A Cell In La Conciergerie De Paris

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Photo chosen by ‘Enda Markey Presents  to use as part of the scenic design for the Asia Pacific tour of the production “Do You Hear The People Sing?”, a concert celebrating the work of Boublil & Schönberg (the creators of Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and others).

© RicardMN Photography

Poster ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’ in Shanghai Grand Theatre. 27 November – 1 December 2013

This image is for the song called ‘Au Petit Matin’ and it’s from Boublil & Schonberg’s first musical, “La Révolution Française” (which preceded “Les Misérables”) and is sung in the original musical by Marie Antoinette as she was imprisoned at La Conciergerie de Paris.

Marie Zamora singing 'Au Petit Matin'

Marie Zamora singing ‘Au Petit Matin’ in “Do You Hear The People Sing” Concert in Shanghai Grand Theatre 11/27/2013. Image on the background by RicardMN Photography

– The first show was in Shanghai Grand Theatre, China, from 27 November to 1 December 2013, starring Michael Ball, Lea Salonga, David Harris, Amanda Harrison and Marie Zamora.  Featuring the Shanghai Opera Orchestra and Choir.

– Special performance of “Do You Hear The People Sing?” at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Manila on 29 & 30 January, headlined by Lea Salonga, David Harris and Marie Zamora, in support of the Yolanda Rebuilding Progam. These concerts raised AU$600,000 to assist with the rebuilding of 200 homes devastated by Typhoon Yolanda through Habitat for Humanity Philippines, through ‘Habitat for Humanity Philippines‘.

– 29 March 2014 the show is in the TICC (Taipei International Convention Center), Taipei, Taiwan, starring Michael Ball, David Harris, Amanda Harrison, Ana Marina and Jennifer Paz.

– Several other dates around Asia, Australia and New Zealand are currently in development.

La Conciergerie is a former royal palace and prison in Paris, France, located on the west of the Ile de la Cite (literally island of the city), near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. It is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice, which is still used for judicial purposes. Hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution were taken from La Conciergerie to be executed on the guillotine at a number of locations around Paris.

© RicardMN Photography

Poster ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’ in Newport Performing Arts Theatre, Manila, 29/30 January 2014

The Conciergerie prison, also known as the “antechamber to the guillotine”, became the central penitentiary of a network of prisons throughout Paris, and was the final stop of over 2,700 people who were summarily executed by guillotine. The dank dungeons were a stark contrast to the beautiful architecture of the palace above. The quality of life of the prisoners was based mainly on their personal wealth, and the whims of the jailers who watched over them.

The revolutionary period continued the prison’s tradition of interning prisoners based on wealth, where the wealthier prisoners could rent a bed for 27 livres 12 sous for the first month, then down to 22 livres 10 sous for the subsequent months. Even when the price was lowered to 15 livres, the commanders of the prison made a fortune: as the Terror escalated, a prisoner could pay for a bed and be executed a few days later, opening the bed for a new inmate who would pay in turn. One memoirist called the Conciergerie “the most lucrative furnished lodgings in Paris”. Only celebrity prisoners got cells to themselves. Most of the pistole inmates were stuffed into a single room which abutted a local hospital, making disease an inevitability. The cramped cells were infested with rats, and the stench of urine permeated every room.

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