Mystère (Cirque du Soleil)
The album artwork of Mystère: Live in Las Vegas
|Company||Cirque du Soleil|
|Show type||Resident show|
|Date of premiere||December 25, 1993|
|Location||Treasure Island, Las Vegas Strip, Paradise, Nevada|
|Director of creation||Gilles Ste-Croix|
|Costume designer||Dominique Lemieux|
|Set designer||Michel Crête|
|Lighting designer||Luc Lafortune|
|Sound designer||Jonathan Deans|
|Make-up designer||Nathalie Gagné|
|Senior artistic director||James Hadley|
|Artistic director||Sandi Croft|
|Aerial cube act creator||Mikhail Matorin|
|Aerial high bar act creators||Andrei Lev, Pavel Brun|
|Preceded by||Saltimbanco (1992)|
|Succeeded by||Alegría (1994)|
Mystère is a Cirque du Soleil show in permanent residence at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. It is one of seven resident Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas, the others being O, Zumanity, Kà, Love, Criss Angel: Believe, and Zarkana. Mystère was first performed on December 25, 1993 and quickly won over audiences with its unique style of circus entertainment. As with many Cirque du Soleil productions, Mystère features a mixture of circus skills, dance, elaborate sets, opera, worldbeat music, and street theatre-style comedy.
The idea for Mystère started around 1990. It was originally planned for Caesars Palace with a theme based on Greek and Roman mythology. The plan, however, was scrapped by the casino executives, who thought the project would be too financially risky. Mystère was very different from the typical material they were used to in a Las Vegas show. According to Mystère set designer Michel Crête, "Vegas... was still very influenced by Folies Bergère, with the scarves, feather boas, etc. There was a European culture already in place, oddly enough, not an American one. The people who opened the door for something new were Siegfried and Roy. They were the first to move away from the Folies Bergère thing."
Treasure Island picked up the show three years later. Mystère was their first show that would have its own theater, rather than touring with a circus tent. Mystère would have a permanent base in Las Vegas. They worked with Mirage Casino-Hotel to produce a show.
Other milestones, rewards and recognitions Mystère has received:
- Mystère celebrates their 4,500th show, June 2003
- Mystère celebrates their 15th anniversary, December 2008 
- Mystère celebrates their 8,000th show, October 2010
- Mystère celebrates their 9,000th show, December 2012 
- Mystère celebrates their 20th anniversary, December 2013 
- Mystère celebrates their 10,000th show, December 27th, 2014
In popular culture
- Mystère was a featured guest performance on Lopez Tonight airing December 20, 2010. The featured acts included hand-to-hand and aerial cube
- In the film, Knocked Up, the main characters watched Mystère.
- In the webseries Dorm Life, Courtney has posters of both Mystere and Love by her bed.
- Yuji Naka, creator of the video game Nights into Dreams…, has cited Mystère as an inspiration for the game.
- Mystère did a performance collaboration with alternative rock band, Imagine Dragons for the Life is Beautiful Festival 
Set and technical information
The theater is a unique theater built in the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino specifically for the show. The design of the theater was created by Michel Crête and that of Montreal based team of Scéno Plus. This theater seats 1,541 audiences. The stage measures 120 feet by 70 feet deep and covers approximately 10,032 square feet. The stage floor is made of a layer of Base Mat, which is rubber made from recycled old tires and sneakers. This helps give the stage some bounce for tumbling. This is held together by polyurethane adhesive and covered with thousands of gallons of liquid that dries onto the surface. The Downstage D Lift is 36 feet in diameter and includes a 28 foot revolving stage. The revolving stage rotates up to 10 revolutions per minute. Props, equipment, and performers are elevated to stage level from the basement or trap by four moving lifts. These moving lifts were constructed in Montreal and then assembled in Las Vegas, NV.
The snail seen growing larger throughout the show is called Alice. By the end of the show, she is a giant inflatable puppet controlled by four puppeteers from the inside. The puppeteers move her around by following markings on the floor, since they can not see outside the puppet. They also control her eyes, torso, and tail.
The taiko drums in Mystère are created by the Japanese company Asano Taiko, located in Mattō, Ishikawa Prefecture. The largest drum in Mystère is the ōdaiko, which is 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter and 15 feet (4.6 m) in length, and weighs half a ton. Due to the large size of the drum, it had to be brought into the theatre during construction. Since the completion of the theatre the drum can not be removed, as no door is large enough to accommodate it.
The cast of Mystère contains a myriad of characters.
- Spermatos/Spermatites: Represent the seeds of life. They move about frantically to fulfill their destinies.
- Red Bird: Is a primary character seen throughout the entire show, believing they can fly, tries futilely.
- Les Laquais: Are the footmen of Mystère and serve and support others in their quest. They perform in the Korean plank.
- Brian Le Petit: Is a troublemaker and does not belong to the world of Mystère.
- Les Bébés: Represent the primitive human state: selfish and hungry.
- La Vache à Lait: Protects the babies and is a symbol of fertility. He sounds his horn to announce a rebirth and a new beginning.
- Moha-Samedi: Is the narrator. He takes himself seriously and expects others to do so too.
- La Belle: Celebrator of the present. She is the mystery of beauty, timeless and fleeting.
- The Black Widow: Is the antithesis of Belle. She represents a praying mantis who destroys the illusions and dreams of her victims.
- Birds of Prey: These unpredictable birds soar and fly throughout the world of Mystère. They are graceful, yet aggressive when hungry.
- Lizards: They are chameleons that disappear before your eyes.
- Double Faces: Are in constant search of their own identity. They perform in the Chinese poles act.
- Aerial cube: An aerialist performs with a giant metal cube both in the air and on the ground.
- Chinese poles: A group of acrobats climb up, jump between, and slide down four adjacent metal poles.
- Hand-to-hand: Two brothers perform an exhibition of strength and stamina on a rotating dome.
- Bungee: A group of artists bounce and swing from the ceiling to the ground and back on bungees.
- Trampoline, fast track, and Korean plank: Artists perform a combination of these three skills.
- Aerial high bar: Created and implemented by coach Andrei Lev and choreographer Pavel Brun, a group of acrobats fly and spin on an apparatus 40 feet above the stage.
- Taiko: A group of artists perform powerful rhythms on Japanese taiko drums.
- Aerial tissu: The solo tissu act, created by aerial artist Ginger Ana Griep-Ruiz, features flips, spins and displays of flexibility on a vertical strip of fabric suspended above the stage. Griep-Ruiz devised a system to give the appearance that the fabric never ends, allowing her to do continuous tricks without having to stop to reposition herself on the material.
- Flying trapeze: Completing more than a dozen tricks in little more than six minutes, the Catchers have a particularly difficult job as they spend the majority of the performance upside down with little break in between.
Acts used in the film Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (2000)
- Aerial Cube
- Aerial straps
Acts used in the film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (2012)
- Aerial Cube
Dominique Lemieux took inspiration from nature to create the colorful costumes of Mystère. One such costume is the Firebird, which has red feathers and accents that give the impression of embers flying through the air. The odd-looking Spermatos and Spermatites are dressed in elongated costumes which bulge in the center and have a tendril-like feature on the head. To give the characters an organic nature, spandex/lycra was used in conjunction with fringes and borders.
The original score of Mystère was composed by René Dupéré, who had composed all of Cirque du Soleil's earlier shows, including Nouvelle Expérience and Saltimbanco. In 1994 the show's music was released as a studio album featuring the vocals of Canadian singers Élise Gouin (now known as Élise Velle) and Nathalie Gauvin.
In 1995 the show underwent an artistic overhaul, including changes in the lineup of acts. The "manipulation" act was replaced by the "aerial cube", the flying trapeze act by the aerial high bars, and the "Filet" number was excluded from the show. At the same time the musical score was renovated with assistance from Benoît Jutras, a longtime music director and arranger for Cirque who later went on to compose for Quidam and other Cirque shows. The result, captured in the album Mystère: Live in Las Vegas, was a score that reflects the diverse compositional styles of both composers. Mystère: Live in Las Vegas is a live, in-house recording of the new score, featuring Nathalie Gauvin and Wendy Talley on vocals; the album was released on November 12, 1996. After the release of the live album, the music was rearranged and altered once again. While the album resembles the current live music closely, it is not identical.
Below is a list of tracks as featured on the 1996 live recording release, alongside which the current acts to which they accompany are listed.
- Ouverture/Ramsani (Show opening)
- Misha (Aerial cube)
- Égypte (Interlude)
- Rondo/Double Face (Chinese poles)
- Ulysse (Hand-to-hand)
- Dôme (Interlude)
- Kalimando (Bungee pt. 1)
- Kunya Sobé (Bungee pt. 2)
- En Ville/Frisco (Trampoline, fast track, Korean plank)
- Gambade (Interlude)
- High Bar (Aerial high bar)
- Taïko (Taiko drumming)
- Finale (Show finale)
- "Mystère Celebrates Its 4,500th Show". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "15 Years of Mystère". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 24 Augustl 2014. Check date values in:
- "Mystere by Cirque du Soleil Celebrates Record-Breaking 8,000 Performances". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "Mystere by Cirque du Soleil Celebrates 9,000 Performances". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "Mystere Celebrates 20th Anniversary". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "12-20-10 Cirque Du Soleil Performs Live! on Lopez Tonight". YouTube. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Knocked Up (2007)". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "EXCLUSiVE: A Yuji Naka Interview ~ For the fans".
- "Imagine Dragons perform Radioactive with Mystere by Cirque du Soleil". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- http://www.richasi.com/Cirque/Mystere/theater.htm. Retrieved 17 April 2014. Missing or empty
- Reed, Cindi (2010). "Mystère explores the intricacies of the life cycle and all its components". Inside Cirque du Soleil. Fall 2010: 26–27.
- Keene, Jarret (2011). "Drumline". Inside Cirque du Soleil. Fall 2011: 18–19.
- "Mystère: Characters". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Mystère - Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- "Mystère Acts". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in CN, EN, FR, JP). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8.
- Cirque Du Soleil - 20 Years Under the Sun, by Tony Babinsky, 2004.
- Mystère - Music Composed by René Dupéré & Benoît Jutras, transcription for piano and voices by Jean-Francois Brissette, music engraving and book design by Yvon Hubert, 1997. ISBN 2-921124-85-8
- Official website of Cirque du Soleil about Mystère
- Mystère still a wonderland at Treasure Island at LasVegas.com
- Mystère by Cirque du Soleil: Full Review at Vegas4Visitors