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Tourism for Tomorrow

Cirque du Soleil


  Cirque du Soleil

 

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Las Vegas is a bit like a diamond mine. You have to move hundreds of tons of dirt and stone to find one good diamond. Fortunately for all of us, Cirque du Soleil is easier to locate.

Though going to the Cirque du Soleil requires advance planning, it is worth the effort. Tickets are available online and via telephone up to 90 days before the shows, and usually the best seats are gone within a few days or weeks of availability. If you prefer to play it safe and pay retail, they are available at www.CirqueduSoleil.com. Sometimes, a good concierge or other ticket service might have a few premium tickets, but the time I asked, they offered me tickets to "O" at $500 apiece.

Three shows are permanently located in Las Vegas: Mystére at the Treasure Island hotel, "O" at the Bellagio hotel, and Zumanity at New York, New York hotel. All of these are on the new strip along Las Vegas Boulevard.

In early August of 2003, we had the opportunity to review Mystére and "O". Our recommendation would be to see the shows in that order, Mystére first, then "O".

 

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"A wake-up call provided by pounding drums. A pair of babies making their way in a world filled with strange creatures and brilliant colors. A misguided clown who can bring this smooth-running production to a grinding halt. Add acrobats, dancers and musicians who serve as guides on a journey to the edge of human potential, and it can only mean one thing …"
 
Mystère .

With this introduction, the audience is plunged into a dramatic sensory experience that is captivating and exhilarating. Even glittering Las Vegas seems diminished as you leave the show and your senses attempt to adjust to the real world. This is truly a magical world with unusual creatures, breathtaking feats of strength and balance and a musical performance that leaves the audience wanting more.

Opened in 1993 at the Treasure Island hotel in their own custom theatre, Mystére has consistently charmed audiences and set a new standard for stage productions in a city known for extravagent shows.

Part of what makes this show magical is the combination of humor and audience involvement. Even before the main show begins, there is a delightful interaction with the clowns that brings the audience into the experience. During the show, there are interludes that amuse, delight and draw the viewer into the magic that is happening onstage.  

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The music, performed by a live band, creates the energetic environment for the magical events onstage. The songs follow the Cirque du Soleil non-language tradition, which enhances the exotic feeling. The theatre is well designed and provides excellent acoustics.

The show itself seems larger than the stage, with constant activity beyond the stage.  Viewers near the stage see details while those farther away gain a broader perspective and a better view of the overall show.

For us, Mystére  is among the best reasons to visit to Las Vegas and we would not want to miss it.   It is also a good value, as the earlier show to be produced, the tickets are a bit less expensive than its counterpart "O". Though the Treasure Island venue is a bit downmarket, once inside the theatre, the performers deliver a great show.

 

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"Inspired by the concept of infinity and by the pure form of the letter "O", the title of this production is also a phonetic representation of the French word for water, the element embodied by this show. With an international cast performing in, on and above water, Cirque du Soleil's "O" tells the tale of theatre through the ages and frees us to lose ourselves in a world without limits."

Located at the Bellagio Hotel in a theatre especially constructed to house this extravaganza, "O" has pushed the boundaries, even for Cirque du Soleil. What is most remarkable is the variety of ways the water comes into play in the choreography of the show.

Most tumbling and acrobatic shows require some kind of nets or safety mats in case of accidents. In "O", the entire stage under the act is a huge tank of water into which the players leap with complete abandon. There is tremendous movement in and out of the water, one minute the stage is full of dancing players, next there are just ripples in the water where they have disappeared

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Cirque is renowned for its innovative equipment and the mechanism shown below is no exception. Elevated over the stage, the performers do exciting acrobatic manuevers while the entire mechanism swings back and forth, and still they make it all look so easy.

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Part of the magic of the show is the fun the performers appear to be having. The diving and leaping into the water looks almost effortless and simply fabulous. This lends a contagious enthusiasm to the production.

In spite of the high energy atmosphere, there is a touch of sadness throughout, especially the lighting and music. The music takes the listener to great heights, but settles into  sad sequences that are equally low. The sets are dark, often giving the impression of rituals in the night.

The tone of the show is often melancholy, and the clowns are no exception. As they float about on their sunken house, there is a tragic air about them which somehow fits with the rest of the show. This is a performance that touched all of our emotions and senses and is definitely a "must see" for us in Las Vegas.

 

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