‘Cirque’ Captivates In Palladium CSO Pops Concert

February 2, 2024

Cirque Goes to the Symphony – Courtesy of Dubbie Buckler. Used with permission.

Cirque Goes to the Symphony – Courtesy of Dubbie Buckler. Used with permission.

It is not unusual for me to eavesdrop on conversations heard in lobbies during intermission or following performances Interviews. More often they are good barometers, aside from audio responses in during the shows themselves, of audience reaction. Such was the case Saturday when I attended “Cirque Goes to the Symphony” presented by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra at The Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts. There, I overheard, from concert goers say, “They have never sounded better.” I concur. The concert was proof positive that CSO continues its upward trajectory as an evolving music organization, especially under the baton of newly appointed Maestro David Commanday and Executive Director Anne Marie Chastain.

As far as the concert itself I was seated in a lower stage left box which was feet away from the orchestra, giving me a unique perspective and one I have never experienced previously. At first, I was concerned that I was too close, and that the music would sound isolated. As it turns out, that was certainly not the case at all, because, in fact, it sounded richer and fuller. Plus, I got to see the percussion section and violin players up close and revel at the exactness of their execution under the deft baton of warm and gregarious music director Commanday. Seeing him in profile conducting with vigor, was also a unique experience.

Cirque Goes to the Symphony – Courtesy of Dubbie Buckler. Used with permission.

Regarding the concert program, which offer a variety of pieces, many of which are recognizable even to those who have never seen a classical concert, including those associated with those often hear at circuses. Combined with the magicians, strong-man acts, and other acts, the total affect was total enchantment. The only thing missing was a big top but the massive Palladium concert hall wasn’t a bad substitute.

Highlights were the opening instrumental of John Williams’s “Dvorak Carnival Overture.” and others such as Mascagni’s “Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rustican,” and Glinka’s Overture from Ruslan and Lydumila Op. 5” which showcased the orchestra’s elevated artistry and versatility reflected in its overall vibrant, full-bodied sound. Favorites which featured the Cirque performers with the CSO, included Bizet’s “Carmen Suite No 1 from Les Torreodors,” Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld/Can Can,” Tchaikovsky’s “Dance des cygnes from Swan Lake, “and Strauss’s “Thunder and Lightning Polka Op. 324.” The agile Cirque performers themselves displayed breathtaking.

In the end, the concert prompted nostalgic, magical memories of my childhood attending circuses and how mesmerized I was by the wonder, excitement and enthralling wonder of it all.

For tickets and information about the Carmel Symphony Orchestra 2023-2024 season visit thecenterpresents.










photo: Josh Humble

About Tom

Journalist, producer, director, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, arts administrator, TV contributor, actor, model, writer and lyricist, Tom Alvarez has had an extensive career in media and the fine arts and continues to be an enthusiastic and devoted fan of both. His passion and unique background grant him insight, access and perspective to cover, promote and review the arts in Indianapolis, Central Indiana and beyond. Follow him on social media @tomalvarezartswriter and @tomalvarez1.

Alvarez has been writing about theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts for 40 years. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Arts Indiana, Unite Magazine, Dance Magazine, NOTE Magazine, and Examiner.com, among many other print and online platforms. A former contributor to Across Indiana on WFYI-TV, he currently has a regular performing arts segment on WISH-TV’s Life. Style. Live!

A principal of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC, Alvarez co-created “Calder, The Musical” and is the managing director of Magic Thread Cabaret. As an actor-model, he has appeared in numerous TV and print ads and is represented by the Helen Wells Agency and Heyman Talent Artists Agency.

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