Review: Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo Brings Unbridled Flying Magic to Windsor

(Several women representing Mauro the Dreamer Clown’s former loves, in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil, perform aerial acrobatics on three giant chandeliers during a performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo above by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.)

In the world of Cirque du Soleil, people and even beds can fly. Nowhere is this more evident than in the latest iteration of Corteo, which opened Wednesday night at Windsor’s WFCU Centre and will be in town for performances over the next three days.

Mauro the dreamer clown surrounded by angels

Mauro the Dreamer Clown in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil is surrounded by angels as his bed floats through the air during a performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

To set the stage, the Cirque producers turned the hockey rink into a grand theatre of ample size to hold a masterful stage production which is, actually, a clown’s imagined funeral.

As audience members enter the main bowl of the WFCU Centre they are greeted with a towering backdrop rising the full height of the arena carefully decorated as an old age showplace like no other. What happens on its revolving stage can be seen from both sides of the arena.

Corteo Cirque du Soleil Helium Dance Act

Mauro the Dreamer Clown and and his little Clowness in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil performing the Helium Dance act at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

There is much singing, much dancing and much frivolity, yet there is enough for the cast to be reminded the event is a funeral. But it is not a normal funeral. Corteo, by definition, is Italian for joyous procession, exactly what a clown would most likely imagine for his funeral.

Bouncing Beds Act Corteo

Acrobats during the Bouncing Beds act in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil during a performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Launched in 2005, there have been over 4,000 performances of Corteo around the world. Initially, like most Cirque productions it was staged in a tent. A revamp produced the current arena version which has totaled over 300 enactments. Windsor viewers will delight in a recently reenergized performance with some new sections that were not executed when the show arrived in Detroit earlier this year.

Corteo Cirque du Soleil Jugglers

Jugglers in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil performing at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

And despite its large cast there are standout performers. Most notable is Vancouver’s Santé Fortunato whose roles include working the chandeliers high above the stage and a spectacular hula hoop number done, like most other parts of the show, on a bed.

Santé D'Amours Fortunato hula hoop act Corteo

Corteo by Cirque du Soleil cast member Santé D’Amours Fortunato performing an aerial hula hoop act at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Santé D'Amours Fortunato hula hoop act Corteo

Corteo by Cirque du Soleil cast member Santé D’Amours Fortunato performing a hula hoop act at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Probably the most lovable is the dreamer clown himself, played by Manuel Fernández Rodríguez. He earns one of the shows best laughs. While playing with a ball, probably on purpose, it flies into the audience. A courteous audience member throws it back causing Rodriguez to stand sternly while telling the pitcher, “don’t play with my ball.”

Manuel Fernández Rodríguez cast as the Dreamer Clown Mauro in Corteo

Manuel Fernández Rodríguez cast as the Dreamer Clown Mauro in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil rides a bicycle through the air during a performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Without question, Victorino Lujan, of Buneos Airies, earns a large spot in most of the audience’s hearts, which is good. Standing at 6’9”, and with ample girth, he is a most wonderful giant clown. One of his most delightful acts is an almost pantomime in which he uses an oversized golf club to hit the head of an actor playing the role of the ball.

Corteo Cirque du Soleil Suspended Pole

Aerial acrobat in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil performing during the Suspended Pole Act at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

The troupe’s acrobats have no shortage of talent and no scarcity of props including using large rings and rolling about the stage. They also take to jumping on anything that can move, such as teeter totters and beds embedded with trampolines. Possibly, when they were children they failed to pay heed to their parents admonitions about bed jumping. And, just to shake up the routine up a bit, they also toss a few acrobats around in a new addition to the performance.

Corteo Teeterboard Act

Acrobats performing during a teeterboard act in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil during a performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

As the action continues a group of highly talented musicians provide everything needed using guitars, electric and acoustic, violins, accordions and the particular drumming of Brazilian Alex Reis. It is his steady and methodical beat that ties the show together in a manner well reminiscent of a circus and is matched with the outstanding fret work of upright bassist Bobby Brennan.

Music director for the show is one of Leamington’s newest residents, Roger Hewett.

Corteo Cirque du Soleil Marionette Puppet

A cast member in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil performing the role of a marionette puppet at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

There is a certain netherworld feel about the production. It is set neither on earth nor in heaven but somewhere in between, somewhere able to host a most fascinating clown’s funeral that has surreal elements and incredibly talented dancers, and aerial artists.

Performances are planned for 7:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a matinee at 3:30 on Saturday and final two shows Sunday at 1pm and 5pm.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, or to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/canada/windsor/corteo/buy-tickets or visit the Eyes On Windsor Corteo Event Listing.

Corteo Cirque du Soleil Juggler

A Juggler in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil performing at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Corteo by Cirque du Soleil Chandelier Act

Aerial acrobats in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil, perform on a giant chandelier during a performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Corteo Cirque du Soleil Aerial acrobats

Aerial acrobats in Corteo by Cirque du Soleil performing at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Corteo cast take a final bow

The cast of Corteo by Cirque du Soleil take a final bow following their performance at The WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on May 15, 2019. Photo by Don Davenport / Eyes On Windsor.

Robert Tuomi

Article by Robert Tuomi

For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.

 

   

Don Davenport Photographer

Photos by Don Davenport

In addition to being an audio engineer and musician, Don is a passionate photographer and owner of Detroit’s ‘Mission Photography and Design’. He has shot many commercial projects, including music industry and food related, for many businesses. He does family portraits, and event photography including weddings, corporate and live entertainment. Don also shoots custom, classics, muscle/hotrods, and vintage automobiles for various entities. Don’s work can be viewed on Flickr, and on the Mission Photography & Design Facebook Page.

 

 

 

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