Luc Plamondon, our national pride

On the occasion of the premiere of Notre Dame of Paris this week (in French but with English subtitles) at the prestigious Lincoln Center in New York, Luc Plamondon had stage fright, that fear that never left him.

At the age of 80, the author of the songs, including the greatest texts of French popular poetry, has become a physically frail man who is still obsessed with life. By treating words like glowing gems, he demonstrates his genius.

The son of a horse dealer from Saint-Raymond de Portneuf, he never ceded the land to Joual. But neither has he despised the Quebecers who have adopted this language to express themselves. His whole life was a constant homage to the French language. Under his pen, French is a rich, vibrant, magnificent, imaginative language with many accents and expressions rooted in the Quebec soil of his childhood.

Notre Dame of Paris


Luc Plamondon has never stopped surpassing himself, fighting with vigor and at times holy wrath any attempts to belittle songwriters through nefarious exploitation. And throughout his life he rose up against the tendency to anglicize, ghettoize, in short: devalue the French language.

Luc Plamondon understood the importance of maintaining ties with all of Francophonie, especially France, where he has a pied-à-terre with a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower, that emblematic monument in the eyes of the whole world.

He deserves our admiration by remaining the respectful son of his humble but dignified parents, despite the honours, praise and recognition from around the world. He owes a debt of gratitude to Quebecers who recognized him as the creator of songs that express their sorrows, pain and hopes.

Legendary musicals like star madness and Notre Dame of Paris fleshed out his close collaboration with Michel Berger, the brilliant French musician, and Richard Cocciante, born of an Italian father and French mother, himself a lyricist but also a musician. With this, his creative genius reached its peak in composing songs like The time of the cathedrals and Nice.

Notre Dame of Paris


Luc Plamondon has written songs for the greatest French-speaking artists. From Celine Dion to Diane Dufresne, from Johnny Hallyday to Julien Clerc. Americans are discovering today Notre Dame of Paris. In the current context in the United States, are you ready to enter the universe of Victor Hugo revisited by Luc Plamondon? Millions of viewers have seen the show, and another tens of millions know the songs. Will Americans end up being a part of it?

On Thursday evening, my neighbor at the theater, originally from Kazakhstan, had traveled from Washington DC with her teenage daughter. She knew all the songs in the musical from cassettes she bought when she was young.

During the break she explained to me with her eyes in the water that her daughter was learning French and that she was proud of it. This is one of the advantages of our national Luc’s talent.

If he seems distant at times, it’s because at 80 he’s still inhabited by creative doubts. But that doesn’t stop him from being attentive to others. Yesterday three cleaners from the hotel where he is staying received tickets to the show. A dream for ladies who have never set foot in Lincoln Center. For Luc, these women undoubtedly reminded him of his aunts and cousins, whom at 80 he still admires fervently.

Premier Legault, Luc Plamondon makes us so proud to be Quebecers. In French, do we need to remind you?

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