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[Herald Review] ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ performs to packed theater

French original musical kicks off Seoul run after staff recover from COVID-19

Angelo del Vecchio, who plays the role of Quasimodo, sings “Ou est-elle” onstage. (Mast Entertainment)
Angelo del Vecchio, who plays the role of Quasimodo, sings “Ou est-elle” onstage. (Mast Entertainment)

The whole world watched the beloved Notre Dame Cathedral burn down last year, but the iconic cathedral is resurrected onstage in Korea every evening to the sound of music.

The original French production of musical “Notre Dame de Paris” kicked off its Seoul run Tuesday at the Blue Square Interpark Hall near Itaewon, central Seoul.
 
Angelo del Vecchio, who plays the role of Quasimodo sings “A Boire” to Esmeralda on stage. (Mast Entertainment)
Angelo del Vecchio, who plays the role of Quasimodo sings “A Boire” to Esmeralda on stage. (Mast Entertainment)

The production got off to a bumpy start when 14 of its 30 staff members were confirmed with the COVID-19 infection upon their arrival in Korea in October.

According to Mast Entertainment, the local show management company, the staff of “Notre Dame de Paris” had tested negative for COVID-19 three times in France, before coming to Korea. The 14 infected members joined the rest of the crew after making full recoveries.

On Thursday, the 1,760-seat theater in central Seoul was packed as the middle seat vacancy rule had been lifted for performance venues under the new Level-1 distancing rule in effect from Nov. 7. The auditorium was a nearly full.

The musical, created by Richard Cocciante and Luc Plamondon, is based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, set in 15th century Paris.

The musical starts with the iconic number “Le Temps des Cathedrales,” which is followed by some 50 more numbers, including “Belle,” “Vivre” and more. 

Bells of Notre Dame Cathedral (Mast Entertainment)
Bells of Notre Dame Cathedral (Mast Entertainment)

The performance captivated the audience not just with the memorable songs, but elaborate dance movements as well. The cast showed off beautiful contemporary dance, complete with B-boying and acrobatic performances.

The costumes were delightful, too, changing for nearly every scene.

The Thursday’s show brought the audience to their feet with a standing ovation.

Daniel Lavoie, the original cast of the 1998 French premiere production, has returned to the stage for the Seoul run, taking the role of Archdeacon Frollo. Angelo del Vecchio plays the role of bell-ringer Quasimodo, while Elhaida Dani plays the iconic bohemian girl Esmeralda.

The musical runs until Jan. 17. Tickets are priced from 60,000 won to 160,000 won.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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