The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of BSO Music Director Marin Alsop, lends musical panache to the impossible exploits of talented contortionists, aerialists, strongmen and more in Cirque de la Symphonie on Thursday, March 11 and Friday March 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 14 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, March 13 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. In the tradition of a European circus, the concert hall turns into a Big Top as Cirque members perform on and above the stage. Maestra Alsop dons the top hat of ringmaster to lead Francis Poulenc’s Les Biches Suite, Erik Satie’s Parade, Copland’s Billy the Kid Suite and Béla Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite.
Due to popular demand, Cirque de la Symphonie returns again this year to perform with the BSO, having performed four sold-out shows with the BSO last season. These Cirque artists include world-record holders and gold-medal winners of international competitions. Among the shows highlights, Jaroslaw Marciniak and Dariusz Wronski, former Polish national hand-balancing champions, perform feats of balance and strength that recently gained national exposure on the popular TV program “America’s Got Talent.”
The performers’ feats will be paired with dramatic Classical favorites. Poulenc’s first work for full orchestra, Les Biches Suite (“The Does”), was an immediate hit when it premiered in 1924 in Monte Carlo. Erik Satie’s Parade was yet another creation for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and it brought together a remarkable ensemble of talents: Satie for the music, Jean Cocteau for the scenario, Pablo Picasso (in his theatrical debut) for the set and costumes and Léonide Massine for the choreography. Aaron Copland's 1938 ballet Billy the Kid became one of his most enduring hits and crystallized the “Wild West” orchestral idiom still used today. Featuring the BSO without Cirque performers, Béla Bartók’s pantomime-ballet The Miraculous Mandarin tells a tale so scandalous that it was banned following is premiere in Cologne, Germany in 1926.
About Cirque de la Symphonie
Cirque de la Symphonie brings the magic of the circus to the music hall. It is an exciting adaptation of artistic performances widely seen in theaters and arenas. Artists include veterans of exceptional cirque programs throughout the world—aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers and strongmen. These artists are among the best in the business, including world-record holders and gold-medal winners. The performances are uniquely adapted to stage accommodations shared by symphonies, and each artist’s performance is professionally choreographed to classical masterpieces and popular contemporary music in collaboration with the music director.