If not immediately obvious, the term cirque is French for “circus,” and is all the rage right now across the country (especially in Las Vegas). What cirque actually represents, though, is far more intercontinental as an innovative mix of American circus arts, European acrobatics and general street entertainment developed in Canada. For sheer “ooh” and “ahh” value to draw crowds, there probably isn’t a better avenue to travel.
This popular form of amusement, mixed with highbrow classical music, anchors Utah Symphony’s Cirque de la Symphonie program, making it a perfect fit for its Entertainment Series opener. Some of the most intriguing cirque artists the world over will balance, dance and juggle while the Utah Symphony performs both classic and contemporary compositions by masters such as Dvorák, Bizet and Tchaikovsky. Even more exciting will be the brilliant contortionists scheduled to create human pretzels onstage in front of a full symphony orchestra. Now that, inarguably, is entertainment.
But wait, there’s more. Aerial flyers soaring above the typically austere symphony assemblage will also be among the world-record holders, gold-medal winners and past Olympians who have all fine-tuned their unique performances to the distinctive environs of Abravanel Hall.
In charge of this experiment in wild juxtaposition, acting as temporary ringmaster of the cirque, will be Utah Symphony’s new principal pops conductor, Jerry Steichen.