Music soars to stunning new heights along with aerial fliers and acrobats, when they (plus contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen) perform their death- and gravity-defying Cirque feats to popular classical masterpieces-all live, on stage and dramatically backed by a full orchestra for Pacific Symphony Pops. This jaw-dropping fusion of two art forms wows Symphony audiences of all ages for a third time, as the internationally recognized and award-winning artists of "Cirque de la Symphonie" take to the air and push themselves to the limit in a "spectacular event" that couples the "magical musical styling of Pacific Symphony" with the "playfulness of acrobats sharing the same stage," according to A Taste of Dawn Magazine in a review that followed a performance in April 2012.
Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman leads the orchestra through stirring repertoire of audience favorites including John Williams’ "Flight to Neverland" from the movie "Hook," Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from "Swan Lake," scores from Leonard Bernstein’s "Candide" and Camille Saint-Saëns’ "Baccanale" from "Samson and Delilah" and "Danse Macabre," among other classical pieces. "Cirque de la Symphonie" dazzles Thursday through Saturday, May 1-3, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $25- $160; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
"I’ve always loved leading concerts that combine music and movement on stage," says Maestro Kaufman. "This is my first opportunity conducting for the remarkable performers of ‘Cirque de la Symphonie’ and I am especially excited to experience their fantastic talents and unique presentation. The orchestra will perform some of the most popular music in the classical repertoire, and I know the audience is in for quite a time-both audibly and visually. It’s the type of show in which the audience will use all their senses, and will come away with a feeling that they’ve experienced something very special!"
The program also includes Julius Fucik’s "Entrance of the Gladiators," Antonin Dvorák’s Slavonic Dance No. 7 in C Major, Jean Sibelius’ "Finlandia," Ottorino Respighi’s "Tarantella" from "La Boutique Fantasque (The Fantastic Toy Shop)," selections from Manuel de Falla’s "La Vida Breve" and "El Amor Brujo," and pieces from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s "Capriccio Espagnol" and "The Snow Maiden."
"One doesn’t usually hear gasps, oohs and aahs from a symphony orchestra audience, but then one doesn’t usually see a woman dangling by her feet from a hoop that swings high above the lip of the stage as an orchestra plays," said Elaine Schmidt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The aerial acts are breathtaking, with performers working high above the stage without nets or wires. The tumbling, juggling and strong man acts, which take place on the stage in front of the orchestra, are equally gripping and polished."
"Cirque de la Symphonie" combines the extraordinary talents and extended experience of its performers: Alexander Streltsov, Christine Van Loo, Jarek and Darek’s "Duo Design," Aloysia Gavre, Vladimir Tsarkov, Irina Burdetsky, Sagiv Ben Binyamin, Elena Tsarkova and Le Petit Cirque Trio, including Lili Dong, Nate Nordine and Celeste Copeland.
Streltsov, a Russian aerial artist, began working with future Cirque du Soleil
choreographer Payel Brun when he was only 12. He has performed for three Russian presidents and the Bolshoi Ballet, as well as the star-studded ABC-TV special "Christopher Reeve-A Celebration of Hope" and the PBS nationwide broadcast of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s July 4 celebration.
Van Loo is a seven-time consecutive national champion, a female Olympic athlete of the year and athlete of the decade in acrobatic gymnastics. As a professional aerialist and acrobat she has performed in the 2002 Winter Olympics, at two Grammy Awards ceremonies, at the American Music Awards, the Miss Universe pageant and in Paul McCartney’s European tour. She is also credited with choreographing the aerials for the Britney Spears World Tour and the Stars on Ice U.S. Tour.
The "Duo Design" act of Jaroslaw Marciniak and Dariusz Wronski, former Polish national hand-balancing champions, has been seen throughout the U.S. and Europe. Over the past few years, these prolific performers have thrilled audiences at several NBA halftimes, in Cirque du Soleil, Circus Circus, at Busch Gardens and in the national tour of Cirque Ingenieux.
Gavre’s aerial acrobatics and graceful maneuvers on the aerial hoop, suspended high above the stage, have earned her the designation as one of the best aerial artists in the world. Gavre is a veteran of Cirque du Soleil’s "Quidam" and "O," and a special prize winner at the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo. She also serves as choreographer for Cirque Mechanics and Troupe Vertigo and as director of Cirque School in Los Angeles.
Tsarkov’s Red Harlequin act features rings, balls and batons, including combinations of mime and juggling feats. Tsarkov is a graduate of Russia’s prestigious State College of Circus and Theater Arts and a veteran of Circus Circus and Cirque Ingenieux. Tsarkov won the gold medal at the Cirque de Demain International Festival in France.
Burdetsky grew up in a circus family in Moscow and was trained by some of the
greatest names in acrobatics, gymnastics and hoops. She was awarded the Grand Silver Medal by the Queen of Monaco at the Concours International Des Ecoles de Cirque in Monte Carlo. Burdetsky has starred in such programs as Japan’s Circus-Mircus, world tours of Cirque Ingenieux, Cirque La Masque and in Showboat in Atlantic City.
Binyamin’s mastery of trapeze, fabrics, rope, hand balancing and acrobatics quickly attracted the attention of circus companies and major entertainment producers. A native of Israel, his stunt credits include movies such as "Polar Express" and productions such as Universal Studios’ "Spiderman Rocks." He is famous for his acrobatics with Teatro ZinZanni,Cirque Productions, Anti-Gravity, Cirque de la Mer, Velocity Circus, Eye of Newt Circus and the Birdhouse Factory, and he has worked with major performing artists such as Cher.
Tsarkova, also known as the "Lady in White," is a graduate of the famed Moscow Circus School and is a first-place winner of the prestigious National Russian Circus Festival. She has performed with the Big Apple Circus, Switzerland’s Circus Knie and with Germany’s Circus Roncalli. Her combination of contortion, balance and graceful dance moves has made her a major star with Cirque de la Mur in Florida and Circus Circus in Las Vegas.
"Le Petit Cirque Trio" includes three young cirque acrobats, Dong, Nordine and Copeland, from Le Studio circus arts program in Culver City, Calif. These pint-size cirque wonders have already accumulated collective experience with Sony Pictures, NBC’s "The Cape," Cirque du Monde, Jamie Lee Curtis’s "Dream Halloween," the Black Cat Cabaret and as preshow entertainment for Cirque du Soleil’s "Ovo." The Trio performs with artistic direction from Nathalie Gaultheir and choreography from Cirque de la Symphonie’s own Shana Lord.
The Symphony’s Pops series receives additional support from American Airlines, Avenue of the Arts Wyndham Hotel, K-Earth 101 and PBS SoCal.