Carmel Symphony Orchestra to feature circus acts


The circus is not only coming to town but will be joined by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. 

Six members from Cirque de la Symphonie, a touring group based in Athens, Ga., will perform magic, strongman acts, ribbon dancing, juggling, spinning shapes, Cyr wheel and hula-hoop artistry during Carmel Symphony Orchestra’s performance at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

CSO Music Director David Commanday has never conducted a concert with this group but worked with similar groups earlier in his career.

“I’ve done bits and pieces of programs like that when you have live music accompanied by something else in front,” Commanday said. “One of those was a magician’s act and a couple of the (music) pieces on the program were used for that. I’ve heard spectacular things about this company. I have friends and colleagues who have worked with them. Everything I hear is that they are tops.”

Commanday said he learned when conducting with the Boston Ballet that getting the right tempo was important.

The orchestra will rehearse with the circus acts the day of the performance, which should help with getting the tempo just right, he said.

Commanday said there are a few interludes when the orchestra performs alone. 

“There are a few breaks for costume changes or for the flow of the program,” he said.

“It tends to be brilliant, sparkling and a lot of it is fast. There are one or two numbers which are very beautiful and transparent. A lot of them are just exciting.”

The performance opens with Antonin Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture,” followed by Zequinha de Abreu’s “Tico Tico.”

Commanday said “Tico Tico” is “fun and bubbly.”

Music also includes Georges Bizet’s “Carmen Suite No. 1 and 2,” John Williams’ “March from Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky’s “Danse des petits cygnes” from “Swan Lake,” Dmitry Kabalevsky’s “Comedians’ Gallop,” Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Buffoons” from the “Snow Maiden” and Jacques Offenbach’s “Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld.”

“These are tunes everybody seems to recognize and they are going to see amazing circus acts in sync with them,” Commanday said. 

Commanday said one of his favorites pieces is Johann Strauss’ “Thunder & Lightning Polka.”

“It’s very fun with sound effects for thunder and lightning built into it,” he said. “It’s very fun. It’s delightful classical music.”

CSO Executive Director Anne Marie Chastain said the show takes advantage of the Palladium’s atmosphere.

“The idea was to bring a group to Carmel that would showcase lighter symphonic repertoire and be community and family friendly as well as provide a great date-night experience,” Chastain said. 

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