MISE À DAY
NEW YORK | Nearly 25 years after its creation, Notre-Dame de Paris >continues to conquer new audiences… and to move its co-creator Luc Plamondon. The famous lyricist could barely hold back tears during the show's first-ever New York performance last week.
Notre-Dame de Paris was presented on Broadway.
It's hot in New York. But the temperature – sticky and crushing – did nothing to slow down the traffic in Times Square, the busiest place in the Big Apple.
The dancers and acrobats of Notre-Dame de Paris gave an improvised performance in front of passers-by in Times Square.
Dancers and acrobats from the musical show Notre-Dame de Parisare warming up for an impromptu performance the day after their very first performance at the prestigious Lincoln Center. Not far from them strolls the distribution. Then, Luc Plamondon arrives.
Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante took a walk in the company of the complete cast of Notre-Dame de Paris.
Immediately, we feel the effervescence go up a notch, foamed by the aura of the lyricist. A woman apostrophes the representative of the Journal.
Luc Plamondon in the heart of New York.
“He's an important man, isn't he? I feel it ! she exclaims with 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, brings a modest smile to him. And this modesty characterizes him perfectly. Because the famous lyricist – widely considered one of the greatest of the Francophonie – is not one to seek attention or to put on a show himself.
However, his words marked their era, whether sung by Céline Dion, Ginette Reno, Robert Charlebois, Bruno Pelletier, Julien Clerc, Diane Dufresne or even Johnny Hallyday. At the height of his 80s, he could easily be jaded, accustomed to the success that has followed him for more than 50 years already.
But he is not. In interview at the Journal, he admits having had difficulty in holding back his tears, the day before, while attending the very first performance of Notre-Dame de Paris in New York, last week.
“I was very moved”, he drops, met in the lobby of Lincoln Center, on the sidelines of the media premiere on Thursday evening.
“It was moving to see Notre-Dame de Paris in this room. I have known her for 50 years; I saw operas there, I saw [Mikhail] Baryshnikov dance and I met Rudolf Nureyev here,” he continues.
“All my life”
As Notre-Dame de Paris will celebrate its 25th birthday in September 2023, everything leads us to believe that the work of Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante will continue his momentum for a long time to come, as do the Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and other The Lion King which continue to draw crowds on Broadway.
When the subject was broached in an interview, Quebec producer Paul Dupont-Hébert seized the opportunity.
“The first 25 years of a show are always the most difficult. When it exceeds this mark, it is launched for life. I do think that Notre-Dame de Paris is going to be like Les Misérables – also inspired by the work of Victor Hugo, by the way – and continue to play for a long time. It's too well established to stop, ”he says.
Angelo Del Vecchio
“As long as people come to see us, we will be there. In any case, given my age, I know that I will continue to see him all my life,” adds Luc Plamondon, laughing.
In this case, we wish him to live forever.
♦ Notre-Dame de Paris will then hit theaters in Quebec in August.
♦ Transportation and accommodation costs were provided by Tandem.
Notre-Dame de Paris, in bulk< /h3>
- The show was presented for the very first time on September 16, 1998 at the Palais des Congrès de Paris with, in the distribution, the Quebecers Bruno Pelletier (Gringoire) , Daniel Lavoie (Frollo), Garou (Quasimodo) and Luck Mervil (Clopin).
- The work of Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante has been translated into nine languages and presented in 23 countries< /strong>.
- More than 15 million spectators have applauded her around the world.
- The show is made up of 53 songs.
- Notre-Dame de Paris brings together thirty artists performing on stage every evening.
- International stars Tina Arena, Dnanii Minogue, Damien Sargue, Herbert Léonard , Lola Ponce and
Candice Parise have starred in different versions of the show.
- Apart from the cast members, the songs from the show have been covered by artists such as Céline Dion, Josh Groban, Florent Pagny and Il Divo strong>.
A well-assured succession
Quebecers Jaime Bono, Philippe Tremblay and Emma Lépine.
They are 19 and 21 years old. They are young. So young, even, that Jaime Bono, Philippe Tremblay and Emma Lépine have never known a world without Belle, Le temps des Cathédrales and other hits from Notre-Dame de Paris em>. And today they put on the clothes of Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Fleur-de-Lys on stages around the world. “The next generation is assured,” promises Luc Plamondon.
“The reputation of Notre-Dame de Paris…it's big. The show is emblematic, everyone knows it”, breathes Philippe Tremblay, met by Le Journal backstage at Lincoln Center in New York.
At 19, the native of Charlevoix thus becomes the youngest performer to slip into the skin of Quasimodo. He has been preparing for more than a year and a half for this “very, very big challenge” which he is taking up these days for the very first time as an understudy for Angelo Del Vecchio, the main interpreter of the famous ringer. bells of the cathedral.
“There is definitely a lot of pressure that comes with the role of Quasimodo; very great singers defended it with me, including Garou. It takes a long time to assimilate a character like that, to understand him well and to place my voice in his songs. But I'm ready,” he continues.
“Pressure” and “excitement”
Same story for Jaime Bono. The 19-year-old Quebecer evokes both “tremendous pressure” and “an excitement that cannot be explained in words”. After joining the troupe of Notre-Dame de Paris less than a year ago, she has already provided understudy for the characters of Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys in Seoul and Taiwan. .
If Philippe Tremblay and Jaime Bono are not on stage at each performance, Emma Lépine has been the official interpreter of Fleur-de-Lys for almost three years now. The 21-year-old singer recalls feeling “like stepping into a little piece of history” when she landed the role.
“My childhood was rocked by the songs of Starmania and Notre-Dame de Paris. It was a big dream come true when I landed the role of Fleur-de-Lys. And I'm living another one right now, performing it in New York. It was here that I realized I wanted to do musicals, coming to see Aladdin on Broadway five years ago,” says the young singer.
For the love of French
She does not hide her pride in 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, it may happen that I 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 make them resonate in their original version around the world is a great privilege”, she adds.
A story worthy of a fairy tale
To say that Jaime Bono's story is something of a fairy tale would be almost an understatement. Because it was when she met the famous lyricist, by pure chance in a restaurant in the metropolis, that she saw her destiny take the unexpected turn that would lead her to Broadway.
< p>Jaime Bono's voice rises almost an octave, driven by excitement, when we talk to him about his meeting with Luc Plamondon. And there's nothing trivial about her story.
Like in a movie
“It happened like in a movie”, lets fall 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 shivers every time I think about it,” she laughs.
The young Quebecer was not supposed to go out that night two years ago . But her parents convinced her to go and spend a family evening in a restaurant in the metropolis. Then, after dinner, Jaime Bono recognized a familiar face at the back of the establishment: that of Luc Plamondon.
“We paid for his dinner so we could talk to him for a few minutes. I was so in shock – he's been my lifelong idol! – that I even forgot to tell him that I was singing before he left,” recalls Jaime Bono.
“My mother is a very shy woman in life. But she grabbed my arm and told me I wouldn't get out of here alive if I didn't sing her a song,” she finished.
And that's what she did… Not without first grabbing – then gulping down – a glass of alcohol on a waiter's tray. Following Luc Plamondon on the sidewalk as she left the restaurant, the young woman sang I'm sick, Lara Fabian's hit, on the forecourt of the restaurant.
The memory also remains etched in Luc Plamondon's memory.
“It was perfect, it was incredible. She hit all the same notes as Lara Fabian. Three days later, she flew to Paris to replace a singer who then refused to be vaccinated. And within months, she was singing on stage in Seoul with Notre-Dame de Paris”, he explains.
Since then, the young woman has been acting as understudy for the two female characters from the spectacle Notre-Dame de Paris, namely Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys. After the New York performances, Jaime Bono will follow the troupe to New Brunswick and Quebec, where she will be performing for the first time.
“I can’t wait. It's crazy what I'm going through right now. I did not even dare to dream of it, ”she says.