April 24, 2009 in Features

Event unites classical music, aerial tricks of Cirque de Soleil

Cirque de la Symphonie brings together classical music with the aerial tricks of Cirque de Soleil
By The Spokesman-Review
Courtesy of the Spokane Symphony photo

Alexander Streltsov is among the performers taking part in Cirque de la Symphonie. Courtesy of the Spokane Symphony
(Full-size photo)

If you go

Cirque de la Symphonie, Spokane Symphony SuperPops

When: Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: INB Performing Arts Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Cost: $23 to $53

Call: The symphony ticket office (509-624-1200) or TicketsWest outlets (509-325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com)

’Stop the Presses’

 Cirque de la Symphonie isn’t the only concert this weekend involving classical music and acrobatics.

 The other one is “Stop the Presses,” a Spokane Youth Symphony concert with guest artist Janice Martin, Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.

 Martin is a world-class violinist, pianist, singer, dancer and acrobat. She does choreographed dance and gymnastic moves while she plays.

 The Youth Symphony’s artistic director, Verne Windham, said she’s “perfect for giving our young musicians the realization that if you can imagine it, you can do it.”

 Tickets are available through TicketsWest outlets (509-325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

Cirque de la Symphonie combines two venerable European traditions: classical music and the circus. Or, should we say, the cirque.

This Spokane Symphony SuperPops concert features high-flying performers more in the tradition of Cirque de Soleil (although not associated with that group) than the Ringling Bros.

For instance, when the symphony launches into the familiar “Toreadores” from Bizet’s Carmen Suite, performer Alexander Streltsov will take stage center, showing off his aerial moves and his world-class cube-spinning skills.

And not just any cube. It’s a giant cube, made of tubing, and he can spin it so fast it looks like a massive blur.

Streltsov, originally from Russia, has been performing cirque-style acts since he was 12. He’s typical of the performers in Cirque de la Symphonie, many of whom are from Russia.

Elena Tsarkova, for instance, is a graduate of the Moscow Circus School. She’s a contortionist, gymnast and dancer.

Some of her fellow performers, including Aloysia Gavre, will soar high over the stage in feats of aerial acrobatics.

Others, including, the Polish strongman duo Jarek and Darek, will stay more earthbound. They’ll perform feats of strength and balance while the symphony performs the mighty Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach. (For a video preview, go to www.cirquedelasymphonie.com.)

As eye-popping as some of these acts should be, the music, under the baton of resident conductor Morihiko Nakahara, promises to be an equally compelling attraction.

The program includes some of the most jaunty and popular works in the entire classical repertoire, including:

• Saint-Saens’ “Dance Macabre” and “Bacchanale.”

• Tchaikovsky’s “Danse des Cygnes” from “Swan Lake” and the waltz movement from Symphony No. 5.

• Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Danse des Bouffons” (“Dance of the Clowns”) from “The Snow Maiden.”

• Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture” and “Slavonic Dance.”

• Khachaturian’s “Valse” from “Masquerade.”

• Bizet’s “Toreadores” and “Danse Boheme” from “Carmen.”

• Two John Williams pieces, one from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and one from “Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones.”

The cirque acts are choreographed to harmonize, in a sense, with these sprightly and well-known musical works.

Cirque de la Symphonie performed a concert with the Seattle Symphony last summer and the Seattle Times reported that the capacity crowd of kids and adults “could not have been more pleased.”

Critic Tom Keogh called it “unexpectedly illuminating.”

“A black tie orchestra kept up a three-ring atmosphere,” he wrote.

Jim Kershner can be reached at (509) 459-5493 or by e-mail at jimk@spokesman.com.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email