We recently saw Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” at the Moody Center in Austin, and there were many moments where the whole crowd gasped or laughed in unison. Corteo is entirely in Italian and full of weirdness and whimsy. Following the story of a clown’s funeral procession, they captured the audience with incredible acrobatics and surprised everyone with sheer delight at some of the unexpected comedy routines.
We’ve been lucky enough to see several Cirque du Soleil shows in the past including Totem and Crystal. While you might think they’d all bring a similar experience, each show shocks you with vastly different performances and unique atmospheres. Corteo is an Italian word meaning procession. Although this is about a death, it’s not a dark show in any way. It’s fun, festive, and kid-friendly. Just imagine how insane a clown’s sendoff might be!
Here is the official description of the show:
Corteo, which means “cortege” in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy, and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.
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Fun and Unusual Theme
The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy, and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth. Corteo’s atmosphere was an enchanting golden glow of candlelight. I was constantly admiring the beautiful costumes, especially the angels in fluffy, flowing dresses.
In the first scene, these dresses were torn away to reveal vibrant pink and purple outfits for aerial performances. Three women performed synchronized aerial acrobatics on three giant chandeliers. Now, this show was a little weirder than the ones we’ve seen previously. Unless you’ve read up on the show, you would never know what certain things are supposed to represent. For example, the three women on the chandeliers are the Dreamer Clown’s former loves. It was the first of many stunning aerial acts.
Corteo Is Quirky
However, there are some scenes that seem to have no meaning at all, like the golf scene. A Giant Clown walks on stage, intent on giving it his best shot. Unfortunately for him, the golf ball is a person’s head sticking up out of the stage floor. The head keeps moving to avoid being wacked by the Giant Clown. This was super funny, yet so random.
As always, the talent found in their shows is epic. This holds true in Corteo. Here are a few of the acts we enjoyed the most.
CORTEO’S JAMMED PACKED WITH IMPRESSIVE ACTS
As always the talent found in their shows is epic and this holds true in Corteo. Here are a few of the act’s we enjoyed the most.
If you have never seen anyone perform in person on a Cyr wheel you are in for a treat. Not only does someone perform on one, five-artists perform! Some do solos and some do group figures on Cyr wheels. It was all extremely impressive.
The artists cross paths in an act that marries horizontal bar techniques with circus arts. The complexity of the act defies gravity keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Noah was in gymnastics for 15 years, so I have seen first-hand how hard these skills are to learn. Not only have they learned all these impressive skills, they’ve taken them to the next level.
In this mesmerizing act, a duet uses aerial straps to create a magical and tender connection that enchants with beautiful displays of agility, balance and strength.
This is one of those acts that can typically be found in any Cirque du Soleil, as it should, because it’s amazing to watch.
A ladder specialist amazes the audience with his unnerving balance and finesse as he performs on various ladders. I can’t even begin to explain on of the trick this guy did with the ladder. His act is one worth seeing in person.
Two groups of artists lend rhythm with their voices and percussion work while the acrobats redefine teeterboard technique where speed is rivaled by complexity.
What is a teeterboard you are now wondering? Well, think back to your childhood. When you were playing on the playground there was a seesaw. Imagine doing flips and tricks on that seesaw…….yes, that’s what they’ve done! (It’s pictured above.)
This a high-flying and bouncing act where guys toss girls back and forth through the air, while the girls perform flips.
This time the stage was set up quite differently. It reminded me a bit of Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles set up in Las Vegas. This one though isn’t seen from all sides, just two.
Set Designer Jean Rabasse has divided the Arena and its rotating stage in two, with each half of the audience facing the other half, so they see not only the performance but also have a performer’s eye view of the audience. This is a first for Cirque du Soleil.
I enjoyed the setup. I felt like we had a great view and we were not seated center or down low. The way they have it set up, I assume everyone has a good view.
As a massive trombone fan, I must acknowledge what an outstanding job the trombonist did throughout the show. All of the music in the show is excellent, but there was one song early in the show where the trombone was just as good if not better than the action on stage. They spread the musicians out to different parts of the stage, so sadly I never got a look at the trombone player. If I can find out more details I will update this!
Fun Facts about Corteo
- Corteo first premiered in Montreal in 2005 and has visited more than 60 cities in 19 different countries as a Big Top show before transforming into an arena show in 2016.
- Corteo celebrated its 3,500th performance in 2015 in Bogotá, Colomba.
- More than 8 million people have been enthralled by the world of Corteo.
- In the remount process, from the Big tent to the arena, new acts have been added to the Corteo show with a small adaptation to the original storyline.
- The cast is an international one, representing more than 18 nationalities. Performers are from Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States and Uzbekistan.
- Although you will generally hear French and English spoken on-site, many other languages are spoken: Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and more.