NEW YORK | Almost 25 years after its inception Notre Dame of Paris continues to conquer new audiences… and move its co-creator Luc Plamondon. The celebrity lyricist struggled to hold back tears at the show’s first-ever performance in New York last week.
• Also read: Notre-Dame de Paris: Triumph on Broadway
• Also read: Notre-Dame de Paris presented in New York
Notre-Dame de Paris was presented on Broadway.
It’s hot in New York. But the temperature — stuffy and stifling — is doing nothing to slow traffic in Times Square, the busiest spot in the Big Apple.
Photo Bruno Lapointe
The dancers and acrobats from Notre-Dame de Paris gave an impromptu performance to passers-by in Times Square.
Musical show dancers and acrobats Notre Dame of Paris warm up for an impromptu performance the day after their very first performance at the prestigious Lincoln Center. Distribution strolls not far from them. Then comes Luc Plamondon.
Photo Bruno Lapointe
Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante took a stroll accompanied by the full cast of Notre-Dame de Paris.
Immediately we feel the effervescence rise a notch, churned up by the lyricist’s aura. A woman apostrophes the representative of protocol.
With kind approval
Luc Plamondon in the heart of New York.
“He’s an important man, isn’t he? I feel it ! she exclaims in a heavy New York accent. She takes a picture of it before blending back into the local jungle.
This anecdote, told to Luc Plamondon in the evening, elicits a modest smile from him. And this modesty characterizes him perfectly. Because the famous lyricist – widely regarded as one of the greatest of Francophonie – is not the type to seek attention or show off.
However, his words marked their time, whether sung by Celine Dion, Ginette Reno, Robert Charlebois, Bruno Pelletier, Julien Clerc, Diane Dufresne, or even Johnny Hallyday. From his 80-year-old height, he could be slightly jaded, used to the success that has dogged him for more than 50 years.
But he isn’t. In maintenance at protocolhe admits he struggled to hold back tears the day before while attending the very first performance of Notre Dame of Paris last week in New York.
“I was very moved,” he says, meeting in the lobby of Lincoln Center on the sidelines of Thursday night’s media premiere.
“It was moving to see Notre Dame of Paris In this room. I’ve known her for 50 years; I saw operas there, I saw dancing [Mikhail] Baryshnikov and I met Rudolf Nureyev here,” he continues.
” My whole life “
Whereas Notre Dame of Paris celebrates its 25th birthday in September 2023, everything suggests that the work of Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante will gain momentum for a long time to come, as will the Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and other The Lion King that continue to bring crowds to Broadway.
When the subject comes up in an interview, Quebec producer Paul Dupont-Hébert takes the ball.
“The first 25 years of a show are always the hardest. If it exceeds that mark, it will start for life. I think that Notre Dame of Paris will be like pathetic – also inspired by the work of Victor Hugo, by the way – and keep playing for a long time. It’s too well established to stop,” he says.
Angelo Del Vecchio
“As long as people come to us, we are there. In any case, considering my age, I know that I will continue to see him for the rest of my life,” adds Luc Plamondon with a laugh.
In this case, we wish that he lives forever.
♦ Notre Dame of Paris then appears in Quebec in August.
♦ Travel and accommodation costs were covered by Tandem.
Notre Dame of Parisbulk goods
- The show premiered on September 16, 1998 to Paris Convention Center with, in distribution, Quebecers Bruno Pelletier (Gringoire), Daniel LavoieFrollo, Garou (Quasimodo) and Lucky Mervil (Clopin).
- The work of Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante was translated nine languages and featured in 23 countries.
- More 15 million Spectators applauded her around the world.
- The show consists of 53 songs.
- Notre Dame of Paris brings together every night thirty artists move on stage.
- The international stars Tina Arena, Dnanii Minogue, Damian Sarge, Herbert Leonard, Lola Ponce and
Candice Parise have starred in various versions of the show.
- Aside from the cast, songs from the show have been covered by artists of the caliber Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Florence Pagny and Il Divo.
A sure successor
Photo Bruno Lapointe
Quebecers Jaime Bono, Philippe Tremblay and Emma Lépine.
They are 19 and 21 years old. you are young So young, in fact, that Jaime Bono, Philippe Tremblay and Emma Lépine never saw a world without them Belle, The Age of Cathedrals and other tubes from Notre Dame of Paris. And today they wear the clothes of Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Fleur-de-Lys on stages all over the world. “The offspring is secured,” promises Luc Plamondon.
“The reputation of Notre Dame of Paris…it is big. The show is emblematic, everyone knows it,” breathes Philippe Tremblay, struck by The newspaper Backstage at Lincoln Center in New York.
At 19, the Charlevoix native has become the youngest performer to follow in Quasimodo’s footsteps. For more than a year and a half he was preparing for this “very, very big challenge”, which he is facing for the first time these days as the understudy of Angelo Del Vecchio, the main interpreter of the famous bells of the Cathedral.
“The role of Quasimodo definitely comes with a lot of pressure; very great singers have defended it with me, including Garou. It takes a long time to internalize such a character, to understand him well and to place my voice in his songs. But I’m ready,” he continued.
“Pressure” and “Febrility”
Same story for Jaime Bono. The 19-year-old Quebecer evokes both “tremendous pressure” and “an excitement beyond words”. After joining the troupe of Notre Dame of Paris Less than a year ago, she already doubled the characters of Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys in Seoul and Taiwan.
When Philippe Tremblay and Jaime Bono are not on stage for each of the performances, Emma Lépine has been the official interpreter of Fleur-de-Lys for almost three years. The 21-year-old singer recalls feeling “like she was stepping into a little piece of history” when she landed the role.
“My childhood was rocked by the songs from star madness and from Notre Dame of Paris. It was a big dream come true when I got the role of Fleur-de-Lys. And I’m living in another one right now and I’m performing it in New York. It was here that I realized that I wanted to do musicals, and five years ago I came to see Aladdin on Broadway, ”says the young singer.
For the love of French
She does not hide her pride at being able to defend this role in French, both in Asia and in the United States.
“I’m from Quebec, so French is essential. Yes, I may sing in English from time to time, but I will always present myself as a singer who writes, composes and sings in French,” pleads Emma Lépine.
“And the words of Luc Plamondon are of great genius. To be able to bring them to the world in their original version is a great privilege,” she adds.
A story worthy of a fairy tale
To say that Jaime Bono’s story is like a fairy tale would be an understatement. Because when she happened to meet the famous lyricist in a metropolitan restaurant, she saw her fate take the unexpected turn that would lead her to Broadway.
Jaime Bono’s voice rises almost an octave, fueled by excitement as we discuss his meeting with Luc Plamondon. And his story is not trivial.
Like in a movie
“It happened like in a movie,” says Jaime Bono. Then she changes her mind.
“In fact, if people saw that in a movie, they wouldn’t believe it. They would say it’s too exaggerated, that it’s not believable. I get chills every time I think about it,” she laughs.
The young Quebecer wasn’t supposed to go out that night two years ago. But her parents persuaded her to spend a family night in a restaurant in the metropolis. Then, at the end of dinner, Jaime Bono recognized a familiar face at the back of the place: that of Luc Plamondon.
“We paid for his dinner so we could chat with him for a few minutes. I was so shocked – he was my lifelong idol! – that I even forgot to tell him I sang before he left,” recalls Jaime Bono.
“My mother is a very shy woman in life. But she grabbed my arm and told me that if I didn’t sing her a song, I wouldn’t get out of here alive,” she concluded.
” Perfect “
And she did… Not without first grabbing – then swallowing – a glass of alcohol from a waiter’s tray. The young woman followed Luc Plamondon on the sidewalk as he left the restaurant and sang I’m sickTube by Lara Fabian, on the forecourt of the restaurant.
The memory also remains engraved in the memory of Luc Plamondon.
“It was perfect, it was amazing. She hit the same notes as Lara Fabian. Three days later, she flew to Paris to replace a singer who subsequently refused to be vaccinated. And within months she was singing along on stage in Seoul Notre Dame of Paris “, he explains.
Since then, the young woman has provided understudy for the two female characters on the show. Notre Dame of Paris, namely Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys. After the New York performances, Jaime Bono will follow the troupe to New Brunswick and Quebec, where they will take the stage for the first time.
“I can’t wait. It’s crazy what I’m going through right now. I didn’t even dare to dream of it,” she says.