Notre-Dame fire inspires new Australian theatre production

Notre-Dame is by Alana Valentine and Brandenburg Orchestra
Images: Brandenburg Orchestra/Supplied

The fire that damaged the centuries-old Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in 2019 has inspired a world premiere theatrical production by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

Notre-Dame commemorates eight centuries of music performed within the Notre-Dame de Paris (“Our Lady of Paris”).

Conceptualised by Paul Dyer and written and directed by Alana Valentine (pictured above), the new production started with a meeting between the pair in 2019, at the time the fire caused major damage to the famed monument.

“After nearly one thousand years of existence, this world heritage site was almost burnt to the ground,” Alana said.

“My libretto Notre-Dame is the story of a female engineer who travels to Paris to work on the in-progress restoration of the iconic cathedral.”

Notre-Dame moves through eight centuries of music performed within the titular cathedral, spanning Medieval, Baroque, and Contemporary eras.

In the performances, actors Glenn Hazeldine and Matilda Ridgway will weave a narrative backed by the orchestral and choral melodies of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Brandenburg Choir.

“Metaphorically it speaks of the cathedral as the work of a century of artists and musicians, of its poetry, music and faith as global gifts to humanity,” Alana said.

“I hope the lyricism and narrative emotion of this work, with Paul’s perceptive and clever weaving of French Baroque music throughout, will entertain, inspire and speak to our collective spirit of resilience and hope as unstoppable forces for good.”

Award-winning production Notre-Dame to premiere in Sydney and Melbourne

Notre-Dame is the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s first concert series of 2024.

The libretto received the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Script for a work of Musical Theatre in 2021. Three years on, the production is finally making its world premiere at concerts in Sydney and Melbourne.

“The cathedral on the Île de la Cité has been an epicentre of musical innovation and choral transcendence since the first stone was laid, and its enduring spirit deserves to be celebrated,” Brandenburg Artistic Director Paul Dyer said.

“I am thrilled that we are finally able to bring this moving work to the stage.”

Notre-Dame is at the Melbourne Recital Centre from February 22-25, 2024 and Sydney’s City Recital Centre from February 27-March 2, 2024. Tickets at

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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