My bucket list never really gets shorter but there are some things so outrageously wonderful that I wouldn’t even think to put them on my list. One of those experiences happened this week when I was invited to the premiere of Corteo by Cirque du Soleil along with the opportunity to attend a rehearsal and go behind the scenes to learn about the show. I fell madly in love with the elegance, music, danger, and surrealism of Corteo. It was like witnessing a fantastical dream come to life before my eyes.
Before the 7:30 show, I, along with my mom and sister, were invited to go behind the scenes and tour the Bell Centre arena. Once inside the arena, I was amazed by how they transformed the space. The stage was in the middle of the arena, creating two halves of the audience that face each other. It was like they designed two smaller theaters that mirrored one other, creating a more intimate setting. We were the only spectators in the entire arena and we watched performers rehearsing for the show. We felt like royalty. I still can’t believe that I get to experience such events and bringing my mother and sister along added to the intense pride and joy that I felt.
Still in a dream, I watched as the performers prepared for the show. There were performers on stage getting positioning just right. There were performers behind the stage bouncing on beds, flipping on trampolines, juggling, and lifting weights. There were performers everywhere. It was so outside of my world that I just kept smiling and shaking my head in wonderment.
We spent an hour exploring and learning about the production before leaving for dinner and my anticipation for the show was at an all time high.
Returning to the arena, I was even more delighted to find out that we had floor seats and we were only one row back from the stage. Could our experience be any more unbelievable? It might have actually been a dream.
Then, it continued.
Corteo is a tribute to the European circus tradition and opens with the funeral of a clown. Rather than being sad or morose, it’s a joyous celebration of his life. His life flashes before his eyes in a series of wonderfully surreal scenes.
The elaborate scenic design is impressive as performers appear to fly on and off the stage and elegant costumes and sets dazzle us. We were immersed in a world of jugglers, acrobatic acts, hoop twirlers, and gymnasts spinning and intricately criss-crossing on bars and rings. One of my favorite moments was when a performer used a ladder for a mesmerizing balancing act. He climbed so high on the free-standing ladder that it was like he was ascending steps to Heaven.
It wasn’t just the scenes that immersed you in the dream-like setting of Corteo. The music was equally surreal. There was a mix of violin, chimes, saxophone, string bass, keyboards, water glasses, and even a human whistler that seemed unworldly.
We sat with our mouths agape the entire show. My usually reserved mother yelled with delight and said her hands hurt after the show from clapping so much. Even my quiet sister couldn’t contain her excitement. It was a wonderful gift to bring the beauty of Cirque du Soleil to my family. I loved it so much that I’m returning again in a few days to bring Athena and Cord along for the expeirence.