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WMS takes flight with ‘Cirque de la Symphonie’

Anonymous • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:24 AM

World record holders, and gold medal winners of international competitions and Olympians will take to the stage and air on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, for this exhilarating spectacle set to the backdrop of the WMS musicians. Both performances will be held at the Frauenthal Theater in downtown Muskegon beginning at 7:30 p.m.

While the Cirque performers entertain, WMS Music Director Scott Speck will lead the musicians through performances of both classic and contemporary works — including Maurice Ravel’s seductive “Bolero,” the lush “Bacchanale” from Camille Saint-Saens’ opera “Samson and Delilah, John Williams’ “Across the Stars” from “Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones,” and selections from Georges Bizet’s classic opera “Carmen.”

This will be Speck’s third time working with Cirque performers, who have previously performed with him and the Mobile Symphony. 

“They choreograph each act to the ebb and flow of the music,” Speck said. “Just as with the greatest dance performances, the music and the movement onstage complement and enhance each other. For example, I actually learned something about the musical structure of Saint-Saens’ ‘Danse Macabre’ for violin solo and orchestra by watching the spinning rings act that accompanies it.”

The aerialists will fly directly over the heads of Speck and the symphony, and that has prompted some special annotations in the score.

“There was a moment in a performance several years where I wrote ‘duck’ in the score when an aerialist flies overhead,” Speck recalled. “I don’t think anyone would have collided with me — they’re just too good for that — but I could definitely feel the whoosh over my head.”

Regular attendees of WMS performances will notice a big difference as they file into the music hall for the performance. Three rows of seating in the center section are being removed in order to construct a performing space and landing pad for the aerial acts. Audiences will be even closer to the breathtaking feats and magical maneuvers.

Individual WMS single tickets for this concert are $28, $44 and $54. They can be purchased online at www.westmichigansymphony.org; by calling 231-726-3231; or in person at the West Michigan Symphony ticket office, 425 W. Western Ave.; or the night of concert at the door. Student tickets are $15 and are not available online.

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