Suspending Disbelief

TBSO Dazzles with Cirque de la Symphonie

By Kyle Poluyko

In its fifth Pops presentation of this season The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra astonished and stupefied with a spectacle of sound and sight as guest conductor Maestro Giuseppe Pietraroia lead the orchestra in a diverse and euphonious programme of classical selections as world-class circus artists amazed a sold-out audience, both on stage and high above.

The evening commenced with a lively, crisp and rich performance of Rossini’s famous Overture from The Barber of Seville, followed by the equally euphonic “Danse des Bouffons” from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden Suite. Gymnast and acrobat Vitalii Buza took to the stage and dazzled with sophisticated, dizzying and dexterous maneuvers with his cyr wheel. Buzza rotated wildly in the wheel, balanced on its rim before rolling and rotating horizontally like a coin coming to rest. The orchestra continued its ariose fulfillment with De Falla’s “The Grapes” from The Three-Cornered Hat Suite before hand-balancer and contortionist Ekaterina Borzikova took centre stage during “Valse” from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite, astounding the audience with her single-handed inverted balance and astounding involutions. The first act concluded as aerialist Alexander Fedortchev soared above the orchestra, gracefully sailing and spinning aloft on the aerial rope as the orchestra played performed John William’s thrillingly adventurous Superman theme.

Cirque de la Symphonie

Cirque de la Symphonie

Buza returned to the stage in the second act to dizzyingly whirl around and within his spinning frame during “Les Toreadors” from Bizet’s Carmen in wild revolutions, reeling in mystifying circular revolutions. The orchestra continued to delight with splendored renditions of Brahms, Mozart and Strauss classics before a breathtaking conclusion by Borzikova and Fedortchev. Together they performed a breathtaking aerial duo, entwined in red silk ribbons while Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from Swan Lake played gloriously beneath them. Suspended high above and inverted, Borzikova slid down Fedortchev to step on the stage before he soared out over the audience, only to return to a beautiful spinning entanglement with Borzikova.

Maestro Pietraroia conducted splendidly and distinctively, engaging the audience with a charming and refreshing sense of humour throughout. Cirque de la Symphony was truly a spectacle of music and a remarkable display of physical artistry.

Cirque de la Symphonie, a TBSO Pops presentation, was performed at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on Saturday, March 19.