Notre-Dame de Paris: Triumph on Broadway

NEWYORK | The Big Apple fell in love with Esmeralda. The audience applauded warmly and thanked the show with standing ovations. Notre Dame of Parispresented for the first time in New York at Lincoln Center.

• Also read: Notre-Dame de Paris presented in New York

It’s a well-oiled machine – and backed by almost 25 years of experience – currently set at the prestigious Lincoln Center, which is just a stone’s throw from Central Park and the heart of Broadway. For the occasion, local and international media gathered at the facility, where the red carpet was rolled out on Thursday evening to (finally!) present the Americans Quasimodo and Co. with great fanfare.

Thunderous applause, cheers and long ovations punctuated the evening and proved beyond a doubt that the work of Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante has stood the test with this new audience.

Important to emphasize: it is in its original version (read: in the language of Molière). Notre Dame of Paris will be presented in New York; English surtitles projected on screens on either side of the stage allow the audience to follow the action more easily.

Impeccable cast

But the eyes were visibly more on the cast than on those screens at this premiere. After all, the story remains known. Inspired by the classic work of Victor Hugo, Notre Dame of Paris takes us to 1482, when three men vie for the attention and affection of the gypsy Esmeralda.

The Court of Miracles is one of the highlights of the show.

Photo: AFP

The Court of Miracles is one of the highlights of the show.

A tale of forbidden love, betrayal and injustice unfolds in songs such as The time of the cathedrals, Homeless, The Court of Miracles and the eternal Nice.

And even after all these years, you quickly notice that these melodies have not aged and resonate just as strongly in the current production. Why ? Because today they are supported by a plaster cast that is just as flawless as it was then.

Hiba Tawaji embodies an enchanting Esmeralda.

Photo: AFP

Hiba Tawaji embodies an enchanting Esmeralda.

examples ? We are still haunted by the raspy voice of Angelo Del Vecchio, who embodies an absolutely stunning Quasimodo. Impossible to remain unmoved by his God the world is unfair and Dance my Esmeraldatwo emotional moments that sent shivers down the spines of around 2,500 spectators at the same time.

Honoring Quebecers

Quebecers aren’t short of opportunities to shine on the Big Apple stage either.

It is indeed with obvious delight to find Daniel Lavoie in the skin of Priest Frollo, a character he has sporadically carried around the planet since the show’s inception. The mastery of his instrument as his scenic alter ego is almost total and exemplary.

Musical theater veteran Yvan Pedneault also stuns beneath the features of the knight Phœbus, as does young Emma Lépine, portraying a flawless and perfectly nuanced fleur de lys.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the presence of Italian-born singer Gian Marco Schiaretti, who recently joined the line-up. Less well known on this side of the Atlantic, he turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, donning the Gringoire frock coat to offer a decidedly more suave version than his predecessors.

The good news in all of this? The Quebec public will soon be able to discover it, as he will be alternating this role with Bruno Pelletier from next month.

♦ Notre Dame of Paris runs through July 24 at Lincoln Center in New York. The show will then travel to New Brunswick and Quebec. Travel and accommodation costs were covered by Tandem.

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