Mystère (Cirque du Soleil)

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Logo for Cirque du Soleil's Mystère
Company Cirque du Soleil
Genre Contemporary circus
Show type Resident show
Date of premiere December 25, 1993
Location Treasure Island, Las Vegas Strip, Paradise, Nevada
Creative team
Director Franco Dragone
Director of creation Gilles Ste-Croix
Composers René Dupéré
Benoît Jutras
Costume designer Dominique Lemieux
Set designer Michel Crête
Choreographer Debra Brown
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
Other information
Preceded by Fascination (1992)
Succeeded by Alegría (1994)
Official website

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 six resident Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas, the others being O, Zumanity, , Love, and Michael Jackson: One. 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[1]
  • Mystère celebrates their 15th anniversary, December 2008 [2]
  • Mystère celebrates their 8,000th show, October 2010[3]
  • Mystère celebrates their 9,000th show, December 2012 [4]
  • Mystère celebrates their 20th anniversary, December 2013 [5]
  • Mystère celebrates their 10,000th show, December 27, 2014

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[6]
  • In the film, Knocked Up, the main characters watched Mystère.[7]
  • 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.[8]
  • Mystère did a performance collaboration with alternative rock band, Imagine Dragons for the Life is Beautiful Festival [9]

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 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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]


The cast of Mystère contains a myriad of characters.[13]

  • Inti X & Y (Spermatos/Spermatites): A comic chorus representing the seeds of life.
  • The Firebird (Red Bird): 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.
  • Les Épouvantables (Les Bébés): Two enormous babies on a quest for nourishment.
  • 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 Green Lizards: Mischievous and skittish chameleons.
  • The Asicots (Double Faces): These two-faced creatures perform in the Chinese poles act.
  • Deus ex machina: The machine that regulates the existence of everything.
  • The Tribe: Taiko drummers.
  • Gabriel: An archangel who is ready to sacrifice everything.
  • Mephisto and Vénus: Thwarted, twisted creatures. Their presence wreaks havoc.
  • The Giants: A gentle race with feathers and long legs.
  • Stas (La Puce): A mischievous imp.
  • Escargot (Alice): An enormous snail.


Mystère features several acrobatic acts, supplemented by clown acts and transitional scenes that advance the storyline.[14][15]

  • Aerial cube (1993 - 1996, 1998–present): 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. As of 2015, they have spent 23 out of 40 years of their hand-to-hand career with Mystère (since its creation).[16]
  • 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. Since mid-2016, the Korean plank made its way for an all new teeterboard.
  • Taiko: A group of artists perform powerful rhythms on Japanese taiko drums.
  • Aerial silk (2012–present): 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 (1993 - 1995, 2012–present): 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 act upside down, with few breaks. During the premiere years of Mystere, this act was based on the flying trapeeze act from Nouvelle Expérience. When the show was revamped in 2012, it later incorporated Zed's flying trapeeze act, replacing the dual high bar act.

Reserved acts[edit]

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.[17]


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

Songs not appearing on either album:

  • Fiesta (originally from Zed) (Flying trapeze, 2012 - present)
  • Benny (Clown act)
  • New High Bar Music (Dual high bar, 2010 - 2012)
  • New Aerial Cube Music (Aerial cube, 2015 - present)

Further information: Cirque du Soleil discography


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

  1. ^ "Mystère Celebrates Its 4,500th Show". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "15 Years of Mystère". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 24 Augustl 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ "Mystere by Cirque du Soleil Celebrates Record-Breaking 8,000 Performances". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Mystere by Cirque du Soleil Celebrates 9,000 Performances". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Mystere Celebrates 20th Anniversary". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "12-20-10 Cirque Du Soleil Performs Live! on Lopez Tonight". YouTube. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  7. ^ "Knocked Up (2007)". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  8. ^ "EXCLUSiVE: A Yuji Naka Interview ~ For the fans". 
  9. ^ "Imagine Dragons perform Radioactive with Mystere by Cirque du Soleil". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Retrieved 17 April 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Reed, Cindi (2010). "Mystère explores the intricacies of the life cycle and all its components". Inside Cirque du Soleil. Fall 2010: 26–27. 
  12. ^ Keene, Jarret (2011). "Drumline". Inside Cirque du Soleil. Fall 2011: 18–19. 
  13. ^ "Mystère: Characters". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  14. ^ "Mystère - Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  15. ^ "Mystère Acts". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ 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]