Mystère (Cirque du Soleil)

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Mystere logo.png
Logo for Cirque du Soleil's Mystère
CompanyCirque du Soleil
GenreContemporary circus
Show typeResident show
Date of premiereDecember 25, 1993
LocationTreasure Island, Las Vegas Strip, Paradise, Nevada
Creative team
DirectorFranco Dragone
Director of creationGilles Ste-Croix
ComposersRené Dupéré
Benoît Jutras
Costume designerDominique Lemieux
Set designerMichel Crête
ChoreographerDebra Brown
Lighting designerLuc Lafortune
Sound designerJonathan Deans
Make-up designerNathalie Gagné
Senior artistic directorJames Hadley
Artistic director1995-2001 Pavel Brun, 2001 and on - Sandi Croft
Aerial cube act creatorMikhail Matorin
Aerial high bar act creatorsAndrei Lev, Pavel Brun
Other information
Preceded bySaltimbanco (1992)
Succeeded byAlegría (1994)
Official website

Mystère is one of six resident Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas, Nevada and performs in a custom theatre at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. The show was first performed on 25 December 1993 making it the company's longest running show. 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.

Recent milestones Mystère has achieved include:

  • Mystère celebrated their 20th anniversary on 25 December 2013 [1]
  • Mystère celebrated their 10,000th show on 27 December 2014.
  • Mystère celebrated their 11,111th show on 17 May 2017.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Mystère was a featured guest performance on Lopez Tonight airing December 20, 2010. The featured acts included hand-to-hand and aerial cube[3]
  • In the film, Knocked Up, the main characters watched Mystère.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • Mystère did a performance collaboration with alternative rock band, Imagine Dragons for the Life is Beautiful Festival [6]

Set and technical information[edit]

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 audience members. 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]


The cast of Mystère contained a myriad of fantastic and mysterious characters.[10]

  • Inti X & Y (Spermatos/Spermatites): A comic chorus representing the seeds of life.
  • Red Bird (The Firebird): Convinced he can fly.
  • The Archangels (Les Laquais): The "lackeys" of Mystère who serve and support others. They perform in the Korean plank.
  • Brian Le Petit: A troublemaker who steals people's popcorn and causes chaos both onstage and off. (2000–present)
  • Chanteuses Plumes: A duo of muses who sing the emotion of all humans.
  • The Firebirds: Along with the Double Face, they execute the Chinese Pole act.
  • Les Épouvantables (Les Bébés): Two enormous babies on a quest for nourishment. There's Big Baby (also known as Bébé François) and the Baby Girl.
  • The Third Bébé: An older character that originally accompanied the other two babies in they're adventure, he was later replaced with Egon Egli in mid-1994.
  • Egon Egli: A strange lanky baby who rides through the stage on his bicycle, no longer in the show.
  • La Vache à lait: Protector of youth and a symbol of fertility. When he sounds his horn, it heralds a new beginning.
  • Moha-Samedi: A man in pink, named after the first day of the new millennium. He is the narrator no one listens to.
  • La Belle: Afraid of ugliness, she seeks to avoid pain at all costs.
  • The Black Virgin (Black Widow): Is the antithesis of Belle. She represents a praying mantis who destroys the illusions and dreams of her victims.
  • The Pets (Birds of Prey): These unpredictable birds soar and fly throughout the world of Mystère. They are graceful, yet aggressive when hungry.
  • The Frog: Creepy characters witness to the strength of the birth and the time
  • The Green Lizards: Mischievous and skittish chameleons. There is the Male Chameleon and the Female Chameleon.
  • The Asicots (Double Faces): These two-faced creatures perform in the Chinese poles act.
  • Les Palmiers (The Palmtrees): Out of a purple-blue mist, these tropical ladies float by...
  • Deus ex machina: The machine that regulates the existence of everything.
  • The Tribe (Les Pagnes): The primitive, tragic ghosts of modern humanity. They descend from the skies to provide the earthly beat of our journey. They welcome us, and they bid us fairwell.
  • The Prince of The Darkness: The king of the darkside of Mystère, performed by Miguel Godreau in 1993 to 1994 but he left the show for health problems,no longer in the show.
  • La Banane: A yellow creature with a large bulbous head that performed with some artists from 1993 to 1995, no longer in the show.
  • The Shaman: A mysterious man who creates the sounds of the world, no longer in the show.
  • Bungee Warrior: A duo of muscle man able to fly in the air.
  • The Jugglers: A trio of jugglers that performed the Manipulation act from 1993 to 1995, no longer in the show.
  • The Cube Man: Exhibiting great strength and courage, he captures the attention of young souls in search of wonder.
  • Gabriel (The Mountain): An archangel who is ready to sacrifice everything.
  • Mephisto and Vénus: Part of the Giants race, they are thwarted, twisted creatures. Their presence wreaks havoc in any domain. Together they want to create chaos and destroy the balance that exists within the world of Mystère.
  • The Giants: A gentle race with feathers and long legs. Among us, there's the happy-go-lucky Pumkin Giant,the grumpy Fly Giant, the magnificent Giraffe Giant, the rare Plume Giant (no longer in the show) and the Egg Giant, a delicate interior inside a protective shell.
  • Yellow Bird/Stas (La Puce): A mischievous imp.
  • The Medusa: A long appendaged creature that was part of the original cast between 1993 to 1997, no longer in the show.
  • The Satyr: A curly horned creature that was part of the original cast from 1997 to 1998, no longer in the show.
  • The Living Doll: A living doll that was part of the original cast between 1993 to 1996, performed by Tony Manducas, no longer in the show.
  • The Zucchini's: Two inflatable marionettes only used in the Net Set-up for the original trapeze act, no longer in the show.
  • The Egg An egg-like creature who appeared sometimes during the Overture and Bungee acts during 1993 to 1995, no longer in the show.
  • Alice the Escargot: An enormous snail. Born from a spring rain, carrier of the souls of the ancestors and heald of the future.
  • The Toy: The faithful companion of a little girl in search of knowledge.
  • The Bungees: Like majestic birds in flight, the Bungees dive fearlessly through the air, creating images of unison and separation.
  • Benny Le Grand: Mystere's original clown, a Mad Professor-esque character that also caused chaos. Either by whacking one of the Spermatos with a drumstick, throwing a loaf of bread at the red bird, interrupting the show as a makeshift tour guide, throwing around silver dollars and women's purses, harassing ticket holders, discouraging audience members from seeing the show, or kidnapping an audience member and driving them around in a golf cart. (1993 - 1995,1996 - 2000)
  • Alex El Sobrino: Benny Le Grand's Spanish nephew. (1998 - 2000)
  • Alfredo Et Adrenaline: A Comedic duo of clowns who had previously appeared in "Le Cirque Reinvente's" European tour, and the special Zirkus Knie show. They often bickered with each other while trying to entertain the audience, from Alfredo trying to perform as a mime, to the two of them throwing paint at each other while trying to perform a song, but they soon literally kissed and made up. (1995 - 1996)


Mystère features several acrobatic acts, supplemented by clown acts and transitional scenes that advance the storyline.[11][12]

  • Duo Aerial Straps (2017 – present): A pair of aerialist performs twists and turns as they fly over the stage.
  • Chinese poles and hand balancing (2012–present): A group of acrobats climb up, jump between, and slide down four adjacent metal poles whilst an acrobat contorts into poses while on two balancing canes on a platform above the Chinese poles.
  • Hand-to-hand (1993 – present): Two artists perform an exhibition of strength and stamina on a rotating dome.
  • Bungee (1993 – present): A group of artists bounce and swing from the ceiling to the ground and back on bungees.
  • Teeterboard and Power track (2017–present): Artists perform a combination of these two skills.
  • Taiko (1993 – present): A group of artists perform powerful rhythms on Japanese taiko drums.
  • Flying trapeze (2012 – present): Unlike the original version where two separate trapeze towers were surrounded by a platform on one side and an aerial cradle on the other, the current version has a platform on either side. Each trapeze tower now has two trapeze bars swinging beside each other. The act and music were originally from Zed (a resident show at Tokyo Disney Resort) which closed in 2011.

Reserve acts[edit]

On reserve for Duo Aerial Straps, features a single artist on straps with the Black Widow or La Belle performing choreography on stage.

Retired acts[edit]

Acts used in the film Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (2000)[edit]

  • Taiko
  • Aerial cube
  • Aerial straps

Acts used in the film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (2012)[edit]

  • 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.[13]


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 (the flying trapeze returned in 2012), and the acro net setup dance act 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. For the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the show in 2018, a vinyl album specifically dedicated to the employees was created in limited quantities, just as it was done for the show Alegria in 1994 and Saltimbanco in 1997.

Below are the track lists for the 1994,1996 and 2018 Mystère soundtrack albums. Acts are listed next to the songs they have accompanied in the show.

Songs not appearing on either album:

  • Alice (Ending, 1993 - 1995. Updated version of song right after "Finale," 1995 - present) )
  • Benny (Clown act 1996–present)
  • Mime (Clown act 1995-1996)
  • Bolero (Clown act 1995-1996)
  • Benny Le Grand (Old Clown act 1993-1995)
  • High Bar II (Dual high bar, 2010 - 2012)
  • Hell/Angel (Dei ex machina (1993–present) )
  • Rampant (Chineses poles Exit)
  • Nouvel Envol (Aerial cube, 2015 - 2017) (Solo Aerial Straps, 2015–present) (Duo Aerial Straps, 2017 - 2018)
  • Love Over (Duo Aerial Straps, 2018 - present)


Singer 1

  • Nathalie Gauvin: Dec 1993 - Dec 2005
  • Jeannette D' Armand: 2000 (temporarily replaced Nathalie Gauvin)
  • Mirjana Milovanovic: Jan 2006 - Jul 2007
  • Sarah Boucher: Jul 2007 - Sep 2009
  • Silje Marie Norderhaugh: Sep 2009 - Jan 2013
  • Anna Bille (On extended leave): Jan 2013 - Dec 2014, Aug 2017 - Present
  • Kailee Ann: Dec 2014 - Aug 2017
  • Mackenzie Thomas (Covering for Anna Bille's extended leave): April 2018 - Present

Singer 2

  • Elise "Gouin" Velle: Dec 1993 - Sep 1994
  • Wendy Talley: Sep 1994 - Dec 1997, 1998 (temporarily replaced Chantal Hamel)
  • Chantal Hamel: Dec 1997 - Jul 1999
  • Stacey Beth Sanford: Jul 1999 - Dec 2000
  • Dina Emerson: Jan 2001 - Jan 2002, Apr 2007 - Jun 2017
  • Rochelle Collins: Jan 2002 - 2003 - May 2007
  • Briana Rossi: Jun 2017 - Present

Singer 3

  • Luis Perez: Dec 1993 - 1996


Coordinates: 36°07′30″N 115°10′19″W / 36.12500°N 115.17194°W / 36.12500; -115.17194

  1. ^ "Mystere Celebrates 20th Anniversary". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "12-20-10 Cirque Du Soleil Performs Live! on Lopez Tonight". YouTube. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  4. ^ "Knocked Up (2007)". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  5. ^ "EXCLUSiVE: A Yuji Naka Interview ~ For the fans".
  6. ^ "Imagine Dragons perform Radioactive with Mystere by Cirque du Soleil". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  7. ^ Retrieved 17 April 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Reed, Cindi (2010). "Mystère explores the intricacies of the life cycle and all its components". Inside Cirque du Soleil. Fall 2010: 26–27.
  9. ^ Keene, Jarret (2011). "Drumline". Inside Cirque du Soleil. Fall 2011: 18–19.
  10. ^ "Mystère: Characters". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Archived from the original on 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  11. ^ "Mystère - Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Archived from the original on 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  12. ^ "Mystère Acts". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  13. ^ Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). 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

External links[edit]