The Time of cathedrals, Beautiful, Gypsy… As many songs repeated in chorus – and in French – by a chinese public eager. Four months after the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris, the musical was critically acclaimed in Beijing. The success of the creation of Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante has not returned, 17 years after his last performance in Beijing in the language of Victor Hugo. And the China tour, which started in July in Shanghai and sold out for four weeks, gave the group an idea of the popularity of the show in a country fond of the author of les Misérables , and musical comedies to the French.

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“We have rooms archi-roof of people very happy all the evening,” smiles Daniel, the interpreter of Frollo, already present in the early days of the musical in 1998. Several hours before the first beijing Thursday, a long line of spectators eager already extends in front of the theatre Tianqiao and its 1600 seats. Some take the pose in front of the posters of the show or with pictures of the cathedral 850-year-old.

“From the fire, I was told: “You don chanteras more song the same way.” And I have to admit that it is true,”

Richard Charest, the troubadour Gringoire

But the memory of the fire of the monument, on 15 April, remains strong for the public, and inseparable part of the musical. “When people talk about France, they think of Notre Dame,” says Jin Xiaoyu, a spectator of twenty years. The disaster has caused a lively emotion among the Chinese. Photos and solidarity messages have flooded the social networks. “I knew a lot about Our Lady before the fire, and I know how much she has played an important role in the history of humanity,” says still uneasy Tang Yuyang, a young spectator. “After the show, I am more overwhelmed by the beauty of the culture, fragile and irreplaceable”, she says.

11 million spectators

Directly inspired from the novel of Victor Hugo published in 1831, the musical tells the story of the gypsy Esmeralda, the “monster” of Quasimodo and the priest Frollo, carried away by their passion for the sinister with the backdrop of the famous cathedral, in the Middle Ages. The show, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has been applauded by 11 million spectators at 4300 representations in France and abroad, depending on the production. It has been adapted in seven languages. China is also the first country where the company goes on stage, since the fire.

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“I feel strangely like the archdeacon of Notre-Dame de Paris for 20 years. When I heard that there was a fire, my heart stopped,” recalls Daniel. “I have the happiness to sing the opening song The time of the cathedrals “, one of the most popular titles of the musical comedy, reminiscent of Richard Charest, aka the troubadour Gringoire. The fire of Our Lady was “something intimately personal: it is the house that burned” he recalls, referring to the many messages of fans received on time. “From the fire, I was told: “You don chanteras more song the same way.” And I have to admit that it is true.”