Nothing new under the Paris sky? While the cathedral which inspired Victor Hugo with the idea for his eponymous novel is in full reconstruction, the musical created by Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante has remained firmly anchored on its 1998 foundations. Next to Daniel Lavoie , the only member of the original cast to be part of the current troupe, the new performers perform with rigor, professionalism and fidelity to the original staging the 53 tunes that punctuate the show, as well as the dozens of choreographies and acrobatics which adorn it…
Curtain raises (during the dress rehearsal, November 23). In the shadow of the two disturbing monumental gargoyles which dominate the stage of the Palais des Congrès, Gian Marco Schiaretti, dressed as the poet Gringoire, intones Now is the time for cathedrals , and a shudder runs through the aisles. The nostalgic people who loved the performances of twenty-five years ago and know all the components and the very young people who attend them for the first time do not have a moment of respite. The sequences follow one another in an orgy of bright colors desired by the costume designer, Caroline Van Assche, and slightly flashy lighting effects by Alain Lortie.
The plot unfolds: it is the year of our Lord 1482, and three men are competing for the attention and affection of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda. The latter has been played since 2016 by the Lebanese actress Hiba Tawaji, semi-finalist of the TF1 show, The Voice , in 2015. Frenchman Damien Sargue plays Phœbus, quite accurately as a heartbreaking soldier. The Canadian Daniel Lavoie therefore plays with renewed maturity his irremovable role of Father Frollo, the tormented priest. As for Italian actor Angelo Del Vecchio’s Quasimodo, he is disturbingly vulnerable. Frenchwoman Alyzée Lalande, for her part, portrays a Fleur-de-Lys with a powerful voice.
The facts recounted date from the second half of the 15th century, but certain song lyrics resonate with current events, as in the one entitled Homeless , which takes us back to the debates on immigration. The choreographies by Martino Müller include, between numerous runs, jumps and somersaults, dozens of body twists which evoke the misery of beggars struggling to make ends meet, as if they were confronted with our contemporary high cost of living. In a handful of particularly rhythmic scenes, authentic anti-riot barriers fly here and there which seem to come from the demonstrations of recent months.
Especially since the soldiers of the king of the time (Charles VIII, known as “the Affable”) wear uniforms strangely reminiscent of those of the members of the controversial Brav-M (brigade for the repression of violent motorized action) during interventions muscular.
Hits that delight the public
Apart from this little music from today, the proceedings are timeless and good-natured, punctuated by paroxysmal moments during the interpretation of the hits which made the success of the musical, notably The court of miracles, Belle, You will destroy me, Be a priest and love a woman, etc. Then comes the denouement, without surprise. On November 23, for the finale, the room sang in communion with the stage a final Now is the time for cathedrals , followed by a long standing ovation. This year, as in 1998, the public clearly enjoyed the two hours offered by the actors of this beautiful family show!
What makes the musical “Notre-Dame de Paris” so successful?
- 53 songs
- More than 5,000 performances through 27 countries
- More than 15 million spectators in the world
- 19 million albums sold
- The show was translated into 8 languages