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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful show - best in the original French
Even if you can't understand the French, I'm sure you'll find the original French recordings the best. We saw the show at the Palais de Congres and it was simply wonderful, with some top French singers. The English version in London was still wonderful although I felt the audience didn't quite know what to make of it and some I am sure didn't like it - they weren't used...
Published on 27 May 2010 by Helen

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Please get the French Version
When we listen to opera, we don't really worry ourselves with the translation (although it is nice to have). So it should be here. It's really too bad this musical/modern opera just couldn't be presented here in the original French. I'm afraid this may come off as elitist, but hey, the original is SO SO SO much better than this!

Tina Arena (Esmeralda) may have...
Published on 1 Jan 2008 by Kendra


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful show - best in the original French, 27 May 2010
This review is from: Notre Dame De Paris (Audio CD)
Even if you can't understand the French, I'm sure you'll find the original French recordings the best. We saw the show at the Palais de Congres and it was simply wonderful, with some top French singers. The English version in London was still wonderful although I felt the audience didn't quite know what to make of it and some I am sure didn't like it - they weren't used to the different presentation style of the French who aren't, or weren't at that time, into our sort of musical. To the French the song was everything, not the acting.

But I was already hooked on Plamondon's wonderful Starmania, which we also saw in Paris, so I knew what to expect.

You can (or could) buy both these French versions on DVD as unlike here, the French will quickly issue a DVD of a popular show, thank goodness for all of us who can't go over there at will.

This musical is based on Hugo's most wonderful and poignant story, Notre Dame de Paris. The staging is modernistic - stylised - but fascinating seen on the Palais's huge stage. The stage in London was not so suitable, being an old-fashioned theatre. I think it would work better here with English/American style presentation and lots more "acting".

The music is simply glorious - one of my most favourite musicals. It is lush. Starmania, which is a "modern fable" set in a grim Parisian banlieu, is very different and more a rock opera in style. Both are ultimately cynical and tragic - very French.

The French double CD set in bronze-coloured presentation box with libretto and illos is the one to get if you want just the music. Or both as I have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC, 15 Dec 2008
This review is from: Notre Dame De Paris (Audio CD)
This CD is fantastic. Tina Arena's performance of 'Live' is amazing!! The cast on this CD are wonderfull. I would advise that you buy the English version as the French version does not capture the emotion of this wonderful musical.

It is a shame that the French words in the French version and the French singers (although talented i'm sure) do not capture the full emotion of the musical and their voices are lacking in power and strengh, there are many times in this musical where a powerfull voice is called for.

Lucky the English version is available with the fantastic Tina Arena and Celine Dion. Natasha St Pier is ok also. Garou does well and if you know the musical well you understand his gruff tones and rough pronunciation fit the CD.

Buy it, it's fantastic!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Balsamo sings fantastically (of course), 5 Oct 2011
By 
horace femm (writing from my cell) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Notre Dame De Paris (Audio CD)
This cd is of a great show that french speaking audiences loved, this english version does indeed differ in translation but nothing is lost. Tina arena has a wonderful voice but for me it is Steve Balsamo who should be having bouquets thrown at his feet for this beautiful performance,what a shame he has so few songs,his voice is one that can move you to tears due to its incredible range and his awe-inspiring sensitivity. a great listen, full marks !!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Please get the French Version, 1 Jan 2008
This review is from: Notre Dame De Paris (Audio CD)
When we listen to opera, we don't really worry ourselves with the translation (although it is nice to have). So it should be here. It's really too bad this musical/modern opera just couldn't be presented here in the original French. I'm afraid this may come off as elitist, but hey, the original is SO SO SO much better than this!

Tina Arena (Esmeralda) may have a fantastic voice. Unfortunately, you won't be left with this impression when listening to this CD. There's a harsh edge to her performance that is almost unpleasant. Her phrasing is poor. To add insult to injury, the acoustics are not spectacular, and the whole performance just absolutely does NOT come alive at all. The French recording is immeasurably better than this. When you listen to the French recording, you are just drawn into the whole story. And, if you know the story (do a little reading about the musical-- it's not necessary to read the Victor Hugo novel) you will have an idea what's happening while they're singing. (If you pick up the DVD you'll get the entire libretto (in French) and English subtitles.)

Anyways, this is just flat-out not so good. I don't mind the actual lyric translation. . . I haven't listened carefully enough to find offense with the actual choice of words the translator chose. It's really the music, the performances, and the acoustics. Noa-- who is Esmeralda in the French version-- has an incredible voice. All of the cast is fantastic. The English version is just NOT GOOD.

One more thing: It is difficult to find the unabridged 2 CD complete performance in French. It is available to download at some sites. If you can find that, rather than the one-CD abridged French that is available here, try to do that. There is something amazing about listening to the entire thing in chronological order. It's just one of the most beautiful pieces of music that I've heard.

Addendum: I've listened to this a few more times. I DO think that Garou, Daniel Lavoie, and Bruno Pelletier are STILL incredible on this version. They bring their same beautiful voices to the English roles of Quasimodo, Frollo, and Gringoire. However, Tina Arena's Esmeralda is really enough to ruin the entire score. Her voice is absolutely unpleasant as Esmeralda. There is no sweetness to it. Both Noa and Helene Segara are so much better. And, Steven Balsamo as Phoebus is only okay. Patrick Fiori has a rich lush tenor when he sings Phoebus' part in the French version. Steven Balsamo-- who'll you'll hear here-- is only half as good.

Lastly, after seeing the translation of the French on the DVD version, I have to say that I don't really mind the English word translation on this English version. My husband would actually laugh a bit when reading the English translation when we were watching the show. Here, the words and melodrama are toned down a bit. Not a lot, mind you-- it is a tragedy, but a little. If you have seen the English subtitle translation on the dvd (think the song Belle, specifically), and then listen to the translation here, it's really not as bad as you might think when reading these reviews.
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