Composer of Hit Paris Musical Notre Dame Convicted of Tax Fraud

News   Composer of Hit Paris Musical Notre Dame Convicted of Tax Fraud Richard Cocciante, composer of the hit stage musical Notre Dame de Paris, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, was convicted of tax fraud by a Paris court March 20 and given a ten-month jail term plus a 37.500 dollars fine.

Cocciante, 60, and his wife Catherine were found guilty of concealing profits of some six million euros ($7.3 million) from the show which was a sensation in Paris after it opened in 1998.

He was not in court for sentencing and his wife said they intend to appeal. In a press release Cocciante, who now lives in Ireland, declared that he has clear evidence that the taxes claimed by the French government for the year 2000 were regularly paid in Ireland.

Born in Saigon of French and Italian parents, Cocciante had a brilliant career in the European pop charts in the 1970s and 80s, recording many ballads in several different languages, before turning towards the musical theatre. He topped the Italian and French charts, and some of his songs are now considered modern classics in those countries.

Notre Dame de Paris has been staged in several cities around the world including Beijing, Las Vegas (at the Paris Las Vegas resort) and Moscow. The show has known an unprecedented success in Italy, where it was seen by over 1.5 million people, and played dozens of venues including the purpose-built 3,000 seats Gran Teatro in Rome and the 12,000 seats Roman Arena in Verona, usually devoted to operas. The show was aired live in prime time by the public television channel Rai Uno.

The English language version, which opened in London’s West End, was preceded by a concept album which featured Celine Dion, Tina Arena and Steve Balsamo. Celine Dion used to perform one song from “Notre Dame de Paris” in her long running megashow “A New Day” created by Franco Dragone at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace. After Notre Dame de Paris Cocciante wrote a new musical based upon the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery The Little Prince, which was not as successful as his first show. He is now working on a new musical based upon William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which was premiered in a press-only event at Romes Colosseum last September and will officially open at Verona’s Roman Arena in the summer of 2007.

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