STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Whoa, what’s the Philadelphia Orchestra doing here?
In the “cirque” tradition, Cirque de la Symphonie has a human-based circus of acrobats, aerialists, balancers, strongmen and jugglers. But what sets their gravity-defying and stomach-flipping skills apart is they’re the only cirque troupe that choreographs their performance to a live soundtrack by the symphony orchestras of the cities they’re touring.
The show comes to the area this weekend, with performances Saturday and Sunday at the Kimmel Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Cristian Macelaru.
“It’s unusual to have the opportunity to see this in the winter indoors in Philadelphia,” noted Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Gloria dePasquale, who has previously worked musically with cirque performers in outdoor settings at the Mann Center and at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY.
“They do a fantastic job of selecting the music and coordinating their routines to the music. It’s really incredibly powerful,” she added, saying that the cirque performers have an artistic sensitivity to the timing and mood of the pieces.
To hear another one of the musicians tell it, the orchestra actually envies the audience for being able to fully enjoy Cirque de la Symphonie. “We’re all on stage … so we’re part of the show. The struggle for the musicians is watching the page (of sheet music) and paying attention to the music,” said Wyncote resident Hal Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra. And this is coming from a guy in his 20th season in Philly that has performed the music for operas and ballets, which have strong visual elements.
The musical program will be comprised of “high energy” “light classics,” Robinson said, including movie score music by John Williams and Tchaikovsky’s waltz from “Swan Lake.” “It’s a great way to introduce classical music to kids,” he said, urging you to search your Groupon notices for discounts on Cirque de la Symphonie tickets.
“This is music people are going to recognize,” said dePasquale, a Narberth resident that’s been with the orchestra since 1977. “If you have kids chafing at the bit to do something … this is something new and genuine.”
Check out www.cirquedelasymphonie.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Cirque de la Symphonie, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra.
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 3 and 2 p.m. Jan. 4.
Where: Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.
Info.: Call (215) 893-1999 or visit www.philorch.org.