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Cirque du Soleil [ You are here: Grand Chapiteau | Historia | 1990 ]




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    "Behind each perilous leap there is a purpose, an intention, an individual, an emotion." – Franco Dragone

Originally intended to be called Eclipse, the show is renamed Nouvelle Expérience (or Cirque du Soleil II: A New Experience) and draws inspiration from Jules Verne’s “La Chasse du Météore” whereby the performers are playing the parts of jewels spread around the Earth. Franco Dragone agreed to return — albeit reluctantly — but only if he had full creative control of the show's environment (something he did not have with 1986’s Le Magie Continue.) One of the first things he did was to remove the curtain that separated the artist from the audience, so that they would both feel part of a larger show. Whereas in a traditional circus the artist could go past the curtain and drop his role, Dragone had created an environment where the artist had to remain in character for the full length of the production.

Montreal is the setting for the world premiere of Cirque's most successful show yet, Nouvelle Expérience, in a new big top. Constructed in Bordeaux, France, it has a capacity of 2,500, 700 more than the old home. "The new tent is so large, the first time we saw it we felt it was a cathedral," Mr. Ste-Croix said of the interior space, which has the look of a huge blue beach ball. "It inspired us to create things to fill that space."

With this new production, Cirque du Soleil shatters all previous records for ticket sales, and it decides to make its first foray into Europe, staging "We Reinvent the Circus" in London and Paris. Although not runaway successes (the tour ran afoul of the Persian Gulf war, the recession, and blistering heat in London forcing an early closing), approximately 161,102 spectators see the show in both cities; the overseas excursions have just begun. Suddenly it begins to happen. The show, like a reluctant spirit hounded by a posse of mediums, slowly reveals itself. An organic resonance emerges: each act finds its place, a succession of moments as fleeting as they are eternal. Franco Dragoné impact is enormous: He pushes Cirque's theatricality to new limits, informing Cirque's approach for many years to come. Key to Franco's indelible stamp will be his successful creative association with set designer Michel Crête and, later, costume designer Dominique Lemieux amongst many others.

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