Notre Dame de Paris coming to Quebec – August 2018

Notre Dame de Paris coming to Quebec – August 2018

By Job Patstone

Wednesday November 1st we were invited to a promotional presentation for the new production of one of Quebec’s most famous and most successful musicals, Notre Dame de Paris.

This version of Victor Hugo’s play, with music written by Richard (Riccardo) Coccianti and lyrics by Luc Plamondon, has been running for 20 years and is still going strong in Europe.

The play has been to fifteen different countries and is currently playing in France and Poland with four different theater groups performing all at the same time.

Over the years the play has taken on a more international flavour but has kept its original music and choreography and has been translated from French into eight languages including English, Russian and Italian, to name but a few.

The musical got its start in France (Paris) in 1998, and has entertained approximately 7.7 million theater goers around the world since its first ‘premiere’ 20 years ago.

The music is fabulous with pieces like ‘Belle’ and ‘Temps des Cathédrales’ selling over 2.5 million CD’s and the DVD of the play itself selling over 1.3 million copies making it second only to the ‘Titanic’ in the number of copies sold around the world.

The reason for our ‘happy hour’ invitation on the stage of the Grand Théatre here in Quebec City was to announce that the play is coming back to Canada after a 17 year absence. It will be playing in four cities in Quebec with two other shows in Ottawa and Toronto. With the impressive credentials backing it, it’s an occasion you don’t want to miss.

The cast for the new Canadian production includes some veterans, but consists mostly of a new batch of younger artists, three of whom entertained us during our short visit with the production crew which included Luc Plamondon and M. Coccianti, with the latter accompanying them on piano.

First up was Hiba Tawaji, who plays the role of Esmeralda. Hiba enthralled us with three songs from her role in the play.

Second on stage was Angelo Del Vecchio who plays the role of Quasimodo. Angelo, who can play his part in three different languages, sang two songs plus a duet with Hiba in his deep and penetrating voice which tempted us to ask for more.

Our final glimpse of what it will be like was a young singer from Trois Rivières, Québec. Valérie Carpentier plays the role of Fleur de Lys and has already made a name for herself with two CD’s on the market and a third on the way. Valérie sang two songs from her role, her first ever on stage, and has a strong and vibrant voice.

The rest of the cast consists of Daniel Lavoie, a well known Manitoban born Francophone  with several awards to his credit in the role of Frollo, Richard Charest in the role of Gringoire, Martin Giroux as Phoebus, and a Frenchman who goes by the name of Jay playing the part of Clopin.

All these artists have a solid experience on stage and are pleased to have been chosen to take part in this rendition of Notre Dame de Paris.

I asked one of the production staff, Alain Lortie if the play had any resemblance to ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ to which he answered “No, it follows the tradition of the original play written by Victor Hugo.” Obviously, we shouldn’t confuse the two.

Other names in the production are, Gilles Maheu, stage director, Martino Müller choreographer, Christian Ratz set decor, with Alain Lortie looking after lighting and Fred Sathal and Caroline Villette Van Assche teaming up to create the original costumes, and wardrobe duties.

Notre Dame de Paris will be playing in Quebec City at the Grand Théatre, starting  August 11 and running until the 18th 2018. Tickets are already on sale at www.billtech or at 418 8131.

There will also be presentations later in Montreal, Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke, and Ottawa.

“Belle, Is the only word I know that suits her well”      “Bella, La parola ‘Bella’ è nata insieme a lei”

“Belle, C’est un mot qu’on dirait inventé pour elle”

Categories: Arts & Culture, Reviews

About Author

Job Patstone

Job Patstone was born in Hamilton, ON. and has lived in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer AB. He is presently living in Quebec City, with his wife. He worked for Xerox for 26 years and was an ESL teacher for another ten.

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