Shows N

out into the light; it is the bellringer of Notre Dame, the hunchbacked and facially deformed Quasimodo. By unanimous decision, Quasimodo is chosen and crowned as the King of Fools, but he knows that for all the power he has this one day nothing can make a woman such as Esmeralda care for him (“Le pape des fous”). Frollo breaks up the festivities and orders Quasimodo to kidnap Esmeralda and bring her to him that night so that she can be imprisoned as a sorceress and a violator of public decency (“La sorcière”). Quasimodo, who is devoted to Frollo for raising and educating him after he had been abandoned as a baby (“L’enfant trouvé”), says he will obey. Night falls on Paris with its dark and hidden secrets commented on by Gringoire (“Les portes de paris”). Quasimodo stalks Esmeralda through the dark streets and is about to seize her when Phoebus and his guards arrive and arrest Quasimodo. Phoebus introduces himself to Esmeralda. He makes a date for a rendezvous with her the next night at the Cabaret du Val d’Amour. Phoebus and his men take Quasimodo away and Esmeralda darts off into the darkness (“Tentative d’enlèvement”). At the Court of the Miracles, the haven for all the outcasts of Paris, Clopin presides over a wild revel, remarking that all are truly equal here no matter their race, religion, skin colour or criminal background (“La cour des miracles”). Gringoire, who has wandered in accidentally, is seized and Clopin tells him that he will be hanged for his trespassing – unless one of the women will agree to marry him. Esmeralda who has arrived during this, agrees to marry Gringoire (in name only) and Clopin, as King of the Outcasts, unites them and they join in the wild revelry. Later, when Gringoire and Esmeralda are left alone (“Le mot Phoebus”) he introduces himself to her as “the Prince of the Streets of Paris” and assures her that while he is not a “ladies’ man” (“un homme a femme”), he would be glad if she would be his Muse and inspiration. Since Gringoire is educated, Esmeralda asks him what the word “Phoebus” means; he tells her that in Latin it means “the sun” or “sun god”. Esmeralda muses on the word as it romantically relates to the man Phoebus (“Beau comme le soleil”); she is joined on stage by Fleur-de-Lys, who also muses on Phoebus (although she seems to be more apprehensive about him), but both believe that Phoebus will love them forever. Phoebus himself is under no apprehensions about what kind of man he is – he wants both women, one as a wife and one as a temporary mistress (“Déchiré”). The next day, Frollo summons Gringoire to Notre Dame and questions him about Esmeralda, forbidding him to touch her. Gringoire changes the conversation by asking about a strange inscription in Greek on the wall of the Gallerie des Rois in Notre Dame, the word “Anarké”. Frollo tells him that “Anarké” means “Fate” in Greek. They watch as Quasimodo is dragged on stage bound on The Great Wheel as sentence for his attempted kidnapping of Esmeralda (“Anarkia”). Quasimodo endures his punishment but cries out for water (“A boire”), a plea that is ignored by everyone. Suddenly Esmeralda appears and gives him a drink of water from her cup, an act of kindness that deeply touches the poor hunchback. He is then released from the Wheel, and he, Frollo and Phoebus sing about their different feelings for Esmeralda (“Belle”): Quasimodo about his growing feelings of tenderness for her, Frollo about his growing fascination for her, and Phoebus (watched jealously by Fleur-de-Lys) about his wish for an affair with her before he marries Fleur-de-Lys. Quasimodo leads Esmeralda into Notre Dame and tells her how the cathedral has been his home and sanctuary, and now it can be hers whenever she needs one (“Ma maison c’est ta maison”). In spite of her initial fear of this strange, deformed man, Esmeralda is touched by his gentleness and finds herself warming towards Quasimodo. Left alone, Esmeralda, who has never prayed before, prays to the Virgin Mary (“Ave Maria païen”), while Quasimodo thinks of her (“Si tu pouvais voir en moi”). Frollo, secretly spying on Esmeralda, realizes that his lust for her will destroy him, but knows that he cannot resist, nor does he want to (“Tu vas me détruire”). That night, Phoebus is on his way to the Cabaret du Val d’Amour for his rendezvous with Esmeralda when he realizes he is being stalked by a shadowy figure. The figure (Frollo in disguise) warns him to go no further (“L’ombre”), but Phoebus refuses to heed the threat and continues on his way. At Val d’Amour, Gringoire (who seems to be a regular customer) remarks how everyone, no matter the