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Cirque Musica provided three-rings worth of entertainment on Tuesday night as the traveling circus followed through with its promise to dazzle the audiencein the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
Combining a circus and a full live symphony orchestra has, as said by Cirque Musica’s host with the oh-so-recognizable hair, never been done before.
The live instruments bolstered the two-and-a-half-hour show and provided a fun inlet to not only classical music, but the full capabilities of the orchestra.
From new power pop ballads reminiscent of the 1980s to the ominous, foreboding tones of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” those unfamiliar with the versatility and power of the orchestra were given a baptism by fire at Cirque Musica.
Provided with a guffaw-worthy entrance by “The Clown of Clowns,” David Larible, the orchestra broke into the familiar “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite” march, a fitting introduction to a show that was very intent on retaining a touch of the old-time mystique exemplified by the early 1900s circus experience.
Several acts, both physically impressive and extremely dangerous, followed.
One of the more memorable displays involved violinist Veronica Gan performing Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” while flying through the air, while a mother-daughter team, both members of the famous Wallenda circus family, performed daring feats on a tightrope, leaving the audience high-strung.
Gan’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s concerto was sublime, but she also had positive words to say about the community of musicians that she was given the opportunity to work with and the whole production.
“Working with the local musicians offers a nice opportunity to work with and meet musicians around the world,” Gan said.
“I have particularly heard many great things about the musicians of IUP and am very much looking forward to working with them tomorrow,” Gan said prior to the show.
Other memorable performances at Cirque Musica include a strongman doing handstands on a very unstable ladder, an acrobat standing on her head on a swinging trapeze, the Skywheel of Death and a steel globe with three speeding motorcycles in it.
The Skywheel act featured a pair of circus performers doing various things on a massive rotating steel contraption, including tossing a chain back and forth and jumping rope.
The performers were tripped up a bit on this one, as the chain fell to the floor and the performer jumping rope nearly tripped and fell.
These errors served as a reminder that these performances are real, these acts are extremely dangerous and that these circus performers risk their bodies and potentially their lives every night.
In a time period when lots of amazing things are seen on the Internet, in movies or in another situation where there is no real danger present, this performance felt incredibly fresh because all of it was real.
Cirque Musica is definitely a one-of-a-kind act and one that deserves to be seen.
The combination of the circus and a live orchestra is a new idea and an easy road into classical music for circus fans and the circus for classical music fans.
The lighting, music and death-defying performances all helped create the feeling of a good, old-fashioned fun time at the circus.