Full Casting & ENO Orchestra Announced For London Run Of Notre Dame de Paris

Nicolas Talar for Enzo Products Ltd and Adam Blanshay Productions have announced the full casting for Notre Dame de Paris. Twenty years after its Parisian debut, and after receiving international acclaim in 23 countries worldwide, the French musical is set to be performed at London Coliseum. The original French production in London will be performed with English surtitles and a live orchestra from Wednesday 23 – Sunday 27 January 2019, with a national press night on Wednesday 23 January 2019 at 7pm. The London run will culminate with the 5,000th performance of the worldwide hit show.

This is the original French production, composed by Richard Cocciante with lyrics by Luc Plamondon, directed by Gilles Maheu and choreographed by Martino Müller.

The production stars Angelo Del VecchioHiba TawajiDaniel LavoieRichard CharestAlyzée LalandeMartin Giroux and Jay, who are all members of the principal cast in the current world tour.

The producers are also thrilled to confirm that the singers will be accompanied by the stunning ENO Orchestra with Matthew Brind conducting.

 Based upon the acclaimed 1831 novel Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris will feature an international ensemble of singers, dancers and acrobats to tell the tale of the hunchbacked cathedral bell-ringer, Quasimodo, and his desperate love for the gypsy, Esmeralda.

Italian born Angelo Del Vecchio plays Quasimodo. Angelo has a long professional history with Notre Dame de Paris, and is the only singer in the world to have performed the show in three languages. Angelo first played the role of Quasimodo in 2011 in the tenth anniversary tour of the Italian version of the production (September 2012 – Verona Arena). Following this, he joined the international show (the English version) and performed in many Asian and European counties. Since 2014, Angelo has taken part in the revival of the Notre Dame de Paris Original French Tour in South Korea, Taiwan and Lebanon. Other credits include playing the role of Benvolio in Giulietta e Romeo, a popular opera, with which he toured around Italy in 2007 and 2008, and being part of the artistic cast of Rock Revolution as a soloist.

Hiba Tawaji plays Esmeralda, a role she has portrayed all over the world since 2016. Hiba is a Lebanese trilingual (Arabic, French & English) singer & actress. She was spotted very early on by one of the most influential producers & composers in the Arab world, Oussama Rahbani, with whom she has released 3 studio albums in Arabic, each album gaining the critics’ & public’s acclaim. The Rahbani family, pioneers in the musical theatre sector in the Arab world, entrusted Hiba with the lead female role in 4 of their creations. Over the years, Hiba became a big star in the Arab world, performing on some of the most prestigious stages and festivals in the region. Following this, she had always dreamed of extending her horizons, so she took an enormous gamble by participating in The Voice France in 2015. After a journey that was highly praised by the public & the media, she made it to the semi-finals, and is currently working on new music in French, English & Arabic. In 2017, she was the very first female singer to ever perform on stage in Saudi Arabia. Her performance garnered International media exposure making it an historical event in Hiba’s career & in Arab women’s battle for emancipation & gender equality.

The role of Frollo is played by Daniel Lavoie, who is an original cast member of Notre Dame de Paris, having been in the show since its inception in Paris in 1998. Daniel is a Canadian born author, composer, actor and comedian, most famous for his unforgettable song Ils s’aiment. Daniel is an established poet-pianist, and is known for his striking performances in daring projects such as Notre Dame de ParisHuman Rights Now, Le Petit Prince, la télésérie Félix Leclerc, Douze hommes rapaillés, La licorne captive and, more recently, Piaf ŕ 100 ans. Vive la Môme! and Fortitudes. Daniel has won a dozen Félix Awards in Quebec, four Victoires de la Musique in France and a World Music Award for his participation in the song Belle from Notre Dame de Paris, and has twenty albums to his name. He is also the author of two volumes of poetry Finutilité and Particulitésand has composed for Maurane, Isabelle Boulay, Eric Lapointe, Céline Dion, Mireille Mathieu and many others.

Richard Charest plays Gringoire. He first came to Notre Dame de Paris in 1999, when he crossed paths with the famous lyricist Luc Plamondon, who entrusted him with the future of the role of Phśbus. From 1999 to 2006, he did a series of performances in French around the world, playing the powerful role of the poet Gringoire from 2005, and went back on the road again in 2012 with the English version of Notre Dame de Paris. He recently celebrated his 1000th performance of the show. Other credits include Rabbi Jacob(alongside popular French comedian Eric Métayer), Il était une fois… Joe Dassin (Grand Rex, Paris and on a European tour) and Big Bazar (at the famous festival Les Franco Folies de Montréal in June 2010 and on tour around Quebec in 2011).

The role of Fleur-de-Lys will be played by Alyzée Lalande. Alyzée Lalande is the original Fleur-de-Lys from the 2017 touring cast. She started her career with the show Jean le fidčle and the comedy On ne magouille pas avec les impôts, by Thomas de Montgolfier, at the Théâtre Le Temple. She then landed the lead role in the musical Peau d’âne, directed by Ismaël Djema, at the Théâtre de la Madeleine, continued her journey with Jonas le musical, directed by Sébastien Tellier, and then with L’île aux trésors, also directed by Djema. In 2015, she joined the Théâtre Mogador with Le Bal Des Vampires, directed by Roman Polanski, followed by Le Voyage Extraordinaire de Jules Verne, where she brought the puppet hybrid Anna Verne to life, under the direction of Rabah Aliouane.

The role of Phśbus is played by Martin Giroux. He first became famous as a contestant on the second season of Star Académie in 2004. In 2003, Martin was diagnosed with a very rare cancer on his left wrist and his album La vie ça s’mérite was inspired by his battle. He announced that he had gone into remission in 2008. Martin is an experienced stage, television and musical performer, whose credits include Dracula, Joe Dassin – La Grande fęte musicale, Big Bazar and Party Time. He took over the role of Phśbus inNotre Dame de Paris at the Palais des Congrčs in Paris.

Completing the principal cast is Jay who plays Clopin. Jay is best known for being a member of several bands. He was a member of the French group ‘Poetic Lover’ from 1997 to 2000. They had six singles and two albums in the national charts. After Poetic Lover’s split, he joined the R&B and hip-hop group ‘Class Vegas’ in 2001.  Since 2013, he has been a member of the soul group ‘Vigon Bamy’. Their first work entitled Les Soul Men, reached number 7 in the French charts and became a gold album. In 2002, he participated in Luc Plamondon and Romano Musumarra’s musical Cindy.

All the principals can be heard on the 2017 Notre Dame de Paris live cast recording which is widely available.

The cast is completed by acrobats Abdel Kader Diop, Jonathan Gajdane, Nathan Jones, Samuele Poddi and Alberto Poli, break dancers Alex Besnier and Pasquale Fortunato, singers Elhaida Dani, Julien Mior, Florian Robert, Rodrigue Galio and Roland Julienne and dancers Domenico Ausilio, Giulia Barbone, Wilfried Bernard, Luca Calzolaro, Gianluca Falvo, Alexandre Lacoste, Giuseppe Marino, Marta Marino, Joane Nabonne, Emanuele Pironti, Anaďs Replumaz, Martina Ronchetti, Julie Vlieghe and Roberta Zegretti.

Long before Notre Dame de Paris became an international success, the show’s composer Riccardo (aka Richard) Cocciante was already established as a successful international artist-singer-composer with more than 40 albums to his name in Italian, Spanish and French. His musical education is self-taught, allowing him to explore a vast range of musical expressions and compositions: from songs to musical operas, from film soundtracks to intimate and rigorous music for the theatre or casting and directing young singers in his “People’s Opera”. A second career as composer of “People’s Opera” becomes obvious to him, and he consequently decided to suspend his singing and recording career.

If there is one name associated with French songwriting around the world, it is without doubt that of Luc Plamondon. This prolific songwriter has written over 500 songs and five musicals, the most famous of which – Starmania and Notre Dame de Paris – have been seen by millions of spectators and sold as many albums around the world. He encountered Diane Dufresne, who became his muse all through the seventies, for whom he wrote 75 songs. He was called on to work for all the biggest names of pop music in Quebec and France. His career reached a peak in 1992 with a tribute album that Céline Dion dedicated to him entitled Dion Sings Plamondon. With composer Michel Berger, he wrote the first French rock opera, Starmania, which premiered in Paris in 1979. An unprecedented success in several languages. His other musicals include La légende de Jimmy (1990). His greatest triumph, Notre Dame de Paris, which opened in Paris (1998) continues to tour around the world.

Ahead of the twentieth anniversary performance, producer Nicolas Talar says:

 “Myself and our wonderful cast are delighted to be bringing this classic tale to the London to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. Almost two centuries after the novel captured imaginations, we have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world with this fabulous show. And as an anniversary gift, and to show our excitement at bringingNotre-Dame de Paris to London, our first performance will be, we believe, the London Coliseum’s first ever one price performance at the amazing rate of Ł50, so we can share this story with as many people as possible. The earlier you book the better the seat you get.”

Having sold out performances across 16 countries and been translated into nine different languages, Notre Dame de Paris originally debuted at the Palais des Congrčs in Paris, 1998. Following its opening, the production was commended in the Guinness Book of World Records 2000 for its record success for a musical during its first year.

The music is composed by Richard Cocciante, with lyrics by Luc Plamondon.

Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement and is considered one of the greatest French writers. Hugo’s best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831, both of which have had several adaptations for stage and screen.

Director Gilles Maheu is a multidisciplinary artist: an actor, writer, director, teacher, set designer, choreographer and filmmaker. Gilles Maheu has been a leading director for 40 years, in Canada as much as abroad.  He is also the co-founder of two theatres in Montreal (l’Espace libre and l’Usine C) and, in 2015, he was named a Compagnon des Arts et des Lettres du Québec for his important contribution to Quebec’s cultural life. With his company Carbone 14, he toured over 30 countries and received over forty prestigious awards for his shows Le Rail in 1985, Hamlet-machine d’Heiner Muller in 1987 and Les Âmes mortes in 1996. In 2004, he directed the musical Don Juan by Félix Gray in France, Canada and Korea, winning the awards for best production and best direction in Quebec. In 2007, he was the artistic director for the creation of the musical Butterflies in Beijing and, in 2008, he directed Cirque du Soleil’s Zaďa in Macao, China.

Set Designer Christian Rätz studied in Lyon (École des Beaux-Arts) and Strasbourg (ESAD).  He has designed numerous sets for dance, opera and theatre in France and abroad. He designed the sets for a number of operas by M. Leiser and P. Caurier. As far as the theatre is concerned, over the last few years he has designed sets for the following productions: Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, In the Solitude of Cotton Fields by Bernard-Marie Koltčs at the Evora Drama Centre in Portugal, Le Missanthrope, suite et fin by Moličre and Courteline at the Théatre de Carouge, Trolius and Cressida at the Almada Theatre in Portugal. Between 2012 and 2014, he directed Opus Null with texts by Jean Arp, Incidents ou début d’un trčs beau jour d’été by Daniil Harms and L’heure d’alsacien. He has been in charge of classes at the L’École de Théatre National de Strasbourg since 1978 and he handled the responsibility for training student scenographers at l’ESAD from 2008 to 2011.

Originally a dancer, choreographer Martino Müller, joined the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT I).  Martino ventured into choreography in 1992, when he applied to join NDT II, the junior group of the Dutch company.  His first piece of choreography, Who’s Watching Who, turned out to be a striking debut and received an important award from the Dutch arts organisation. That same year, Martino was invited to work for the Festival der Künste in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria, which led him to a production called A Woman Can Take You to Another Universe – Sometimes She Just Leaves You There, which NDT I later included in their own repertoire.  NDT I then asked him to create a new piece.  The premiere of this creation, entitled Heidi, took place in 1994.  Since then, he has choreographed for numerous prestigious dance companies, such as the Lyon Opera Ballet, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Ballet Gulbenkian in Portugal, the Stuttgart Ballet, Balletmet in Columbus, Ohio, USA, the Göteborg Ballet in Sweden, the Basel Ballet, the Bern Ballet, the Lucerne Theatre, the Israeli Ballet in Tel Aviv and the Croatian National Theatre. Notre Dame de Paris, nominated for a prize for Canadian theatre in 2000, is Martino Müller’s first time choreographing for a musical.  He has since choreographed for Cirque du SoleilZaiaI Promessi Sposi and Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story. The most innovative choreography that Martino has worked on was for the new musical production of Cendrillon.

As a visual artist, Costume Designer Caroline Van Assche’s vision is holistic.  Her progressive costumes allow the audience to see the depth of the characters and the actors to adopt them through more ways than just acting. She began her career in costume in 2002 with Céline Dion’s show A New Day in Las Vegas, followed by an aquatic show at Wynn Las Vegas with Franco Dragone. She then became Franco Dragone’s artistic director.

For more than thirty years, Lighting Designer Alain Lortie has worked with singers from Quebec and Europe: Jean-Pierre Ferland, Diane Dufresne, Robert Charlebois, Daniel Bélanger, Peter Gabriel, Francis Cabrel, Eros Ramazzotti, and more. He has been named lighting designer of the year by l’ADISQ, received the Masque des Éclairages for Les âmes mortes (1996) and won a Dora Mavor Moore Award in Toronto for Oedipus Rex (1997).  Among his big creations are Starmania (1993), Notre Dame de Paris (1998),Arturo Brachetti (1999), Cavalia (2003) and Odysseo (2011).  From 2001 to 2005, he was the artistic director for the Fęte de la lumičre at the festival Montréal en Lumičre.  He also collaborated on Cirque du Soleil’s productions Soleil de minuit (2004), Delirium (2006), Zarkana (2011) and Toruk, The First Flight (2015). In 2014, he joined up with Franco Dragone for the permanent production of Han Show (2014) in Wuhan, China.

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