Symphony excites all senses in circus show

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A little bit of sophistication, a dash of music and a whole lot of clowning around: those are the three main components of an unforgettable night at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

The latest Pop Series performance by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Cirque de la Symphonie, proved to be a treat for both the ears and the eyes of all who attended Nov. 14-15, as the orchestra teamed
up with an award-winning circus ensemble to bring its music to life.

“We’ve played this piece many times before and never received that kind of reception,” Music Director and Principal Conductor Fabio Mechetti said after the audience erupted in applause.

The difference was the combination of the senses, allowing viewers to experience the music in a visual way with bodies contorting to the beat, flying through the air or balancing on another person’s head.

The Cirque de la Symphonie ensemble included a juggling clown who evoked laughter through his simple, absurd gestures; aerial flyers who provided a visual to the heavenly music; a contortionist who defied the boundaries of the human body; and two men – painted head to toe in gold paint – who displayed the strength of Hercules, balancing on each other’s hands, feet and heads.

But unlike other circus performances, Cirque de la Symphonie took everyone’s eyes back to the music. Viewers never forgot about the beat. In fact, the performers solidified the notion that music is the  cornerstone of the circus experience.

One thought of the circus and the tune of the Big Top comes flooding through the mind. That’s what brings a smile to your face from the very beginning; the earth-defying acts only enhance the joy.

And that was the reaction to Cirque de la Symphonie – pure joy.

Animation was evident in the musicians, which stood out in a night of visual perfection. Facial expressions and grand body movements abounded from the stage – as well as unending smiles.

The audience, filled with viewers of all ages, exploded in appreciation after every act.

But none were more ecstatic for the night than the conductor, who frequently turned from the orchestra to watch the magic unfold behind him.

And he threw out more jokes than have ever been said on the symphony stage.

“Seeing all of this, I wonder if you have the same reaction I do,” Mechetti said. “I’ve got to get in shape.”

UNF students can experience the Jacksonville Symphony at a discounted rate with the Sound Check Card, an annual pass for $25.

E-mail Holli Welch at [email protected]