Sunday, March 22, 2009

Running away to join the Cirque de la Symphonie

Yesterday Andrew and I attended the ESO performance of Cirque de la Symphonie. This show wasn't a part of our normal ESO series package, but as subscribers to the orchestra we received a fifty dollar voucher to purchase tickets to any show from the 2009 season. Since we both enjoyed the Cirque du Soliel show we saw a few years ago at Rexall place, we thought this would be a good choice. We were able to score tickets in row 'F' which put us quite close to the stage--normally, we sit in the first row of the second balcony.

I felt the music selected for program was quite good and I was familiar with most of it. The afternoon featured several pieces by Dvorak, Khachaturian, and Bizet and singles from Saint-Saens, Ravel and Copland. In fact, I think Copland's Hoedown (from Rodeo) is one of my favourite pieces and I really need to get a copy of it on CD. I also thought the layout of the program was quite smart. They started off with the lively Carnival Overture by Dvorak, which featured just the orchestra. From then on they more or less alternated between performer and orchestra, and just orchestra. It's a good way to introduce non-symphony goes to classical music. The Winspear was pretty much full up yesterday afternoon, which is never the case on our regular Friday night Master's shows. From my seat I could see a little girl, who was probably five or six, who I often noticed bobbing up and down to the music.

The cirque performers were very entertaining, which I suppose is there job. There's something fascinating about the extreme capabilities of the human body (this is possibly why the Olympics are so popular). There was a mix of acrobatics, flexibility, hand-eye coordination and strength. I must admit, that I was the least impressed with the acrobatics as I couldn't help but think: "Well I could do that...if I practiced a little bit...although I might not be quite as flexible." Don't get me wrong, they were good, they just weren't my favourites.

The afternoon's first performer was the "Lady in White." She was a flexibility/gymnastic act and performed on a little contraption that looked like two bar stools joined together. Her music was the Waltz (from Masquerade Suite) by Khachaturian, which I adore. I find it interesting, what evokes an "ooh" or "ahh" from the audience. I think for her, it was some of the strange ways she was able to move her body, like flexing her legs like butterfly wings while in a handstand. I think the juggler came next--he actually performed in both acts. In the first half he juggled rings, I think there were seven or eight in the end. In the second half he used propellers that actually twirled as he tossed them--it was pretty cool.

The act I really wanted to comment on were the strong/balancing men. They were the very last performers and were definitely the crowd favourites. They performed to Bolero by Ravel. First off, these guys are crazy-muscular. There probably isn't an ounce of fat on their bodies, which is a good thing since they perform wearing nothing more than what amounts to gold underwear and gold body paint. The one guy was slightly larger and served as the base for all their movies, while the other was a little smaller and was sort of the "centre piece." Being so close to the front we could see how much the bigger guy shook when he kept still as the other guy climbed on his head and posed. The things they did were nuts, I couldn't possible provide a description that does them justice. As a testament to how amazing these guys were, at one point I noticed that the conductor, Bill Eddins wasn't really conducting any more. He had turned around to watch what the performers were doing and was laughing in the amazed sort of way some people do when they don't know how else to response to what they're seeing. They were very cool.

I think that's about all I've got for now. I will try to put up some progress pictures on our garden soon, although not much has changed, the green things have just gotten a little bigger.



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