Aeralist Christine Van Loo. Photo-Cirque de la Symphonie
Cirque de la Symphonie
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.
The Louisville Orchestra is doing a fantastic job of thinking outside of the box and reaching out to the community in new and innovative ways, as well as revisiting other avenues as well, such as their Music without Borders series.
Saturday, in a successful effort to thrill and delight young and old alike, highly skilled Cirque performers were added to the fold. Grounded in skills and artistry that one would normally expect to see at the circus, members of the Cirque troop add beautiful costumes, gasp inspiring aerials, and laughter inducing clowns and music to a program of magnificent music.
The evening started with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, op 96. Well, if this doesn’t suggest that a fun time is about to be had by all, I don’t know what will. It was a great choice as an appetizer for the grander entertainment to come.
As the Orchestra ended the Overture a stagehand attached a rope to an industrial clip. A Cirque performer, Christine Van Loo, climbed and danced upon this rope all with Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre op. 40 as her the soundtrack, and her movements were beautifully timed with the nuances of the piece. Needless to say, she caused a few gasps from the audience.
A couple of excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen, including Les Toreadors introduced us to Vladimir Tsarkov as a talented juggler and aerialist Alexander Streltsov who demonstrated great balance and skill within a 3D cube.
Soon we are introduced to child contortionist Nate Nordine, and Alina Sergeeva, who delighted the audience with her hula-hoop skills, including the use of what I counted to be about 14 hoops at the same time, all set to the music of de Falla, Mendelssohn and Kabalevsky.
Another stage adjustment is made, bands are reattached to the clip, and our Louisville Orchestra begins the familiar strings of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Out comes aerialist Vitalii Buza, who fully entertained with his physical abilities on the bands, high above the stage. And yes, there was flying. Mr. Buza flew over the crowd a bit and it was lovely.
I dare say that the orchestra was just as excited about this performance, as they were spot on with every motion of the baton; and that says a lot as there was plenty going on downstage to be distracted by.
In the second act De Abreu’s Tico-Tico No Fuba was a perfect setting to Ms. Sergeeva’s quick-change abilities, with the assistance of Mr. Tsarkov, dressed in a very lovely Harlequin costume, who then performed with spindle and string.
In between and with the Cirque performances the Orchestra kept up the fun with pieces by Smetana, Kabelevsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Strauss. I’d like to congratulate the Percussion section of the Orchestra: within this set they were presented with challenging entrances and rhythms and all were handled with aplomb.
To finish there was an aerial dance with silks by Ms. Van Loo and Mr. Streltsov, set to Tchaikovsky’s Valse from Swan Lake. The pair was absolutely stunning and breathtaking in their movements, physicality and abilities.
Throughout the evening I noticed the reactions of some of the children in the audience to the Cirque acts on stage (the orchestra actually had a shortened version of this performance earlier in the day with their OrKIDStra program) and, as one would imagine, there were giggles and oohs and ahs but there was one young listener that caught my eye, a young girl, sitting in her seat, conducting just like Maestro Abrams. Watch out Teddy, I think someone may be gunning for your position one day.
As I stated, the Orchestra was in fine form and sound and I look forward to more collaborations that allow the Orchestra innovative opportunities to showcase their talent and abilities, further cementing themselves as a World Class group of musicians.
Cirque de la Symphonie
September 20, 2014
Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
[box_light]Annette Skaggs is a heavily involved Arts Advocate here in Louisville and freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York Opera and Northwestern University. She has a 25+ year knowledge of the Classical Arts.[/box_light]