Music: Maurice Jarre
Libretto: Roland Petit after Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name
Choreography: Roland Petit
Scenery: René Allio
Costumes: Yves Saint Laurent
Lighting: Jean-Michel Désiré
Music Director and Conductor: Arman Urazgaliyev
Ballet Master-Producer: Luigi Bonino
Assistant Ballet Master-Producer: Gillian Whittingham
Revival Set Designer, Production Coordinator: Jean-Michel Désiré
Revival Costume Designer: Aurélie Lyon
Chief Chorus Master: Vyacheslav Podyelsky
Chorus Master: Sergei Tenitilov
Ballet Tutors: Vladimir Grigoriev, Evgeny Grashchenko, Maksim Grishenkov, Galina Sedova, Viktoria Ryazhenova
The staging is prepared in cooperation with Les Ballets Roland Petit
Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most renowned ballets of Roland Petit. Inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name the choreographer created a true colossus of a performance about love, death, loyalty and treachery.
“I’d love to see the dark ages forsaken and the true tragic meaning of Victor Hugo’s novel revealed to the audience” – Roland Petit used to say. The ballet master decided to cut the narrative down to four main characters. Images of lovely Esmeralda, appealing Quasimodo, treacherous Frollo and selfish Phoebus were all provided with vibrant choreography, where classical ballet heritage is nicely toned off by a striking grotesque of modern moves.
Notre Dame de Paris was first staged in 1965 for The Paris Opera Ballet company. This masterpiece was bound to succeed not only because of Roland Petit’s modern choreography, and Maurice Jarre’s vivid, avantgarde music score, but also thanks to bold costume decisions of a famous couturier Yves Saint Laurent and gorgeous scenery created by a well-known production designer René Allio. This young buoyed team presented the Parisian audience with a ballet, accomplished in a minimal art style, which was popular back then, thus creating one of the most artful performances of that time.
NOVAT will see Notre Dame de Paris as staged by ballet master Luigi Bonino, the keeper of Roland Petit’s heritage, his assistant and friend. For a long time he had been dancing with the Ballet National de Marseille under Roland Petit and forged a successful career as a dancer. Later he became ballet master’s assistant and took part in staging his ballets. Luigi Bonino still holds in reverence Petit’s genius – reviving his ballets with companies of the world still plays a significant role of his artistic life. This work ensures preservation and succession of the master’s heritage.
Scene 1. The Feast of Fools
On 6 January 1482 in the Paris of Louis XI, hemmed in between the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Louvres and Le Chatelet – between God, the King and the Law – townsfolk have gathered for the Feast of Fools. Here, pulling faces and clowning, they are competing for the title of the King of Fools.
Suddenly there appears such a hideous creature that he immediately outdoes everyone else – this is the bow-legged hunchback Quasimodo, the bell ringer îf Notre-Dame. However, his ugliness is not feigned, it is quite real. Seeing Quasimodo, the crowd freezes and stays dumbfounded for a moment. Quasimodo is declared the King of Fools. À grotesque cortege accompanies the wretched cripple, who revels in his ridiculous title manifesting both pleasure and indulgence.
Scene 2. The Prayer
A new character appears to interrupt the feast. Claude Frollo, archdeacon of the Cathedral has ñîmå to remind the people that life is given us for repentance and ðràyår, not for amusement and fun.
Ashamed, Quasimodo grovels at Frollo's feet like à faithful dog – he owes his life to this hard man. The priest housed, raised and employed the doorbell baby as a bell ringer, while the gadabouts wanted to throw him in the fire having considered his disfigurement a Devil’s mark.
Frollo’s austerity and stiffness are just a cover for his soul that is tortured with temptation since the first time he saw a gipsy girl Esmeralda dancing at the Cathedral’s parvis.
All his prayers turn futile: the sound of her tambourine keeps ringing in his ears like a bee in your bonnet.
Scene 3. Esmeralda
Here she is, so beautiful that “God would have preferred her to the Virgin Mary” indeed. She dances and her fiery dance is à call for love.
Consumed by passion, the archdeacon orders Quasimodo to kidnap Esmeralda.
Scene 4. The Court of Miracles
Here starts an appalling pursuit through nocturnal Paris amidst the people of darkness – beggars, cripples, cadgers, cutpurses – the castaways inhabiting the Court of Miracles, whose kingdom is the night.
Scene 5. The Pillory
Esmeralda is saved bó àn archer squad led bó a handsome captain Phoebus. One glance by an attractive officer and the gipsy girl falls for him. Meanwhile the archers take Quasimodo into custody and drag to the pillory while giving him a nice beating. The crowd contemplates this display with content, even the kids have climbed on adults’ shoulders to seize all the action. Only Esmeralda, moved by the sufferings of à creature from whom she had recently fled in horror, makes her way through the crowd in order to give him à drink of water. This gesture of pity, hands down the only one of his life and moreover coming from à girl as beautiful as he was ugly, deeply touches the bell-ringer and changes his destiny.
Scene 6. The Soldiers
Scene 7. The Tavern
An hour later, Esmeralda forgets all about the hunchback. She is full of love for Phoebus, who marches triumphantly ahead îf his soldiers.
Phoebus takes Esmeralda to a tavern, where they meet the regulars, Phoebus’ stuck-up profligate acquaintances.
Phoebus is finally alone with Esmeralda and soon she ends up naked in his arms.
However, they are not quite alone. Hidden in the dark Frollo watches them, seeing red through green glasses.
Overcome bó rage and jealousy, he stabs Phoebus with his dagger and disappears. Òhå crowd comes running in, Esmeralda is led àwàó bó guards – all evidence implicated her.
Scene 8. The Trial
Scene 9. The Gallows
Accused of licentious behavior, witchcraft and murder Esmeralda can expect no leniency – neither from the judges, nor from the public, who has been worked up by Claude. There is only one outcome for her: to be hanged.
She is already in the hands of the hangman, when suddenly Quasimodo appears: he has not forgotten the gypsy girl's generosity îf spirit.
Pushing aside the guards, he grabs hold of Esmeralda and carries her off to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame where she can be safe from the law. Despite his fury, all Ñlaude Frollo can do now is hold back the ðeîðlå trying to make it for the Cathedral. Òhe crowd, which is always ready for sudden twists and which is easily impressed by heroic deeds, rends the air with age old happy cries of «No¸l! No¸l!»
Scene 10. The Bell Tower
Staying sharp, Quasimodo patrols his realm to make sure no one endangers the beauty he saved. His joy breaks free as he grabs the ropes and makes the bells ring for all they are worth.
Scene 11. Esmeralda and Quasimodo
Esmeralda comes in. She tenderly åõðråsses her gratitude to the cripple. Ashamed of his ugliness he, nevertheless, finds ñîurage to take her hand and show around his domain.
Soon Esmeralda drops with fatigue and surrenders to sleep. Finally at rest, the bell ringer feast his eyes on the sleeping girl for couple instances, then sets off quite sure she is safe now.
However, the Cathedral is the archdeacon’s domain too.
Taking advantage of Quasimodo’s absence, Frollo walks in on Esmeralda. He tries to dominate and embrace her, but his passion disgusts her and she pushes him away.
Completely amok, he hits her as if he wanted to break her.
Scene 12. The Nightmare – Storm of the Cathedral
The law cannot put up with any sort of defiance.
By Parliament’s decision the Cathedral's right to provide sanctuary to the condemned is annuled. The soldiers take the Cathedral by storm.
The townsfolk follow them as Quasimodo helplessly watches the crowds of soldiers and women take over, all black and fierce like ancient furies.
He tries to stop them with molten lead that turns them to stone, but the intruders are too many.
Scene 13. Death
À long funeral cortege escorts Esmeralda to the gallows.
This time nothing will stop the hangman to complete his job.
As her hands slowly go down, Esmeralda dies along with the sound of her tambourine that caused the archdeacon many à sleepless night.
Frantic with despair, Quasimodo lunges at Frollo having realized the effect of his power. He uses his mighty arms to choke the life out of him.
The priest’s body rolls down the steps leading to the gallows as Quasimodo slowly carries away the body of a girl he loved.