Notre-Dame de Paris is a French-Québécois musical that debuted in Paris in September 1998. Based on novelist Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), it has been performed in more than 17 countries and in seven different languages. Even better, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Notre Dame de Paris broke the record for the most successful musical in its first year ever.
Back in high school, my French teacher spent a large chunk of the semester studying this musical, and I LOVED it, so much in fact that I bought my own copy of the DVD and downloaded all the songs on iTunes (and still listen to the songs, ten years later.)
The story is set in 1482, and although is narrated by the Poet Gringoire, tells the story of a gypsy called Esmerelda and the men whom are seduced or enchanted by her (Gringoire the poet, Phoebus the gypsy hunter, Frollo the Priest, and Quaismodo the Hunchback, and Clopin her guardian.) If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie, this is basically a sexed-up version, with a lot more singing and passion. It’s truly a beautiful piece of theatre.
This past year, news broke out that the musical was going to be revived, and I once it was confirmed that I would be staying in Europe, I knew I had to get tickets. Luckily, my friend / flatmate Leah was just as big a fan (also thanks to her high school French teacher) so we decided to splurge and go together.
In this revival, there was one original cast member (Frollo, the Priest). And although some aspects of the original can never be beat, there were certain parts of the revival I actually did prefer– most notably the actor who played Clopin. Additionally, the number “Val d’Amour” (which is a song about a brothel in the neighborhood of Saint Denis in Paris) was also interpreted differently this time around.
Overall, I loved the revival. The show is running for another month in Paris before taking its year-long tour around France. It’s supposed to come to Lille next November and I would love to relive the revival again. Now, if only Le Roi Soleil would make a comeback…
Even better, we ended the night exploring the Champs Elysée Christmas Market.
Have you ever been to see Notre Dame de Paris?