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Christine Van Loo, photo courtesy of the NAC.

NAC’s unlikely combo offers thrills, chills, and classical music

By She Who Must Be Obeyed on June 24, 2016

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What are the first things that come to mind when you think of popular classical music? Waltzes. Epic movie scores. Broadway show-tunes. Circus acts. Wait, what?

That was kinda my reaction when I found out about Cirque de la Symphonie, which opened last night at the National Arts Centre. According to the website: “Gasp at circus feats while reveling in the Orchestra’s rendition of Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and other classics.” Intrigued, I decided to give it a go, and was darn happy I did.

The show is outstanding. Conductor Jack Everly and host Manon St-Jules strike just the right tone of cheesy repartée. The National Arts Centre Orchestra is faultless, as usual. All of this will fall to the background as you, literally, gasp at the circus feats.

On stage are seven acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, dancers, balancers, strongmen and aerial performers. Each solo or duet circus act lasts the length of one piece of music. My thirteen-year old guest was thrilled to experience Harry’s Wondrous World (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Children’s Suite) while watching an artist on the aerial silks. The movements in each number are perfectly choreographed to the mood and timing of the music.

The performers are Olympians, world record holders and gold-medal winners of various international circus competitions. The best circuses provide not only entertainment but acts daring enough to make the audience worry. Cirque de la Symphonie delivers. You’ll find yourself perched on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

This is the last NACO Pops concert of the season and the last chance to see the current Southam Hall. Come Monday, the performance space will be close for renovations. Fall will see a grand reveal of the new space.

Cirque de la Symphonie runs June 23-25 in the NAC’s Southam Hall. The bilingual performances begin at 8 pm and last 2½ hours including intermission. Tickets start at $25, although $15 Trinity Live Rush tickets are available to eligible students.

She Who Must Be Obeyed blogs about the circus that is her life (surprisingly little symphony to it ;-)) at travellargefamily