'The Love of My Artistic Life': The Cast and Creator of Notre Dame de Paris Reflects on the Show's 25th Anniversary | Playbill

Classic Arts Features 'The Love of My Artistic Life': The Cast and Creator of Notre Dame de Paris Reflects on the Show's 25th Anniversary

This month, the long-touring musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame celebrates a milestone at Lincoln Center.

Angelo Del Vecchio in Notre Dame de Paris Alessandro Dobici

This summer, the international musical and dance sensation Notre Dame de Paris returns to New York City to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. The show, which was attended by over 30,000 people in just 12 performances during last year’s long-awaited NYC debut, has been seen by over 15 million people worldwide in the two-and-a-half decades since its debut. In honor of this special milestone, the cast and creative team of the 2023 NYC production shared their thoughts on what Notre Dame de Paris means to them, favorite moments and memories from the show, and what it means to bring the show back to New York for the 25th Anniversary. Notre Dame de Paris runs at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts June 22 to July 9.

The adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), written by Richard Cocciante and Luc Plamondon, has played 24 countries since premiering at the Palais des Congrès in Paris in 1998. The production is performed with English supertitles and a live orchestra. Gilles Maheu directs with choreography by Martino Müller.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What does this production mean to you?

Angelo Del Vecchio (Quasimodo): Notre Dame de Paris is the love of my artistic life. It represents a big part of my career and my education in music and singing and has always been the inspiration for my career. 

Elhaida Dani (Esmeralda): It is a life experience. I started playing Esmeralda almost eight years ago and since then I’ve grown as a person and as an artist. It is exceptional to be part of this amazing musical filled with beautiful melodies and lyrics.

Jay (Clopin): Notre Dame is my first experience in a musical. For me, it represents an exceptional adventure. It’s incredible to find that the topics in Victor Hugo’s story are still relevant nowadays. 

GianMarco Schiaretti (Gringoire): Notre Dame de Paris really represents the beginning of my life as an artist and my career as an actor and singer because it was the first show I saw, thanks to the DVD. It’s really very special for me.

Elhaida Dani in Notre Dame de Paris Alessandro Dobici

What’s been your favorite part of this show?

Del Vecchio: My favorite part is entering a bubble every night for two-and-a-half hours—a bubble of concentration, emotion and energy coming from everything we give on stage. Magic takes place during these performances, and we enjoy the applause and the standing ovations that mean the audience feels it too. 

Dani: My favorite part used to be Act II because it is so intense with passion and emotion, but now I’ll go with Act I that is rhythmed by dance and big acrobatics. Everything develops in the first act and the audience is also very invested in the action. 

Jay: I think I prefer the songs of Frollo, which for me are the most beautiful, in particular “Etre prêtre et aimer une femme” for its beauty and the very accurate writing of Luc Plamondon.

Schiaretti: I have two favorite moments in the show: The first one is “Lune” when I sing about Quasimodo’s fragility and despair and his love for Esmeralda. The second is “L’Attaque de Notre-Dame,” not only for the staging but also for the mix of harmonies that go together. It’s magic to both sing and listen to. 

What’s a favorite memory of being a part of this show?

Del Vecchio: It’s so hard to pick one because there’s been so many in the 11 years I’ve been in this show. But I will never forget the fear I had during my first show as Quasimodo. I was shaking all over my body on the stage during the song “Le Pape des Fous.” 

Dani: I have a lot of good memories, but my favorite was performing as Esmeralda in my home country of Albania in May 2023. 

Jay: There are so many! But honestly, I would say I am moved by the fans who are always very caring and always have a little attention at each end of the show, they’re always so engaged with the performance and they’re so caring and supportive of all of us.

Schiaretti: It may seem cliché but performing in New York, the capital of musicals, combined with my first performance in the role of Gringoire, my childhood dream, is a magnificent moment in my career and my life.

What does it mean to you to bring this show to New York City for the 25th Anniversary? 

Del Vecchio: It’s an honor to do this show in the city of the musicals! it’s a big responsibility, of course, but it’s going to be a celebration! 

Dani: It is a dream come true! I’ve always looked to New York and wished one day I’d be there. So, to be here today makes it very real and very meaningful. 

Jay: For me, it is extraordinary to perform Notre Dame de Paris in New York! I don’t think there’s been a French musical show like this in NYC. 

Luc Plamondon (Writer): In my younger years I was coming to NYC to marvel and see all these Broadway musicals that made me want to make my own creations. So, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Notre Dame de Paris in New York is really special. It is certainly a kind of accomplishment! 

See Photos of Lincoln Center's Notre Dame de Paris

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