Alegría (Cirque du Soleil)
|Company||Cirque du Soleil|
|Show type||Touring arena show|
|Date of premiere||April 1994|
|Director of creation||Gilles Ste-Croix|
|Costume designer||Dominique Lemieux|
|Set designer||Michel Crête|
|Lighting designer||Luc Lafortune|
|Sound designer||Guy Desrochers|
|Company founder and CEO||Guy Laliberté|
|Make-up designer||Nathalie Gagné|
|Preceded by||Mystère (1993)|
|Succeeded by||Quidam (1996)|
Alegría is one of Cirque du Soleil's most popular touring shows. Since its premiere in April 1994, it has been performed over 5,000 times and seen by over 10 million spectators in more than 65 cities around the world. Alegría originated as a touring big top show. However, beginning with its 2009-2010 North American tour, the show has been converted to an arena format, enabling it to visit cities that were previously inaccessible to the big top tour. Furthermore, Alegría took a short respite and was converted to a resident show at MGM's Beau Rivage casino from May 1999 to October 2000 before it continued touring again. Currently, it is being marketed as being in its "20th and final year".
Alegría takes its name from the Spanish word for "joy." Cirque du Soleil's literature describes the show as "an operatic introspection of the struggle for power and the invigorating energy of youth." Dominique Lemieux's costumes evince a baroque aesthetic of decadence and ornamentation, while René Dupéré's musical score features a unique blend of French, Spanish, African, and Mediterranean influences. The stage and props are characterized by gothic arches and harsh angular designs.
- 1 Set and technical information
- 2 Cast
- 3 Acts
- 4 Costumes
- 5 Music
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Tour
- 7.1 Arena tour
- 7.2 Grand Chapiteau tour
- 7.2.1 1994 schedule
- 7.2.2 1995 schedule
- 7.2.3 1996 schedule
- 7.2.4 1997 schedule
- 7.2.5 1998 schedule
- 7.2.6 1999-2000 schedule
- 7.2.7 2001 schedule
- 7.2.8 2002 schedule
- 7.2.9 2003 schedule
- 7.2.10 2004 schedule
- 7.2.11 2005 schedule
- 7.2.12 2006 schedule
- 7.2.13 2007 schedule
- 7.2.14 2008 schedule
- 7.2.15 2009 schedule
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Set and technical information
The stage of Alegría is topped by a giant dome and decorated with stylistic columns and balustrades. The dome gives the sense of an impressive, powerful structure, similar to how churches and government buildings utilize similar architectural constructs. The stage has spiral ramps on opposing sides which lead down, symbolizing the unknown. The floor of the stage has the head of a salamander, used for the four elements in which it lives. The 17th-century-ballroom stylistic lighting design reflects a nostalgic atmosphere. Finally, an autumnal color palette creates the luminous obscurity of the show.
The characters in Alegría comprise people of two separate generations: the New Order and the Old Order.
- Fleur: An unpredictable and dangerous madman who believes he is king. He is the guide to the world of Alegría.
- Nostalgic old birds: The Nostalgic Old Birds have lived in the palace for as long as it has existed. They are empty-shelled courtiers who admire their reflections in mirror-less frames.
- Tamir and Little Tamir: Appears when needed, only to disappear once he has fulfilled his mission.
- Nymphs: Exuberant characters who celebrate life.
- Bronx: The young and tough, who are the next generation in Alegría. They perform power track and aerial high bar.
- White angels: The guardians who are the youth of tomorrow. They perform Russian bars.
- White singer: One of the singers. She is the storyteller who sings about everything she sees around her. She is often desired by the male characters of the show.
- Black singer: One of the singers. She has a wickedness about her and is the White singer's opposite.
- Clowns: The show's social commentators.
- Mirko: The white singer sings a song while the characters and acrobats of Alegría run around the stage to welcome the audience to the world of Alegría.
- Synchronized trapeze: Two acrobats perform tricks on two separate trapezes.
- Clown act: One of the clowns come on his horse to entertain the audience while the power track is being set up.
- Power track: A group of acrobats perform flips and twists on an X-shaped power track.
- Clown act: The clowns come in, playing with paper airplanes.
- Hand balancing: An artist performs handbalancing on canes. (Denis Tolstov)
- Fire-knife dance: Two artists perform a dance using fire-knifes.
- Clown candle: A clown comes in, and tries to mimic the fire-knife dancing act by using a candle instead.
- Manipulation: Maria Silaeva manipulates ribbons, contortion and hula hoops to create a mindblowing act. The original act performed by [Elena Lev] consisted of only contortion, and hula hoops.
- Snowstorm: Reflecting the eternal spirit of mankind, the clowns are witnesses to the passing of centuries, the social commentators of the world of Alegría. Grounded in real life, they tell little stories of everyday existence where everyone is a hero, and where anyone can fall in love and suffer a broken heart. The clowns are visionaries - philosophers of absurdity. Endearing, comical and child-like, they turn the world into a circus.
- Le Bal: The white singer comes in and sings Danze Vazoule while going in the audience, picking a person out and dancing with the audience member.
- Flying man: An artist bounces and flies high above the stage with bungee cords. (Alexander Dobrynin)
- Clown act: The clowns come in and perform a clown act.
- Russian bars: A group of acrobats perform Russian bars (Aliaksei Buiniakou, Anatoli Baravikou, Dzmitry Shamovich, Mikalai Liubezny, Nikita Moiseev, Alexander Kashlev, Oleg Plotnikov, Tamir Erdenesaikhan, Viatcheslav Volkov, Victor Bryndine, Viktor Ossolodkov, Vladislav Pereverzev, Zhan Iordanov).
- Contortion: Two artists create graceful and lithe figures and movements with their extreme flexibility and balance. The original act consisted of one contortionist. (Ulziibuyan Mergen, Oyun-Erdene Senge)
- Interlude to Aerial high bar: Little tamir comes and flies with a bird structure.
- Aerial high bar: A group of acrobats fly, twist and spin on a structure in the air while a net is below them. Once they fly off the structure, the acrobats will be caught by other acrobats on a swinging trapeze.
- Finale: The white singer sings Alegría while the cast of Alegría comes and says farewell to the audience.
Acts in rotation
- Cyr wheel: An artist spins and performs tricks in a Cyr wheel.
- Juggling: An artist juggles up to 6 balls. (Denis Tolstov, Victor Moiseev)
- Tightwire: A performer balanced precariously on a wire, the performer would jump and even flip on the wire.
- Shoulder pole wire: An original Alegría act, it featured a young performer who balanced a long pole on their shoulders with a tight wire platform on top. On this wire, a younger performer flipped, turned and leapt always keeping their balance.(Group 1:Shi Yanping & Liu Lu Group 2:Kang Hui & Zheng Li Sha)
- Strong man: This act was quite literally a very strong man, the performer would warp metal and even lift the weight of multiple performers.
- Slackwire: This act used a swinging, loose wire. On this a female artists balanced, rolled and even rode a unicycle on the slack wire.(1996:Molly Saudek 2004-2005:Yang Huang)
- Aerial cube: An artist performed with the metal skeleton of a large cube on the ground and in the air.
- Aerial silk: Strong yet sensitive, powerful yet delicate, natural but surreal, the Flying Man emerges from the shadows, showing his force for more subtle art, evoking sensual men's movement, and the live stream on silk.
- Solo trapeze: An acrobat performs on a single trapeze.
- Fast track: Acrobats tumble, flip and spin on this fast-paced act.
Alegría's costumes have a dichotomy relating to the Old Order and the New Order. The Old Order has costumes which are reminiscent of New York's Gilded Age as they are finely decorated with feathers, lace, and other adornments. The New Order, on the other hand, representing the youth of tomorrow, have the same rich hues as the old order, while the fabrics used are lighter and softer, helping to emphasize the agility of youth. Over 400 costume pieces comprise the Alegría wardrobe set, including shoes, wigs, hats, etc. As an example of how long it takes to create each custom outfit, over 200 hours are needed to create one Old Bird costume.
- Fleur: Part of the Old Order, Fleur is easily recognizable in his red velvet jacket and jeweled vest.
- Singer in White: Part of the Old Order, The Singer in White has a hoop-skirt frame with jewels underneath, which is a crinoline skirt.
The music of Alegría was released as a studio album on September 27, 1994. Produced by Robbi Finkel, it remains Cirque du Soleil's best-selling album to date, having sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide. Robbi Finkel and René Dupéré were nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Arranger at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards. The album was also nominated for several Félix Awards in 1995, winning two of the latter: 'Producer of the Year' for Robbi Finkel and René Dupéré, and 'Sound Mixer of the Year' for Rob Heaney. Alegría was also ranked on the Billboard World Music Chart for 65 weeks.
The album's lead vocals are provided by opera-trained, French-Canadian singer Francesca Gagnon. Gagnon also features as 'The White Singer' (principal vocalist) in the Alegría DVD, with fellow French-Canadian Ève Montpetit supporting as 'The Black Singer'.
Several versions of the soundtrack have been available since its original release. In 2002, the soundtrack was re-released by Cirque du Soleil Musique Inc., with an additional two tracks titled 'Cerceaux' and 'Malioumba' (both featuring vocals by Francesca Gagnon) recorded from live shows during Alegría’s 2001 season in Sydney. In 1995, a limited employee edition, Alegría - Live at Fairfax, was created for the artists and crew of the production. This special edition features the entire score on CD and is considered a collector's item.
The tracks for the original 1994 release, including the two extended tracks from 2002 are listed below and alongside are the acts during which they are played.
- Alegría (Finale)
- Vai Vedrai
- (Synchronized trapeze)
- (Solo trapeze)
- Tightrope (1996, 2001)
- Juggling (2002 - 2004, 2006 - 2012)
- Slackwire (2004 - 2005)
- Querer (Interlude to Aerial high bar)
- Irna (Power track)
- Taruka (Contortion)
- Jeux d'enfants (Power track setup)
- Mirko (Opening)
- Icare (Aerial high bar)
- Aerial Cube (1994 - 1996, 1997 - 1999, 2004 - 2008)
- Flying Man (1996 - 1997, 2003 - 2004)
- Valsapena (Power track)
- Nocturne (Snowstorm)
- Cerceaux (Manipulation)
- Malioumba (Flying man)
- Milonga (Introduction to musicians)
- Le Feu (Fire-knife dance)
- Homme Fort (Strong man)
- Danze Vazoule (Le bal)
- Barres Russes (Russian bars)
- Le Perche (Shoulder-pole wire)
- Sisyphe (Handbalancing)
- Rinalto Vera (Cyr wheel)
There has been many singers in Alegría. Here is a full list of all of the singers:
Francesca Gagnon (1994 - 1995, 2001 - 2002)
Isabelle Corradi (1994 - 1996, 2003 - 2004)
Iréne Marc (1996 - 1997)
Carine Karkour (1996 - 1997)
Fugère Laur (1997)
Pierrette Arseneau (1997 - 1998)
Joan Bluteau (1997 - 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006 - 2007)
Andrée Simard (1998 - 2001)
Sylvie Perron (1999 - 2000)
Ève Montpetit (2001 - 2004, 2004 - 2005)
Nathalie Noël (2002 - 2004)
Claudine Bourdages (2004 - 2006, 2007)
Marie-Ève Tremblay (2005 - 2006)
Estelle Esse (2006)
Nancy Arnaud (2006 - 2011)
Malika Alaoui Ismaili (2007 - 2011, 2013 - present)
Marjana Sobol (2011 - 2013)
Denise Gonzales (2011 - 2012)
Marie Pier Guilbault (2012 - present)
Cristian Zabala (2004)
Alegría, the Film
In 1999, Alegría was adapted into a film of the same name, written by Rudy Barichello and directed by Franco Dragone. The cast included actors such as Frank Langella, Mako, Julie Cox, René Bazinet and a guest appearance from Whoopi Goldberg, as well as several performers and musicians from the touring production (many appeared in both this film and the Alegría DVD). The film employs a conventional structured narrative as opposed to the abstract allegory of the live show. It tells the story of a boy named Momo who wants to save the children from their imprisonment in the dark factory of a cruel man. Momo's only friend, a quirky clown named Frac, aids him, while also falling in love with the singer of a circus passing through town. The pair soon find their destinies increasingly entwined with that of the circus.
Cirque du Soleil released a DVD production of the show, Alegría. It was filmed in July, 2001, in Sydney, Australia. This production was directed and produced by Nick Morris. He used 14 cameras and special filming techniques to create a viewing experience that transports the viewer to the center of the performance.
Alegría's tour history is quite extensive as it premiered in 1994. Since it began it has toured under the Grand Chapiteau as well as in sporting arenas. Additionally during 1999 and 2000 it played as a resident show in Biloxi's Beau Rivage. After 19 years of touring, Alegria will perform for the last time in Antwerp, BE on December 29, 2013.
The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:Europe North America South and Central America Asia/Pacific Oceania
Grand Chapiteau tour
- "Cirque du Soleil - Press Room - Arena Shows - Alegría - About the show". www.cirquedusoleil.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- "Cirque du Soleil to present Alegria this fall in Philadelphia". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 2009-10-29.[dead link]
- "Alegría Fiche Technique". Cirque du Soleil (Press Kit). Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- "Alegría: Characters". Cirque du Soleil (Press Kit). Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- "Alegría: Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Kit). Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- "Alegría Acts". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in CN, EN, FR, JP). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 34–39. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8.
- RobbiFinkel. "Robbi Finkel's website". Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- "Music - Alegría - Official soundtrack". Cirque du Soleil. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Music - Alegría". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- "Alegría (1999) - IMDb". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Cirque du Soleil: Alegria". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Alegría DVD". Cirque du Soleil (Boutique). Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- Cirque Tribune Alegría Schedule
- Cirque du Soleil Alegría Ticket Information
- Alegría Music and Vocalists at The Cirque Tribune
- Composer René Dupéré interview (Las Vegas Sun)
- Composer René Dupéré's website
- Singer Francesca Gagnon's website