Quasimodo’s comeback: Victor Hugo musical returns for second stab at UK | Theatre
Early on in Victor Hugo’s tragic novel Notre Dame de Paris, the poet Gringoire proudly presents his latest play to the public and finds it rudely rejected. In a case of life imitating art, a French musical version of Hugo’s epic – which remains better known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame – opened in London in 2000 to some of that year’s harshest reviews. The show’s brutal critical reception rested chiefly on its clunky English lyrics (translated from the French) and the use of a prerecorded backing track instead of a live orchestra. The lyricist Luc Plamondon also complained of xenophobia among the hostile reviews.
Yet the production ran for over a year in the West End’s enormous Dominion theatre, with Tina Arena and Dannii Minogue both having stints as Esmeralda. It has been a smash hit elsewhere in Europe, as well as in South Korea and Kazakhstan. Now, as part of its 20th-anniversary tour, the show is returning to London for another run, this time performed in the original French at the Coliseum, with new English surtitles, in a translation by Jeremy Sams that aims to capture the richness of Plamondon’s lyrics. This time, there will also be a live string accompaniment played alongside the prerecorded score. The show will hope to enjoy a boost from the BBC’s popular new TV adaptation of Hugo’s Les Misérables, starring Dominic West, as well as the ongoing success of Les Mis, the longest-running musical in the West End.
“We all know what happened in 2000,” says the actor Richard Charest, who plays Gringoire in the current revival and also appeared in the original London run. “The critics were really hard at that time.” Also returning from the London production is Daniel Lavoie, who again plays Frollo – the archdeacon who adopts the hunchback and, like his ward, falls for Esmeralda in Hugo’s story. “I had always dreamed of the West End,” says Lavoie. “I knew the West End was the place to do a musical in the world.” He believes British critics were “taken aback” by the style of the production. “I don’t think Notre Dame De Paris fits into the class ‘musical’. It’s more like an opera. Nothing is spoken, everything is sung from beginning to end. The story is told in singing.”The cast of Notre Dame de Paris. Photograph: Alessandro Dobici
The story is also told with a crack squad of back-flipping acrobatic dancers, who dangle from giant, swinging bells, against a stark set comprising huge slabs of stone and buttock-baring gargoyles that are wheeled around the stage. The sense given by the design is of a dystopian world rather than the panoramic view of 15th-century Paris that Hugo details with precision in the novel. But scenes involving persecuted refugees and civil unrest should strike a chord with modern-day French audiences.
Notre Dame de Paris has just concluded its third consecutive winter run at the cavernous Palais des Congrès in Paris, which seats almost 4,000 and once hosted the Eurovision song contest. This is where the production had its premiere in 1998. Composer Richard Cocciante remembers searching for potential backers in Paris and being repeatedly told “that I was crazy and it would be a disaster”. Certainly, a Quasimodo song-and-dance spectacular sounds like it could rival Springtime for Hitler, the show that is designed to be a surefire disaster in Mel Brooks’s satire The Producers.
Influenced by Italian opera and French popular song, Cocciante says he felt no affinity to the tradition of American or British musicals while creating the show. Pop and rock singers are often cast in the major roles of the production rather than classical singers. Notre Dame de Paris was released as a concept album before it was even staged; the first song that Cocciante and Plamondon wrote, Belle, sold 2.5 million copies as a single. Unusually, the lyrics were written (by Plamondon) after the music had been composed rather than vice versa. “When you compose the music first,” says Cocciante, “the impact of the music is primary.”
Charest says that when Notre Dame de Paris was first put on in 1998, there was a vogue for large-scale musicals in France: it was soon followed by a major staging of Romeo and Juliet. But he believes it is becoming more difficult to originate musicals of that scale today. He and Lavoie are now collaborating on musical projects about both the poet Rimbaud and The Elephant Man.Dominic West in the BBC’s new adaptation of Les Misérables. Photograph: BBC/Lookout Point/Robert Viglasky
According to Lavoie, Notre Dame de Paris has been “tightened and tweaked” for this revival, which uses an international cast: the Italian Angelo Del Vecchio plays Quasimodo and the Lebanese actor Hiba Tawaji stars as Esmeralda. Conductor Matthew Brind says it will prove to be a stylistic change for English National Opera when their string players perform alongside the prerecorded score. The lead actors each wear an earpiece that enables them to isolate specific elements of the score – such as the strings or wind instruments – at different times throughout the evening.
Although best known as a novelist, Hugo was an important playwright whose drama Hernani is a key text of the romantic movement and sparked riots upon its premiere in 1830, when it was renounced by classicists. His plays are still regularly performed in France but rarely in the UK. In 2016, Bristol Old Vic had a hit with The Grinning Man, a musical version of Hugo’s 1869 novel The Man Who Laughs, which transferred to the West End. But while the musical Les Misérables had a successful premiere in Paris in 1980, it is the stage version of Notre Dame de Paris that continues to ring the bells of French audiences.
‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at La Mirada features an authentically deaf Quasimodo – Orange County Register
The ringing of the bells of Notre Dame will awaken the La Mirada Theatre’s 2016-17 season with a musical production of the familiar and heartfelt story “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The innovative musical will combine Victor Hugo’s original dark tale, set in Paris during the Middle Ages, with the catchy Academy Award-nominated musical score of the 1996 animated Disney film.
The production, which has a preview performance Friday before opening Saturday and running through Oct. 9, brings many firsts to the stage, including being the only theatrical collaboration from composer Alan Menken (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin”).
The score introduces new songs to the theater as well, including “Someday,” which only played over the credits of the film.
It is also the first time the lead character Quasimodo – who is deaf in the classic Hugo novel – is being played by a deaf actor, John McGinty. The actor has performed in numerous productions, including Deaf West Theater’s “Pippin,” but he said this particular show is “breaking something in history.”
“Many people probably just assume the Hunchback is similar to Disney, but the musical actually follows closer to the book, where Quasimodo is deaf,” McGinty said. “And that really inspired me to represent the authenticity of that as a whole, and what it looks like. I want to bring more in-depth skill to that Disney part.”
McGinty worked with the production team to translate all of his songs into American Sign Language. Then he met with Dino Nicandros, who performs the singing voice of Quasimodo, to synchronize their movements and vocals by communicating through sign and body language.
“When the vocalist makes their first attempt, it is awkward at first, but we try to work with the visual cues, signing then singing, so it comes off very seamlessly,” McGinty said. “As the process goes on, I work my movements and expressions and that helps coordinate with the vocal range, and then they fit to my emotions as they sing.”
One would think pairing his acting with another person’s vocals would be the biggest challenge for McGinty, but he said the physical part of the role – including hunching over throughout the entire show – is not as trying as the emotional parts.
“There’s actually an internal struggle that’s part of the challenge, because there are so many emotions to the story and to my character,” he said. “But the director, Glenn Casale, is an extraordinary and brilliant person, and the trust I have in him just made it easier, so it’s been an amazing experience.”
Scenic designer Stephen Gifford returns to La Mirada Theatre (“Carrie: The Musical,” “Rent”) with a set that mimics the Notre Dame Cathedral, which includes the tower’s massive bells, as well as scenes in the streets of late-1400s Paris.
The story features the church official and villain Frollo, played by Mark Jacoby, who becomes enamored of the gypsy Esmeralda, played by Cassie Simone. Conflict ensues as Captain Phoebus, played by Eric Kunze, and bell ringer Quasimodo also fall in love with the gypsy, and together, they work to free her from Frollo.
The music is primarily vocals performed by an 18-member choir, which includes the ensemble. Songs will include “God Help the Outcasts,” “Top of the World,” “Heaven’s Light” and “The Court of Miracles.”
“I want the audience to come to the show with an open heart and mind, and to witness this beautiful story,” said McGinty, “This may or may not be a new experience for someone seeing a deaf actor onstage, but I want them to also witness Disney allowing a deaf actor to use sign language in their musical.”
Contact the writer: [email protected]
|i||Quasimodo||Charlie Parker Sextet||December 1949||First recording on December 17, 1947
|i||Quasimodo||The Dan Barrett Octet||1987|
|i||Quasimodo||Peter Leitch – Kirk Lightsey – Ray Drummond – Marvin “Smitty” Smith||1987|
|i||Quasimodo||The Ray Brown Trio with Ralph Moore||September 1991|
|i||Quasimodo||Steve Gilmore Plus||1993|
|i||Embraceable You/Quasimodo||Hisayuki Terai Trio||1995||Medley|
|i||Quasimodo||Bent Jædig Quartet||1996|
|i||Quasimodo||Martin Speake Ensemble||1997|
|i||Quasimodo||The Waltzer-McHenry Quartet||1997|
|i||Quasimodo||Rufus Reid – Michael Moore||1999|
|i||Quasimodo||Peter Ind – Rufus Reid||2000|
|i||Quasimodo||Christer Boustedt Quintet with Bosse Broberg||2000|
|i||Quasimodo||Stefano Battaglia Trio||2002|
|i||Quasimodo||American-Dutch All Stars||2003|
|i||Quasimodo||Marcus Printup Quartet||November 27, 2007|
|i||Quasimodo||Augusto Mancinelli Quartet ||2008|
|i||Quasimodo||Lew Del Gatto||2008|
|i||Quasimodo||The Andrew Scott Quartet meets Jon-Erik Kellso & Dan Block||2009|
|i||Quasimodo||Doug Webb, Larry Goldings, Stanley Clarke, Gerry Gibbs||2011|
|i||Quasimodo||Miles Tribut Big Band||July 28, 2015|
|i||Quasimodo||Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott||2016|
|i||Quasimodo||Sant Andreu Jazz Band||October 5, 2017|
|i||Quasimodo||P.J. Perry Quartet||2017||Live|
|i||Quasimodo||Dmitry Baevsky / Jeb Patton||September 2018|
|i||Quasimodo||Giampaolo Casati – Dino Cerruti – Rodolfo Cervetto – Andrea Pozza||September 2019|
THEATER REVIEW: Impressive ‘Hunchback’ grows darker in stage musical at Manatee Players – Entertainment & Life – Sarasota Herald-Tribune
They may not swing around as much as in the animated Disney movie, but the characters in the stage version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” put a lot of color and heart into their performances.
The musical features many of the Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz songs first heard in the hit 1996 cartoon film of the Victor Hugo novel. It tells the story of Qausimodo, a deformed hunchback who is kept hidden (supposedly for his protection from a judgmental society) in the bell tower of the Notre Dame cathedral by a pious and powerful priest.
Quasimodo, whose only friends are the church gargoyles who talk to and encourage him, decides one day to venture outside his lair on the day of the Feast of Fools, a gypsy celebration, not realizing how his decision will change lives.
The stage show is a darker version of the film, which gained humor from the antics and funny comments of the gargoyle characters. Here, they’re more serious and somber, portrayed by ensemble members wearing hooded gray coats who come to life only when Quasimodo is alone. Even Joseph P. Oshry’s lighting adds to the ominous aura of the storytelling.
Director Rick Kerby has staged a beautiful production, filled with strong voices and impressive acting, and a two-level scenic design by Ken Mooney that conveys the powerful hold of the church in 15th century France.
The cast is led by the charismatic Alexander Zickafoose as Quasimodo. As the show starts, the audience watches as he is transformed into the character. He dons a hump and a cape to cover it, bends over, smudges his face and contorts his mouth to become someone who might be repellent to most of the rest of the world. But we see his beautiful soul and his dreams of being a bit more like everyone else in his opening song “Out There,” which he sings in a radiant style.
Unfortunately, there are long stretches where Quasimodo disappears from the story and you miss him during subplots that don’t hold as much interest or become convoluted.
Once he ventures outside, he becomes captivated by the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, played with charm and sensuality by Ashley Figlow. She conveys her character’s strength and independent spirit, but also her heart and wonder in “God Help the Outcasts” and the new song “Top of the World,” which was not part of the movie.
Cory L. Woomert continues to expand his acting range as Frollo, the hypocritical priest who can never see the goodness in people and is always ready with harsh punishment for the slightest offense. He plays the role in a stern manner that suggests evil without overplaying it, particularly as he pursues Esmeralda for himself. He has competition from Brian Chunn as the cathedral’s new captain of the guard, who struggles to disobey the powerful priest’s orders when Esmeralda’s life is endangered.
The cast also includes Brian Craft, who is mischievous as the gypsy leader Clopin and David Addis as Frollo’s wayward brother. And you have to be impressed by the large ensemble who play multiple characters, from gypsies to guards to congregants and gargoyles. They’re almost constantly on stage. Their voices are embellished by a large chorus placed on two tiers like a church choir on Mooney’s set of moving wooden stairs and pews. Mooney also designed the eye-catching array of costumes.
The cast sounds strong and robust under the musical direction of Rick Bogner, who leads a five-person orchestra that sounds much larger.
The set also includes a series of large bells that hang from the rafters. It would be nice if they swung when Quasimodo rings them.
Aside from a colorful Feast of Fools scene, Peter Parnell’s book focuses mostly on somber moments, while a little more levity could make the characters more endearing. And many of the songs, like “The Bells of Notre Dame” and “Sanctuary” are repeated several times, turning them into recurring themes that can become tiresome by the end.
But it is mostly an impressive production that might be a little dark for the youngest children, but takes the familiar into directions that become something new.
Silent Quasimodo, live music – Baltimore Sun
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), starring Lon Chaney, Hollywood’s first master horror star, as the unfortunate bell-ringer Quasimodo, whose love for the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda leads to tragic consequences for almost everyone involved, will be shown with live musical accompaniment Sunday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1900 St. Paul St. Music will be provided by the Baltimore Opera Company’s James Harp, organist and choirmaster at the church. Showtime is 2 p.m., and admission is free. Information: 410-752-5804.
Experimental Hitchcock flick
The Charles Theatre’s 25-film Alfred Hitchcock retrospective continues this weekend with Oscar-nominated Lifeboat (1944). Four years into his American period, the British-born director opted to try an experiment in film staging: The entire 96-minute movie is set on a lifeboat adrift in the North Atlantic, after an attack by a German U-boat. Among the survivors are a newspaper columnist (Tallulah Bankhead), the ship’s radio operator (Hume Cronyn) and engineer (John Hodiak), a millionaire (Henry Hull) and a hysterical mother (Heather Angel), who refuses to let go of the body of her dead baby. Oh, yes, there’s also the commander of the German U-boat (Walter Slezak). Showtime at the theater, 1711 N. Charles St., is noon tomorrow, with encores set for 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $6 tomorrow, $8 other times. Information: 410-727-3456 or thecharles.com.
Verdi on the big screen
A series of renowned operas filmed at the famous La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy, continues Wednesday at the Charles, 1711 N. Charles St., with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, the story of a Parisian courtesan tragically felled by consumption. Showtimes are 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, with an encore screening set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Tickets are $21. Information: thecharles.com or 410-727-3456.
Pratt library screening
Charles Burnett’s My Brother’s Wedding (1983), the story of warring brothers from Watts – one an upwardly mobile lawyer, the other deeply resentful of his brother’s success – will be shown tomorrow at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St. Showtime is 2 p.m. in the library’s Wheeler Auditorium, and admission is free. Information: 410-396-5430 or prattlibrary.org/calendar.
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, director Melvin Van Peebles’ groundbreaking 1971 film, one of the first directed squarely at the black community and the impetus for the blaxploitation genre, will be shown Thursday at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $7; $5 for students, alliance members and Friends of the Festival members. Information: 410-276-1651 or creativealliance.org.
The Maryland Film Festival’s Spring Film Series continues Tuesday with Off the Grid, from directors Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg. The 2007 documentary chronicles a loose-knit community of radicals and loners who live by their own rules in a desert location 25 miles from the nearest town. Jeremy Stulberg will present the film and answer questions. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. in Falvey Hall at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Brown Center, 1301 Mount Royal Ave. Admission is $10, free to Friends of the Festival members and MICA students, faculty and staff. Information: 410-752-8083 or mdfilm fest.com.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame movie review (1996)
The cathedral itself is a character in the film, with its rows of stone saints and church fathers, and its limitless vaults of shadows and mystery.
Quasimodo moves through its upper reaches like a child on a jungle gym, and there are scary sequences in which he and his friends risk dashing their brains out on the stones below. The thing that animation can do better than any other film form is show human movement freed from the laws of gravity, and as Quasi clambers up and down the stone walls of Notre Dame, the camera swoops freely along with him, creating dizzying perspectives and exhilarating movement.
The buried story of the film–the lesson some younger viewers may learn for the first time–is that there is room in the world for many different kinds of people, for hunchbacks and gypsies as well as for those who scornfully consider themselves the norm. Judge Frollo wants to rid Paris of its gypsies, and assigns Phoebus to lead the genocide, but the captain instinctively feels this cannot be right. And when he meets Esmeralda, gypsies suddenly gain a human face for him, and he changes sides.
As for Quasimodo, who has lived so long in isolation, there is a kind of release in discovering the gypsies (“Were you once an outcast, too?”). He understands that he is not unique in being shunned, that the need to create outsiders is a weakness of human nature.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, is a high point in the renaissance of Disney animation that began in 1989 with “The Little Mermaid.” It blends Menken’s songs, glorious animation, boundless energy and the real substance of the story into a movie of heart andjoy. More than “Aladdin” or “The Lion King,” certainly more than “Pocahontas,” it is as good for its story and message as for its animation. It reminds us, as all good animation does, that somehow these cartoons of lines and colors and movements can create a kind of life that is more archetypal, more liberating, than images that are weighed down by human bodies and the gravity that traps them.90,000 NON-RETURN OF QUASIMODO – Official site of the group Dancing Minus
Vyacheslav Petkun, a brutal romantic hero of the former rockapop, spent five years, as they say, on a musical oven. Others snatched ruddy cakes out of it, which flew like hot cakes, even with a faded filling. Vyacheslav Borisovich watched what was happening. He never played in musicals, left Quasimodo, whose tragic role became, you know, a twist of fate.
Having finished a new album by the spring, Petkun first of all released “Not Belle” or Antibel – a funny, but not painless song, after which everyone supposedly should immediately forget that the rock hero once had anything to do with sensual musicals.He shot a video near a real Notre Dame, in the city of Paris, where he wanders with a costumed hunchback (his understudy, by the way, for the legendary performance) … And dissolves in it. Or it dissolves in itself. To move on.
– So you had a period of deep stagnation, now a period of activation has come. He unfurled his battle banners … You go to radio stations, you deliver new songs yourself. In general – the return of Quasimodo happened!
– The challenge is just to finish with the Quasimodo theme forever! The video was filmed with such a message.I’m not saying I regret playing the part of Quasimodo. On the contrary, it gave me a lot: in the human, and in the artistic, and in the musical, and in the vocal sense. But I am experiencing an overload of sensations from the outside about the musical “Notre Dame de Paris” itself. As if I invented it myself, wrote the music, was the director, played all the roles, and also danced. And I don’t like it at all.
– So many people still perceive you only as a performer of the role of a touching and tragic bell ringer-hunchback?
– Those who are far from the music of “Dances minus”.For them, the role of Quasimodo is the peak of my creative career. And Petkun is the person who sang Bel.
– Well, now you sang “Not Belle” especially for them.
– I woke up early in the morning, I was in a very good mood, the summer sun was shining … And I wrote a song with some irony … And then I realized that it can be used as a provocation – because it is very funny. Well, someone will accuse me of opportunism, someone will admire my self-irony, but they will talk about this song. And I achieved my goal: they really started talking.Those who are interesting to me.
– You wander in a video with a friend of Quasimodo in Paris: Notre Dame, Montmartre, bridges over the Seine … Do you feel this city itself?
– I always treated him like Moscow: a stupid heap of everything and everyone. But this time I realized that I was very wrong. The city is very beautiful, and I want to return to it. Like Rome and London are my favorite cities.
– I wrote the album for a very long time: almost five years … Citizens fans could have forgotten about you.
– I wrote it down for a long time.And it was written as the songs arrived.
– Who are your sound producers?
– We never have sound producers, but in this case Ivan Evdokimov was the sound designer. With whom we wrote both “Losing a Shadow” and “Flora and Fauna”. Garik Sukachev, for example, records only with him stably, over the course of many years.
– Garik Sukachev cannot be called an artist constantly opening new horizons.
– Horizons of what?
– Musical texture never mattered to me.The main creative is the song itself. The presence of melodies, the correspondence of the artist to the music he makes … And the style in general never worried me.
– So you shouldn’t expect any fundamental musical revelations from your new album either?
– Why … First of all, a lot of well-known session musicians took part in the recording. Then, after all, new songs are already something new in themselves, aren’t they?
– Well, yes. Only sometimes this new one sounds like an old, worn-out record for a long time… With some Russian musicians, you know, it happens.
– Does Depeche Mode sound like that to you? How do you see the musical difference between their latest and penultimate albums?
– Hmm … Yes in everything! Completely different music, presentation and energy of the records. For me Exiter is a “lost” album and “Playing the Angel” is a huge movement.
– And for me, on the contrary … How many people – so many opinions. As for us: we never tried to surprise anyone with some new sound and never surprised.When our most successful album “Flora and Fauna” was released, there was nothing new in it either. We played an acoustic guitar to a badly recorded kick drum – and everyone said: Britpop! Nothing of the kind! It is important to me what is in my head, and not what someone thinks. Self-satisfaction is important to me. Now I can feel it. I’m interested in the song “Not Belle”, I smile when I listen to people’s reactions to it. It all amuses me. But the phrases “the group“ Dances minus ”returned” are strange to me, because I do not think that we have disappeared somewhere at all.We played concerts, participated in various festivals. We didn’t release albums because at some point I got sick of feeding the same pirates. That other musicians, apparently, do not get too much. But not a single artist knows exactly how many of his albums have actually been printed and sold. Due to rampant piracy, it is impossible to control distribution. This mess in the market is very annoying. Plus, today’s market doesn’t need people like me. With independent “resources”. And my unwillingness to go to bed with someone since childhood.
– Are you trying to be devoured by corporations?
– They constantly make some kind of suggestions.
– Now political forces are very eager to engage rock musicians in every way. Even odious production centers are specially created for this.
– They all go with their production centers! Never any centers and no fucking producers could come up with either Viktor Tsoi, or Mike Naumenko, or the same Yuri Shevchuk, or Fedya Chistyakov, or Leonid Fedorov, or everyone else! The producer cannot come up with this, because it is a natural phenomenon.Either it happens on its own, just like that, or it doesn’t. And no producer has anything to do with it. Therefore, no matter how you create some kind of centers there, it will still be bullshit, an empty shell, behind which there is nothing. I will never stand under any flags, I will never surrender with giblets to any record company or any media group, and I will always do as I see fit. And I’m actually very happy with everything that’s going on.
– So a new time has come for you too?
– I changed my relationship with my time.I began to pay more attention to my minutes and hours. I began to live much more densely.
As for the newfangles … I don’t need fashion for the sake of fashion. I like the band IAMX, and I would love to go to their concerts when they arrive. I like the opera “Rigoletto”, I will listen to it with pleasure at La Scala. But I don’t have to make such music myself.
– Well, what about the desire for some kind of experiment? Just step aside to try something different?
– I like people who are in this state.But personally, I’m not going to accelerate myself to the state of a person who is looking for a new experience, because my life suits me perfectly. And I have something to fight with. Both inside and outside. I am not a fish in an aquarium that has been thrown with food, and now it eats it. I swim in the same muddy water as everyone else.
Leading – Kapitolina BUSINESS
“No girl can say no to me, HELLO! Russia
People know you mainly because of the musical Notre Dame de Paris.”On the last album, you turned to soul, black music from the 1970s. Why?
This is my life before Notre Dame – music that I listened to for a very, very long time. In general, when the author of “Notre Dame” Luc Piedmont offered me the role of Quasimodo, I was very surprised. I had a completely different background, I played rock, blues, soul in clubs. And now they want to make such a suffering freak out of me on stage – I just didn’t believe in it. The irony of life is that that musical became the pinnacle of my career, but I am very pleased to return to my roots, the music that I have always loved.
Can you single out any of your specific favorite soul singers?
I love almost everyone! Ray Charles is just a god for me, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gay are also at the top of the list.
Many people still have a prejudice against whites who try to play black music. There was even such a dismissive term – “blue-eyed soul”.
For me such a problem has never been, I am even pleased when they come up to me and say: you sing these songs like a real black motherfucker.
In one of your interviews you said that in your youth you were embarrassed when communicating with women. Why?
So it was. But then fame came and everything changed at once. It’s funny, but I thought for so many years that no girl could want me. It probably sounds strange, but after a while I had the opposite thought: no girl is able to say no to me. It’s just the perception of yourself, that’s all.
A question that will probably accompany you all your life: will you never marry?
For me, marriage is not a very important word, unlike the word “love”.Now I have a girlfriend, we are happy and do not think about it.
Your daughter Emelya will turn 18 this year. What kind of relationship do you have, do you have enough time to see each other with your busy schedule?
Even when I’m on tour, we call each other via video chat. Now, thank God, there are opportunities to be close when you are far from each other. I am very proud of her and at the same time a little afraid for her. Not because she is 18, but this is a difficult age and all that. But because she is more and more interested in music – this has not happened before, and I feel a little uneasy.
But why? Don’t you want her to follow in your footsteps and become a star?
My father dreamed of making music, but he never did. He said that music should be a hobby, you can’t make a living with it. I proved to him that he was wrong. But I would not want my daughter to prove him right (laughs). In fact, this is a very difficult path. But I always acted instinctively, and I think she inherited this from me.
Pierre Garan, better known as Garou, is a French-Canadian musician who became famous for his role as Quasimodo in the musical Notre Dame de Paris in 1998
You are 47.Are you familiar with the term “midlife crisis”?
I think I’ve experienced this in the past. Time is so fickle, to be honest. In some ways I feel like a child, a teenager … If there is anything worth worrying about, it is about health, because as a rule, you do not become healthier with age. And the midlife crisis doesn’t bother me.
How do you see your future? On stage or off stage?
Honestly, I’m enjoying it already. Now I don’t have to work as hard as I used to.I spend more time in my garden, on my site. I am not pushing my career uphill, for me it is much more important to lead a balanced life in which there are several different projects. But I think that the music will be with me until the end. I see myself at 65, performing in a small piano bar – that would be great!
Where is your garden? What are you doing there?
This place is called Eastern Townships in Canada, an hour’s drive from Montreal. These are very beautiful places, I love to invite my friends there, to walk with them in the woods.I know it will sound strange, but I’m going to make maple syrup when I get back from the tour. Well, a lot of other things: trim trees, make paths. It would be great to come up with some kind of project to lure tourists there.
Share with HELLO! your unfulfilled dream.
More adventure wanted! For example, I really enjoy scuba diving, the last time I did it in Mexico and it was amazing. I travel a lot, I was on the Amazon not so long ago, and I come to the fact that I enjoy being in nature more and more.This is some kind of separate universe for me. Just as I love the forests and lakes of Canada, I would like to discover as many new beautiful places on the planet as possible.
Interviewed by Daria Egorova
… And the great pain of Quasimodo – VSP.RU
Having made the Cathedral itself the protagonist of the play, its authors – S. Kuryaninov, choreographer, and N. Mikhailov, production designer, both from Krasnoyarsk, melted the motifs from the decorative sphere to the plastic one.Of course, to the extent that C. Puni’s music allows. There is a lot of melodious lyricism in it, the melody is often enlightened by love sorrow (after all, the first version of the ballet is named after the heroine – “Esmeralda”). Conductor-director – chief conductor of the theater N. Silvestrov.
Music for directors is the “ground”, touching which, so to speak, they soar in their fantasies. The libretto (S. Drechin, E. Lysik) is rebuilt in such a way that the context of the characters, their role weight is different from the canonical Esmeralda.Since the “key” character of Quasimodo is the bell ringer, and C. Puni has magnificent brass chords in the orchestra, imitating bell ringing.
The general scenic image of the production (on the supercurtain separating the picture from the picture, and on the final “backdrop”) is shown by spherical domes of bells in a sharp angle, with heavy “tongues”. Nothing ominous twilight in the color scheme, perhaps – from the temple, amusing the eyes of stained glass windows in the Gothic. The graphic nature is from the constructivism of the 1920s, plus the “childishness” (primitivism) of the vision of the world perspective.In short, no shock horrors.
And the bell ringer Quasimodo is not some kind of horror movie, not a hunchback, well, he is lame, an invalid, a cripple, which, however, does not prevent him from soaring up sometimes in such air battles and virtuoso antrash. I “in working order” called Quasimodo the enchanted prince … But more about him later.
Ts. Puni’s music is all danceable, traditional (although a certain scale of symphony is inherent in it). The choreographic language of S. Kuryaninov is also traditional. Carnival folk scenes are good.Or – a palace episode, where the “antique” pantomime is so elegantly ironic … But the audience’s perception-impression “hellish” in this ballet is abruptly “plowed”, the “chimerical” accents of the action ram the soul. Where music and scenography are fused together, the beam mosaic of the projectors (the light masters are the artists G. Melnik and A. Tarasov) and the plastic-spontaneous mass of the corps de ballet rotate, interacting. In scenes of ominous pathos – the trial of Esmeralda (ritually downright “Ku Klux Klan”), burning her at the stake with her mother (a round dance of hands with tongues of flame closes over the heads of the victims).And especially – “Savanarolova” sermon by Claude, the archdeacon, about God’s punishment for sins.
But he, Claude, is the main apostate, one of the chimeras of the Cathedral secretly embodied in him. For this part, the choreographer composed adequate plastic. And it, like every role in general, must be assessed with a specific performer. How the choreographic score was “tried on” the artists well known to the lovers of the Irkutsk ballet, how it was revealed “through them” and by them.
Yuri Shcherbotkin is a dancer, one might say, grotesque (what is his Stepmother worth in “Cinderella”!).And Claude is such a fiend of hell (albeit a clergyman) … And in the nature of the artist – all this “automatism” of the barbed graphics of movements, sharp corners, chopping attacks, a gesture that a blow of a whip (and a wound – not only to the enemy, but also to self-torture) …
His, one might say, antipode – Phoebus, an officer represented by Sergei Polukhin – is harmlessly “positive”, and this is a detriment to art. In Hugo’s work, Phoebus (Apollo, Sun) is handsome and stupid, good-natured and self-satisfied, like any bright, healthy, young … Maybe “psychologism” is not for ballet, but the choreographer did not escape the “flatness” of the image here, when it is beautiful and fresh.Phoebus’s duets with Esmeralda are too familiar, almost a common place, this love is not fraught with vulnerability for the heroine. Another thing S. Polukhin and Tatyana Sadova – “Queen of the night”, secular “players” at the ball. In the light parodic “puppetry” of the etiquette, there is something non-trivial, a paradoxical sensuality, if not a living feeling under the mask. This whole scene-picture is so ingeniously worked out. And the ballerina is stylish here (something from Odile’s Black Swan from Swan Lake.
But if with Phoebus the choreographer could demand from the librettists the “volume and bottom” of the image, then when “our miracle” appears on the stage, the prima, the favorite of Irkutsk balletomanes Maria Strelchenko, in this Esmeralda there is so much familiar and always expected charm, charm that you forget: what about Hugo?
Strelchenko always has that artistic self-sufficiency, which dictates the image, dancing almost any “text”.This Esmeralda cannot and should not cause pity: they say, a beggar, a gypsy child, an outcast, dances for fun “for the sake of bread”, amusing the rabble. And how he suffers! Yes, “suffers”, yes, in rags, in a dungeon, sentenced to a fire, and so on. But Gudula, Esmeralda’s mother, took on all the “Hugo”, sentimental sentimentality, played in the rhythms of a temperamental melodrama by Marina Demyanenko (the embodiment of “all torment” is her “monologue” in the prologue). And the heroine of Maria Strelchenko seems ingeniously crystalline, so to speak, “out of society”, not a “captive of the Cathedral”, but a daydream, a “material” sylph – a spirit over the crowd and time.
The bell ringer was supposed to be performed by our magnificent dancer, virtuoso of plastics Vyacheslav Gladkikh. Alas, two weeks before the premiere, the artist suffered an injury. Our expectation of the “event” will continue for some time … And I am almost sure that the hero V. Gladkikh, already living in his soul and practicing technically, will amaze with his originality: a very dramatically winning (which is not often in ballet) role.
And at the first premiere performance of “Cathedral …” there was … a sensation: the part of Quasimodo played the unknown Alexander Kabargin.From the corps de ballet, a recent graduate of the Ulan-Ude School, 19 years old. He learned the role, they say, in 2 days – with the help, of course, of assistants to the choreographer M. Demyanenko, A. Rostova, T. Alekseeva (they generally brought the performance to the premiere, because the choreographer fell ill and the last rehearsals were conducted without him).
Tall and slender, fine figure, strikingly handsome. Wide, flying jump. Steadfast spinning. Precise fixation of the fit. In many elements of technique there is no apprenticeship, the dancer is not strained in them, organic, confident.But the decisive factor in his stage appearance, perhaps a little more sketchy, is the “Apollonian” masculinity and youthful grace. And this is Quasimodo? .. Yes! The exaggeration of ugliness is alien to ballet. Enough tactful hints of “quasi-fashion” (stooped posture, dragging leg, “boulder” position, etc.) – the audience will finish the rest. But dance is the flight of the soul. The one who is deprived of nature has an ardent heart, spiritual talent and much more than, say, the handsome Phoebus, the poetry of the imagination. This is something in the dance and splashes out! And such an “interpretation” is easily and somehow even graciously “read” from the image outlined by A.Kabargin. Time, experience will help him hone his technique to brilliance, as well as discover something of his own, personal in the hero’s being.
Yes, the epilogue of Notre Dame Cathedral is a monologue of Quasimodo, who, in despair from the death of his poetic dream, rushes about on a subcloud tower, as if at the peak of the cathedral ridge hangs on ropes, swings the bell tongues, splashing out or hammering into the “world “The alarm will sound its great pain.
In the photo: a scene from the ballet (Esmeralda – Maria Strelchenko, Phoebus – Sergei Polukhin)
Photo by Igor SIROKHIN90,000 The musical “Notre-Dame de Paris” turns 20! / “Music Hall” / Radio station “Radio Russia”
Hello! With you Mikhail Predtechensky!
In recent years, the Russian public has seen many musicals, including world famous ones! “Cats”, “Mamma Mia”, “Chicago”, “42nd Street”, “We will rock you”, “Romeo and Juliet” … Some, alas, ingloriously left the Russian stage, others enjoyed great success.
However, and no one doubts this, the most beloved foreign musical for the Russian public is still “ Notre – Dame de Paris “, which appeared in Russia in 2002. September 18 marks exactly 20 years since the Paris premiere of this musical by Riccardo Cocciante and Luc Plamondon . And this is another reason to remember this wonderful performance.
Cathedrals time stopped
And the barbarians stand at the walls
Hope the sun went down
It’s time for a change
Everything goes to death and the last judgment
Predicted in the year two thousand …
The troubadour and the poet Gregoire sang about this at the premiere of the musical “ Notre – Dame de Paris” at the Palais des Congrès two years before the new millennium.Fortunately, everything worked out!
Victor Hugo, as you know, conceived his famous novel about the beautiful gypsy woman Esmeralda and the ugly bell ringer Quasimodo, walking around the cathedral with his friends: sculptor David d’Ange and artist Eugene Delacroix.
The concept of Notre Dame Cathedral was conceived in less romantic circumstances. Canadian poet Luc Plamondon in search of a new plot just leafed through the literary encyclopedia and stopped at the letter “K” – Quasimodo! After rereading Hugo’s novel, the poet wrote the lyrics.Then Plamondon and producer Charles Talard were introduced to the Franco-Italian composer Riccardo Cocciante .
Once Plamondon was visiting Cocciante and he, as usual, played him the melodies he had recently composed. One of them attracted the attention of Plamondon . “What is this?” He asked. “Yes, so, I wrote the music, but I haven’t come up with the words yet,” Cocciante replied. “The lyrics are already there. This song will be called Belle.”This is how the main hit of the musical “ Notre – Dame de Paris” appeared.
When the audience heard the trio of Frollo, Phoebe and Quasimodo “Belle” (and the song was released on the CD long before the premiere) it became clear: there will be a tremendous success. By the way, this melody was recognized as the most popular in France over the past 50 years. Tickets for the yet unreleased performance were sold out 6 months in advance – a record included in the Guinness Book. In general, the work on the musical took 3 years.It was staged by the famous avant-garde director Gilles Mayo. Everything was at a high level: costumes, scenography, lighting. And, of course, the already famous actors – Bruno Peletier – Gregoire, Daniel Lavoie-Frollo, and debutants Helen Segara – Esmeralda, Patrick Fiori – Phoebus and Garou – Quasimodo.
It is said that this role Riccardo Cocciante initially wanted to play himself. He could hardly be dissuaded. So the Canadian singer and former grape picker Pierre Garan – aka Garou – was approved for the role of Quasimodo.
The premiere of “Notre Dame de Paris” was a huge success on 18 September 1998 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.
After the Paris premiere, the play began its triumphant march across Europe. In May 2002, the Russian premiere took place at the Moscow Operetta Theater. Notre Dame Cathedral became the first musical in Russia, which brought its producers – Alexander Weinstein, Katerina Gechmen-Waldeck and Vladimir Tartakovsky – not losses, but profits. The $ 4 million performance earned 15.Well, the song “Belle” became “Russian folk”. This musical in Russia was 100% hit with the audience. Romance, love, the famous Hugo plot and beautiful melodic music – a real French chanson. The directors also tried: a successful translation of Julia Kim and Susanna Tsiryuk , excellent young actors and musicians – Anton Makarsky, Vyacheslav Petkun, Anastasia Stotskaya, Alexander Marakulin, Svetlana Svetikova and Teona Dolnikova as Esmeralda .
By the way, the French themselves recognized the Moscow performance as the best foreign version of the musical.In general, the story with “ Notre – Dame de Paris” most clearly illustrates such a concept as differences in national characters. The musical was a huge success in almost all of Europe.
But, as you know, the directors of any musical dream of success in the two capitals of this genre – London and New York.
In 2000, the play was staged in London’s West End and failed. A circumstance that personally shocks me. Indeed, for years in the British capital, musicals have been successfully running, which are not suitable for holding a candle “Notre – Dame de Paris” .What’s the matter here? Last year, Canadian performer of the role of Cavzimodo Matt Laurent came to Moscow this time with the English version of “Notre Dame de Paris”. He knows British and American show business very well. He played the role of Cavzimodo in London and I just couldn’t help but ask him what was the matter. Envy and intrigue did their job. However, London is not a decree for us, just like New York, where the performance did not go at all.
The American producers found Victor Hugo’s plot boring, and the magnificent melodic music Riccardo Cocciante – monotonous.“Who is this ugly Kavzimodo anyway?” An influential Broadway producer asked the musical directors. Comments are superfluous!
However, all this does not at all implore the merits of this magnificent performance.
Musicals are, first of all, show business. The audience demands new shows all the time. After “Notre Dame de Paris” from Riccardo Cocciante and Luc Plamondon were waiting for another masterpiece. But the authors proved that success, alas, is no less a test than failure.They simply did not share the money, quarreled and no longer worked together.
According to many critics, works such as “Notre – Dame de Paris” are written once in a lifetime. Neither Cocciante nor Plamondon will ever reach more such peaks.
Well, in Russia the life of the performance continues. Over the years “Notre – Dame de Paris” came to us on tour many times. With both the classic French version and the English version.Not to mention the fact that Garou, Bruno Peletier and Patrick Fiori tour here every year. So in November, “Notre Dame” again comes to us in its golden composition. They say that it will be the last time. Although, given the love of the Russian public for this musical, this is hard to believe.
And one more thing … They constantly talk about the revival of the Russian version “Notre – Dame de Paris” . I am sure that success awaits her again. And no matter what they say in London and New York, “ Notre – Dame de Paris”, by all appearances, is the best world musical in the last two decades.
Until next week and next musical!
Program Track List :
1. “Le Temps des Cathedrales”.
5. “Ma maison c’est ta maison”.
6. “Dance mon Esmeralda”.90,000 Not the one with a hump, but the one who is sexy
The long-awaited musical Notre Dame de Paris will premiere soon.And on the eve, tens of kilometers from the capital, a commercial for the future musical was filmed. The lead role of the clip (as well as of the future musical) was played by the leader of the group “Dances minus” Vyacheslav Petkun. He will play the ugly hunchback Quasimodo. It is noteworthy that earlier Petkunu was repeatedly offered to participate in musicals. In the “Metro” and with a stick, and carrots, they called out, but Petkun was steadfast, answered everyone with a decisive “no”. But for the sake of the role, Quasimodo unexpectedly agreed. – The role of Quasimodo is close to me, because he is a kind of humpbacked anti-sex symbol, – Vyacheslav himself explained the decision to wear a hump.- In this case, I like the music, the role itself, and the ideology of the musical in general. The opinion of Masha GABBANOVA, the fashion designer on duty at “KP”: – Glory in a new image is unusually attractive. I think that after his Quasimodo the girls will not give him life: Petkun is such a sweetheart with a hump! The male calculation is also clearly traced. After all, earlier in musical circles everyone tried to call him the illegitimate son of Andrei Makarevich: the external resemblance to the host of the “Smak” program was impossible not to notice. It is gratifying that now Vyacheslav, albeit in such an unusual way, will be able to find his true face, unlike any other figure in Russian show business. Have you heard the cops sing? Last week, one of the most avant-garde Moscow theaters – Helikon-Opera – accepted birthday greetings For the first time in my life, when I got to the Bolshoi Theater, I fell asleep on Eugene Onegin. It happened in the first year of the university. The night before, I worked like an ox at a vegetable warehouse to earn a ticket in the third row of the mezzanine. And either fatigue affected, or the academic performance itself was conducive to a sweet slumber, but I zakemaril in the most shameful way already in the middle of the first act.I woke up from my own snoring and rather thin applause. The neighbors who were sitting nearby pretended not to notice anything. Or maybe they also followed my example? This incident for a long time discouraged me from going to the opera. And now, more than twenty years later, I again ended up on “Eugene Onegin” – this time staged by the “Helikon-opera”. They dragged me there, one might say, by force. The consequences turned out to be unpredictable: in the last month alone, I three times (!) Of my own free will (!) Attended the opera performances of this theater.Although, it would seem, what has changed? The same music, the same libretto, the same heroes … But at the same time – a tightly wound spring of theatrical action, fresh young voices (I remember how Tatiana Larina, obviously of pre-retirement age, confused me at the Bolshoi). And the most important thing is the modernity and timeliness of the production, a direct reference to the present day, where people also love, suffer and die. Although in terms of modernizing classical performances, in my opinion, there are too many attempts – it is not for nothing that Helikon-Opera is considered one of the most avant-garde theaters in the capital.Have you heard how the cops sing in the opera? And in “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” a sergeant, a sergeant and a policeman in today’s cop uniform appear on the stage and perform their parts to the trill of police whistles! Probably, other spectators could present their own claims to the theater.