Romantic ballet, two acts
Cesare Pugni – Riccardo Drigo
Libretto by Andrei Petrov (based on the script by J.Perro and the novel by V.Hugo “Notre-Dame de Paris”)
Musical adaption by Vladimir Kachesov
Choreographer-director is Andrei Petrov, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation
Scene designer is Grigory Belov, Honoured art worker of the Russian Federation
Costume designer is Olga Polyanskaya
The performance contains choreographical episodes by Marius Petipa and Agrippina Vaganova
The romantic ballet “Esmeralda” based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo “Notre-Dame de Paris”, the final masterpiece of Classical Romanticism, for the first time saw the lights in 1844 on the stage of Royal Theatre in London (Jules Perro’s staging). Within more than 160 years it entered all European theatres and remained until now at the stages of Russia.
The story of a young beautiful gipsy girl gained new life in the performance of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre in 2006.
“Kremlin Ballet’s” artistic managing director Andrei Petrov, basing on Victor Hugo’s novel “Notre-Dame de Paris” and Jules Perro’s script made his uniquely beautiful and sensuous staging that will hardly leave anyone aside.
Musical and choreographic interpretations of the famous novel always arouse interest of spectators, for time has no power over the story of a tragic entwinement of boisterous feelings, fatal desires, devotion and destructive hatred.
This touching tale of love and death of a young gipsy girl reveals in the whole beauty of a sparkling dance of the 19th century.
The performance is accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra Radio Orpheus (Artistic managing director and Principal conductor - Sergey Kondrashov)
Fleur de Lys, the bride of the captain of the Rural Guards Phoebus de Chateaupers, gives her groom a hand-embroidered scarf on the eve of their wedding party. Phoebus thanks his lady-love.
SCENE 1. SQUARE IN FRONT OF THE CATHEDRAL
The citizens have gathered at the square in front of the Notre-Dame de Paris and are curiously watching the gypsy women dancing. They are delighted with the inflammatory dance of the young Esmeralda. The charming dancer is also watched by Claude Frollo, the priest of the Notre-Dame de Paris, who passionately loves her for already quite a long time. Claude drives the gypsy women away and insists that the devilish dances in the neighborhood of the holy place should cease.
SCENE 2. CLAUDE’S VISIONS
Staying in his cell, Claude is taken away by his dreams. He has a vision of Esmeralda and the sound of her tambourine keeps ringing in his ears. Multiplying in his imagination the vision of Esmeralda makes the monk come through moments of forbidden passion over and over again. Neither his prayers to the God nor the power of his will help him to overcome his feelings.
SCENE 3. THE COURT OF MIRACLES
The Count of Miracles is a den of thieves, gypsy, tramps and beggars. Their leader Claupin Troulfout is a terror of local inhabitants. The poor poet Pierre Gringoire who follows Esmeralda in order to get acquainted with her finds himself at the Court and becomes a victim of the beggars. Claupin wants money, but Gringoire hasn’t got any. The Claupin condemns him to death. However the execution can be avoided in case some lady from the Count agrees to become Gringoire’s wife. Everybody rejects the poor poet. Esmeralda appears and feels sorry for the Gringoire and agrees to become his wife. The beggars set Gringoire free and the whole Count of Miracles congratulates the newly-weds.
It’s night time. Claude Frollo orders the Notre-Dame bell ringer Quasimodo, who fulfils every will of his foster-father, to abduct Esmeralda for him. They lie in wait for Esmeralda and capture her. Quasimodo in¬tends to carry her to his master. At the same time the patrol under the guidance of Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers approaches the Court of Miracles. Claude manages to escape.
Watching the woman being subjected to violence, Phoebus orders the soldiers to set her free and capture Quasimodo. Being struck by what has happened Esmeralda can’t regain her own self, but once she sees Phoe¬bus she falls in love first time in her life. Fascinated by the beauty of the gypsy woman, Phoebus gives her his scarf. Having noticed that the soldiers are beating Quasimodo, Esmeralda asks Phoebus to spare his life and let him go. Phoebus releases Quasimodo and goes away. Quasimodo is amazed by Esmeralda’s attitude to him as she is only person on earth who showed mercy to him.
SCENE 4. ESMERALDA’S ROOM
Esmeralda is alone in her box-room. She is in love with Phoebus and looks lovingly at his scarf. Her love for him has totally changed her life. Pierre Gringoire enters and wants to embrace his wife. Esmeralda wan¬ders away from him and explains that she agreed to marry him only in order to save his life. She teaches him dancing so that they could dance and earn money together. Gringoire to sleep in another room and lies down on her bed holding the scarf of her sweetheart.
Claude Frollo enters Esmeralda’s room. He wakes her up, throws his body to her feet and makes a declara¬tion of love. Esmeralda pushes him of his holy order and shows him the scarf with the emblem of the captain of the guards.
Claude Frollo understands that Phoebus de Chateaupers is his rival. Leaving, Claude takes Esmeralda’s gagger and nurtures plans of revenge…
SCENE 5. THE FAILED MARRIAGE
In the castle of Madame de Gondelaurier preparations for the wedding ceremony of Fleur de Lys and Phoebus are underway. They gladly accept congratulations from the bride’s friends. To amuse the guests the gypsy dancers along with Esmeralda and Gringoire have been invited. Having realized that she has to dance at the wedding ceremony of Phoebus, who is marring another lady, Esmeralda attempts to leave as she is unable to keep her head. However the gypsy women and Gringoire ask her to stay. Overcoming her feelings Esmeralda dances for the bride and the groom.
All those present are fascinated with the beauty of gypsy woman. Phoebus is also unable to look at her indifferently. Unexpectedly Fleur de Lys notices that Esmeralda wears Phoebus’s scarf. Fleur snatches it out of her hands and being struck by her groom’s treachery asks for explanations. Not knowing what to say and wishing to be with Esmeralda, Phoebus follows her and runs away. Fleur de Lys faints.
SCENE 1. FESTIVAL OF JESTERS
The medieval festival of jesters. Having failed to find a better nominee to be proclaimed the “pop of jesters” the beggars and thieves chose the bell-ringer Quasimodo to be the one. Claude Frollo appears and angrily tears away the jester’s costume from the hunchback. He rudely orders him to go back to the Cathedral. The upset Quasimodo recollects again who nice Esmeralda was to him. He begins to cry understanding that his love for her will always remain unanswered.
SCENE 2. TAVERN
The citizens make fun in one of the taverns at the outskirts of Paris. A gloomy figure of Claude Frollo ap¬pears. He has a dagger in his hands. He has worked out a plan of revenge and knows that both Phoebus and Esmeralda might come here. Claude hides himself. Tenderly holding each other Esmeralda and Phoebus enter the Tavern. Phoebus vows his eternal love for Esmeralda. She gets a hope that her life could change for the better and she decides to give in. Though Claude is hiding himself, he jealously watches the pair of lovers. Having chosen the right moment he hits Phoebus with the dagger. People gather around and Claude points at Esmeralda who is the owner of the dagger. He blames the death of the captain of the guards on her. The guards seize the killer.
SCENE 3. DUNGEON
Esmeralda is in jail. The unjust and severe trial is on – the commoner has made an attempt on the life of a man of the high estate. She is sentenced to death. Her supplications are in vain. Having stayed alone with her, Claude again pleads the woman to give a response to his passion and promises to save her life. However Esmeralda again rejects him as she knows that he is the one who killed Phoebus. The abased Frollo orders the executor to torture Esmeralda.
SCENE 4. THE GARDEN OF FLEUR DE LYS
After a short disease caused by the failure of her marriage with Phoebus, the duchess attempts to improve her mood watching a ballet performance on an ancient plot. As the ballet comes to an end the butler comes to say that Phoebus had arrived. Phoebus gives Fleur a bouquet of flowers and says that he loves her. She is glad that he is back. An affair with a gypsy woman is over.
SCENE 5. EXECUTION PROCESSION
The struck people of Paris see how Esmerailda is being led to the place of her execution. Unexpectedly Quasimodo takes the woman away from the guards and hides her inside the Cathedral. According to the law, the Notre-Dame walls protect the runaway. Claude Frollo reminds the crowd of that.
SCENE 6. AT THE BELL TOWER
Early morning Esmeralda wakes up and sees the ugly face of Quasimodo. However it doesn’t seem to her as awful as before as this man had saved her life. A tender feeling to each other wakes up in their hearts.
Claude decides to upset the low on those who found refuge inside the Cathedral and hands Esmeralda over to the executors.
SCENE 7. ESMERALDA’S EXECUTION
Going to the place of her execution Esmeralda sees Phoebus and Fleur de Lys who are returning from their church wedding ceremony. Being unable to keep up with her feelings she falls in the executor’s hands. The executor slowly comes up to the scaffold.
SCENE 8. RETRIBUTION
Claude Frollo watches the execution from the baluster of the Notre-Dame de Paris. He has almost gone made because of his awful crimes. He again gets the vision of Esmeralda and can’t get rid of the sound of her tambourine in his head. Having lost the last creature he loved, Quasimodo decides to punish Esmeralda’s killer and pushes Claude away from the roof of the Notre-Dame.
SCENE 9. FINALE
Having carried the woman’s body to the deep cellar of the Notre-Dame de Paris where the executed are being buried, Quasimodo dies, tightly holding Esmeralda in his arms.