Tag Archives: 1400s

Great Theatre: Notre Dame de Paris

17 Feb

I recently posted a link to the song “Belle” and some of you asked where the song came from.  It’s from a Parisian play based on Victor Hugo’s classic, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”  No it’s not the version you watched as a child. Yes, the make-up is a little excessive. But this is still a truly gorgeous piece of theatre, and I would highly recommend watching it.  

This particular version focuses on the fact that this was a time of increasing emigration into France, where the people were confronting a flood of ever new and different methods of thought; most of which were often seen as a threat to both French culture and the power of the church itself.  These new people brought with them different languages, ideals, morals, and ways of life, which would forever alter the way France viewed itself and the world.  Indeed, it was a change that the entire world was facing.  I think perhaps the first song best describes the setting for the scene in Notre Dame. . . . The year was 1482 and earth sat at the cusp of change.  The Guttenberg Bible came out in the 1450s, and suddenly potentially anyone could have a translated version of the Catholic Holy book.  By 1517, Luther would bring with him the Reformation, and the church as they knew it would never be the same.  There is also strong evidence suggesting that the Church was already losing its sway over believers as new cultures (such as the Gypsies) introduced their own faiths into the mix.  No one can deny that this was a HUGE change for Western culture, and for many one of the greatest changes in their way of life.  And France was sitting on the very horizon of this change in our beloved hunchback’s time.  But it wasn’t just religion that was changing, so was philosophy, science, and the arts.  Remember that before the turn of the century, America would be on the map. This was the time of the Cathedrals:

 Today, the country is quite contented to remain a hub of globalization and a hodgepodge of peoples and faiths. But long ago, that was not the case and this version of the classic story does an excellent job of capturing that movement towards change.  You’ve already heard the love story, and the tale of triumph for the suffering; now listen to the story of a world on the brink of change, and the events that pushed it over.

You can see a translated version via QueenisGod via YouTube.

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