Bruno Pelletier may have hung Gringoire’s frock coat at the turn of the millennium, but the character never really left him. He had proof of this a few days ago by rejoining the troupe of the musical show Notre Dame of Paris for one last lap. “The gestures, the mimics … it all came back to me in a few seconds,” he says.
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For many, the names of Gringoire and Bruno Pelletier are forever inseparable, even if the singer stopped performing it 22 years ago. It must be said that it was he who gave birth to it, carrying the words of Luc Plamondon on stage for the very first time, in 1998. Since then, The Cathedrals Time sticks to his skin as to the program of each of his shows.
In short, his identity is welded to that of the poet and narrator of Notre Dame of Paris. He had tangible proof of this a few days ago by revisiting this role for the first time in more than two decades.
“People started clapping when I got on stage, before I even had time to sing a single note. It is extremely touching – moving, even – to see all this love. But it shows me that I have to live up to this memory, ”says Bruno Pelletier.
And that, he has been working on for several months already, diligently studying the video recordings of the most recent productions in view of his big comeback. Because the show has changed since Bruno Pelletier left it.
The story, inspired by the work of Victor Hugo, remains the same, that of three men (Quasimodo, Phœbus and Frollo) who fight over the love of the gypsy Esmeralda. The form, however, evolved gradually over the years, during which time the show Notre Dame of Paris was applauded by more than 15 million viewers worldwide.
“It’s the same show… but at the same time, it’s not the same. Having a show that’s been rolling for almost 25 years like Notre Dame of Paris, it means having the chance to perfect it, to refine it night after night,” confirms Bruno Pelletier.
His current Gringoire, for example, is somehow different from the one he performed at the time. Why? Because the character has, inevitably, aged at the same rate as his interpreter, who will blow out 60 candles tomorrow. It is for this reason that Bruno Pelletier insisted on making certain modifications to his approach and his appearance, with a costume with altered colors and revised make-up.
“I wanted him to have a slightly different look to show that it’s a new re-reading of the character,” he explains.
Expected within the troop of Notre Dame of Paris on the stages of Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières until September 14, Bruno Pelletier remains categorical: he will hang on Gringoire’s frock coat for good at the end of this series of shows. No question of extending the adventure beyond these dates.
“It’s a very, very demanding role. I never thought I would return to this role, especially not at 60. In fact, after doing it a few times, I wondered how I could do it seven times a week for so long. So it’s really a last lap, before devoting myself to future projects, ”he explains.
It is true that he will be particularly busy over the coming months.
Before releasing a vinyl reissue of the album Miserere to mark its 25th anniversary, Bruno Pelletier will present a biography and an album of original songs – including the first extract, In my head, will be launched tomorrow – in September.
But the singer remains very lucid all the same, knowing very well that Gringoire will never be far away.
“He will never completely leave me; I will continue to sing his songs for the rest of my life,” promises Bruno Pelletier.
The musical show Notre Dame of Paris will take place at Place des Arts in Montreal starting Tuesday, then at the Grand Théâtre de Québec starting August 25. Bruno Pelletier will play the role of Gringoire there, alternating with Gian Marco Schiaretti.