wears red during her dance performance but for most part she wears purple.  I do have to wonder if Anne-Marie Bardwell had something to do with Esmeralda wearing purple throughout the movie as she was  credited in Character Design/ Visual Development and one of the animators on Esmeralda.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image red dress

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Dancing

Though she wears red/dark pink in Der Glockner von Notre Dame the German musical.

 

Esmeralda dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame Picture Image

Esmeralda Dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

 

In Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda wears green but there is one red dress that was wore  for advertising for the London cast and the 2001 French cast. This dress is only wore once on stage in the Russian version during her meeting with Phoebus. And even in the 2010/2011 concerts Helene Segara wore red to sing the musical.

Tina Arena As Esmeralda in the Promotional Red Dress Notre Dame de Paris 2000 London Castpicture image

Tina Arena As Esmeralda in the Promotional Red Dress Notre Dame de Paris 2000 London Cast

Helene Segara performing Bohemienne at Bercy Concert picture image

Helene Segara performing Bohemienne at Bercy Concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently in the new illustration novel by Benjamin Lacombe and the  Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide, Esmeralda wears red.

Esmeralda by Benjamin Lacombe Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda by Benjamin Lacombe Notre Dame de Paris

Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide picture image

Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at all these instances, why is red her default color? Is it because green is too obvious for her given that her name means Emerald and red is opposite color to green making it the non-obvious choice? Seems a rather simplistic design notion for a costume, especially when one thinks that the color red is in total opposition to her as character.

Esmeralda Statuette by Armani picture image

Esmeralda Statuette by Armani

 

The color red typically is associated in Western cultural with  passion, desire, love and sexuality. Esmeralda’s personality is lighthearted, innocent, naive and modest. She doesn’t seem the type character to outwardly express her sexuality because even though she inspires desire in others, she herself is unaware of it.

Red is also in opposition of Esmeralda’s allegorical role as the Virgin Mary who traditionally wears either wears blue or turquoise.

Red also seems to age Esmeralda, her main point of interest in the novel is her youth, blue and green are more youthful colors but red comes off as mature.

Finally in the Romani culture, red is a color of ill omen as it’s associated with Blood (The Lure of the Gypsy Culture ) Though maybe the costume is meant her to  be ironic like she is subconsciously giving her in to tragic fate, though she lives more often than she dies and I don’t think the costume designers are that clever or that cerebral.

Shirel as Esmeralda in the Red with Laurent Ban as Phoesbus Notre Dame de Paris 2001 French Cast picture image

Shirel as Esmeralda in the Red with Laurent Ban as Phoesbus Notre Dame de Paris 2001 French Cast

 

However, maybe this whole matter is quite simple, does Esmeralda wear red in the book?
In the book there are  only a few instances where her clothing is described. When Gringoire first sees her, she is wearing a golden bodice (Book 2 chapter 3 Kisses for Blows) Frollo mentions that she wears blue when he first saw her dance (Book 8 chapter 4 Lasciate Ogni Speranza) and of course she wears white in the later part of the story when she condemn to die and brought into Notre Dame.

I think there maybe an instance of her wearing a multicolored skirt but I can’t find the instance in the book and her necklace that contains her baby shoe is stung with red seed beads,  other that she does not wear red. So why is she in red since red is in total opposition to her as character and there is no precedence for it in the novel.

Auguste Couder's Painting of Frollo stabbing Phoebus picture image

Auguste Couder’s Painting of Frollo stabbing Phoebus

If Esmeralda doesn’t wear in the book and it’s a color that is against every aspect of her character why does red seem to be the color of choice for her.

One reason I think is red is an easy color choice to make for when a character is suppose to stand out and be thought as desirable. There might be another level, Esmeralda is a Gypsy, this gives her an sense of exoticism and one popular style of art in the 19th century was Orientalism. Orientalism in art meant depicted exotic sense from place that were exotic to Europeans. The paintings use a lot of rich colors and a lot of red especially for women.

Une Beaute Prientale by Paul de la Boulaye picture image

Une Beaute Prientale by Paul de la Boulaye

 

So her being in red could mean that the costume designers are saying Esmeralda is an exotic beauty who is sexual desirable even though Victor Hugo meant for Esmeralda to work against the stereotype, why else would he have Gringoire said this to Frollo about her;

I certainly  consider it a great rarity to find such nun-like prudery fiercely maintained in the midst of those gipsy girls, who are so easily tamed” (Book 7, chapter 2). Esmeralda’s purity is part of her allure and to have her wearing red more less bastardizes the point of  her character

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Red is just the wrong color for Esmeralda as a character and is it far too over done to be her dominant color anymore, details are fine but it’s too much red  but in over 170 years worth of adaptations it has become a boring cliche. I think this  is a cliche that need to at very least ebb. Costume designers of newer Hunchback adaptions if you read this please consider using different colors and if you must use red make it details or at the very least  try a different tone it doesn’t always have to fire engine red.

Esmeralda and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda mocks Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

Helene Segara as Esmeralda from Notre Dame de Paris

I was reading on http://notredamedeparisfans.tumblr.com/ that tumbler user express a dislike  for Esmeralda’s green dress from Notre Dame de Paris. You can read the post here (post doesn’t seem to be of NDdp Fan anymore).  She finds the dress to be like a sack with no movement and thinks the show should have opted for more traditional gypsy costume designs. Overall she doesn’t care for the design. Now since I don’t have a tumblr account and I made a squidoo lens on this topic, I’m going to offer up a defense with a blog post. However this is not the first person to express a dislike for the costume. So it’s nothing new.

Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris design by Fred Sathal

Helene Segara as Esmeralda design by Fred Sathal

 

I really do like the design I think it’s pretty and has a fashion edge to it. Of course I do not like all the versions of the dress. I tend toward the ones where you can see the texture more and I prefer one that are not floral patterns. I think the reason why the show didn’t opt for the cliche “gypsy” look was the show was trying to go for a “modern” and less of the musical vibe: more like music video as musical in France were not popular in 1998 (they mentioned this in either the featurette or on the frequent star special). This is probably why they got Fred Sathal  do the designs. Sathal is a fashion design with costume-like POV but not a costume designer, so all the costumes are not typical musical costumes.

Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Helene Segara as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

 

As for the movement, the dress does have some movement (watch Bohemienne) and while Esmeralda is dancer as part of her character, the actresses are not cast for their dancing, so the movement of the dance factor is mute point. I mean when an Esmeralda does dance she moves her hips, spins, runs around and/or does hand movements, not exactly movements that need a flowy skirt to showoff the quality of  movement and lines (well maybe the spin do). Plus she only dances once in two hours, so the play isn’t that interested her dancing.

 

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris

 

Later in the tumble post it’s mentions that red promotional dress that was used for London cast, French cast and was used in Russian version is prettier. Problem with that dress is the color is red which is Quasimodo’s color so it does really work for the show. Unless the colors are switch ( but I prefer Esmeralda in green, red is too cliche) or the dress was made green the dress.  I wonder what that would be like…..

The Red Promotional Notre Dame de Paris in Green, Tina Arena(Esmeralda) and Garou (Quasimodo)   picture image

The Red Promotional Notre Dame de Paris in Green, Tina Arena(Esmeralda) and Garou (Quasimodo)

I like the red promotional dress, I just don’t care for the fringe, especially on the sleeves. I kind of like it in green though it’s pretty in red. Also for the record I like the second act dress too (I’m planning a lens on that too ^_~). I like flutter sleeves, cowl necklines and ruffles. Consider that the dress is a prison doesn’t make a ton of sense but when did musical have to be logical.

 

Helene Segara as Esmeralda in the Prison dress Notre Dame de Paris design Fred Sathal picture image

Helene Segara as Esmeralda in the Prison dress design Fred Sathal Notre Dame de Paris

 

Maybe another cast versions should change up the costumes a bit variety being the spice of life. But let’s hear from you what are your thoughts, people? Do like the Notre Dame de Paris Costume Style or should it opt for a more traditional musical style (whatever that means)?

Bada as Esmeralda Korean version Notre Dame de Paris  picture image

Bada as Esmeralda Korean version Notre Dame de Paris

Here is a video of Garou and Tina Arena singing Ma Maison c’est ta Maison with a chior of 2000. Enjoy

Fun Fact – Arena born in Australia and Original Esmeralda in the London Cast is based in Paris and speaks Fluent French.

 

Will Jennings picture image

Will Jennings

With the new Asian Tour cast singing Will Jenning’s english lyrics, we must ask are Jennings’ Lyrics harmful. I would yes and no. I think performing an English version in Asian countries makes level of sense. Let’s face it, English is a basic skill  in many countries, and odds that people in China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore can speak English is pretty high and this way they can appreciate the show a bit better and since these people are not native speaker they are not as bothered by  the awful lyrics.

 

Tina Arena played Esmeralda in the London Cast picture image

Tina Arena played Esmeralda in the London Cast

And now the flip-side, Yes, Will Jenning is most certainly harmful to Notre Dame de Paris. First off here’s a little trivia, the London version wasn’t doing well so they brought in Dannii Minogue in a hope of increase sales. The show didn’t last much longer and as 2001 it ended in London and has never played again. The Las Vegas cast didn’t play for very long either and have never revived. Now personally I think Las vegas was a poor choice for this show. Las Vegas is a bright colorful place and Notre Dame de Paris is a pretty minimal on sets and props, I think it might do doing better in New York City. But the show English Lyrics are laughable and I am sure that contributed to show lack of success in its English version.

 

 

Dannii Minogue also played Esmeralda in the London cast pciture image

Dannii Minogue also played Esmeralda in the London cast

The problem is you can tell Jenning rushed the translation, he tried too hard to fit the measure and not the mood. As result we get lyrics like “Out of no where came the Age of Cathedral” (Didn’t Notre Dame de Paris take over 100yrs to build?) “I was born on a road that bends”(So, not Texas? vauge statement Esmeralda) “So look no more for love, love is you.”(this line just sound stupid when sung) “I feel love awaken me, deep down in me, too strong for me.”(oh that  just laziness) “Oh Fleur-de-lys I am a man who knows no law” (I kinda like Belle in english, it’s not bad but this line is stupid, Phoebus is Law in the show or maybe he’s just bad at his chosen profession) “Free today, Flown away. Souls at bay find a way” (Free Today sounds like a local cable advert for a mattress sale- Free Today, just one day buy two on saturday and don’t pay till May (That maybe bad by no one is paying me to write lyrics), that’s just a few, go here (http://ndparis.narod.ru/eng/translations/english.html) and read for yourself, just pick  a random song, there all pretty much horrible. Most of the songs are bad- rhyming me with me, all of Anchary (it’s just stupid), He is shining like Sun and Val d’amour and trying to turn the show into Le Miserable with “My Home in Sky”, really I could on and on, but this is an interlude. (when I get to Notre Dame de Paris I’ll probably go into this more, if I’m feeling suicidal)

 

Janine Masse played Esmeralda in the Las Vegas cast picture image

Janine Masse played Esmeralda in the Las Vegas cast

The mood and emotion is why the show and the original cast are so great. And the translations just sucked it away and not even the alumni from the original cast could save it. Plus and I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that none of the performers can sing these lyrics properly they all seem breathless, mumbly and lost as they sing, which just adds to the weakness and lack of emotion. So you can’t really blame the singers.

 

 

So while I get that William Jenning has done some very lovely lyrics for popular songs “My Heart Will Go On” and my personal favorite “If We Hold On Together” from The Land Before Time, The Notre dame de Paris lyrics is not his finest work and someone should have ordered a better translation before the Asian Tour was even announced. But because of his cache that a retranslation was never done. Let hope someone, someday will look passed the name and actually listen to the English lyrics and get that retranslation that the fans deserve.

So to answer the title of this post “William Jennings Considered Harmful?”,  Yes, Yes He is!

A Dancer performing in Bohomienne in The 2011 Asian Tour of Notre Dame de Paris picture Image

A Dancer performing in Bohomienne in The 2011 Asian Tour of Notre Dame de Paris