You know have something special when the audience signs along to Alegria. It’s no wonder the title song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1995 and continues to be Cirque du Soleil’s most watched song on YouTube still today. It’s also almost hard to believe it’s been 19 years of touring.
Guided by Director of Creation, Daniel Ross, the team behind the production includes members of the original creative team, along with new talent. The outcome continues to surprise and delight fans of all ages and will surely become another sold out hit in Toronto.
Bringing back and changing a classic isn’t without controversy and something tour publicist Francis Jalbert was able to talk to us about.
@theSceneInTo: Some reviews have suggested the story line is not as significant as previous Cirques. Do you feel it’s being missed in the “simplicity” of the show’s structure?
@FrancisJalbert: Similar to many of our shows, Alegría takes the audience to an imaginary world and explores themes that were significative for its creative team. There is an evocative storyline throughout which lets audience take away their own interpretation of the show. That’s the beauty of Cirque du Soleil, we don’t tell our audience what to think, we instead let them draw their own interpretation based on their own background and experience. Alegría takes the audience to an old and dusty kingdom shaken by a movement from the street challenging the aristocracy to instill a better world.
@theSceneInTo: I’m sure you’ve seen the first run of Alegria, how do the changes update the show? Is there a marked change for anyone who has seen the original?
@FrancisJalbert: Instead of restaging Alegría exactly as it was in 1994, we looked at all the show’s components through the eyes of what Cirque du Soleil has become in 25 years. The costumes, stage design, musical arrangements, storyline and acrobatic performances have been modified or looked at from a new angle to ensure the show is as inspiring as it was at its first performance. People who remember the original Alegría will recognize its visual universe, its melodies, some of the acrobatic disciplines and feel the same emotions as they did the first time around, but will see a different show.
@theSceneInTo: What’s your favourite part of the show?
@FrancisJalbert: The songs composed by René Dupéré have contributed in making Alegría one of Cirque du Soleil’s most iconic productions. All songs were rearranged for this revival, but the power of the melodies is still setting Alegría apart from our other productions. It’s a soul-touching and catchy score putting forward the talent of the show’s vocalists.
@theSceneInTo: Is there a pressure to create a constant new experience with the traveling shows? Vegas shows like Mystere have endured for years. Considering the creativity of the producers and founders, is this pressure an internal one to always go further, create more, and explore more?
@FrancisJalbert: Creativity is at the core of our company. With each new production, we thrive to always push further the limits and bring new content to our audiences. The approach for Alegría speaks for itself. We wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our iconic production, but instead of simply reopening it, we decided to creatively challenge ourselves to push it further and explore it from a new angle. It was a risk, but based on the popular success we’ve received in Montreal and Gatineau/Ottawa, we can say mission accomplished!
For more information about Alegría,and to purchase tickets, visit cirquedusoleil.com/alegria
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Photo credit: Marie-Andrée Lemire / Costumes Dominique Lemieux / Cirque du Soleil 2019