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Monday, Jan. 4, 2010

Cirque de la Symphonie Excites With MSO

Classical Review

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Combining aerialists, jugglers and acrobats with classical music played by an orchestra is the most exciting idea to hit the symphonic pops circuit in some time. Cirque de la Symphonie played three concerts with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend to large and diverse audiences. The best thing about the Saturday evening performance was that it all happened to an uncompromised classical hit parade of well-played, real music.

Cirque de la Symphonie began playing dates in 2006, and has built to a substantial career with major and minor orchestras in North America. It’s easy to see why. The act apparently changes with each date. For the MSO appearance a troupe of four men and three women performed on and above the apron of the stage, in front of the orchestra.

A blond woman dressed in black climbed a white rope 20 feet above the stage and did dazzling choreographed tricks to Saint-Sans’ Danse macabre. A male aerialist dressed in white tights swung high above the audience to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” The other acts included a charming Harlequin mime juggler, a woman aerialist on a high ring, an acrobat on two stylized stools doing a dizzying parade of poses, and a man manipulating a giant metal-framed box. It was all artfully and gracefully done, with stylish European flair.

In the showstopper finale two gold-painted men presented slow-moving, seemingly impossible combinations of strength and acrobatics to a movement from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. I just have three more words to add about Cirque de la Symphonie: Bring ’em back.

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