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Corteo

Corteo, which means "cortege" in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.

The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music, by turns lyrical and playful, carries Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.

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Corteo - Creators

  • Guy Laliberté

    Founder and Creative Guide

    Guy Laliberté was born in Québec City in 1959. An accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-eater, he founded Quebec's first internationally-renowned circus with the support of a small group of accomplices. A bold visionary, Guy Laliberté recognized and cultivated the talents of the street performers from the Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul and created Cirque du Soleil in 1984.

    Guy Laliberté was the first to orchestrate the marriage of cultures and artistic and acrobatic disciplines that is the hallmark of Cirque du Soleil. Since 1984, he has guided the creative team through the creation of every show and contributed to elevating the circus arts to the level of the great artistic disciplines.

    Cirque du Soleil has become an international organization, as much in terms of its makeup as in the scope of its activities and influence. Guy Laliberté now heads an organization with activities on five continents.

    In October 2007, Guy Laliberté entered into a second lifetime commitment by creating the ONE DROP Foundation to fight poverty around the world by providing sustainable access to safe water.  This new dream stems from the knowledge that the right to water is key to the survival of individuals and communities all over the world and from the values which have been at the heart of Cirque du Soleil since its inception:  the belief that life gives back what you have given and even the smallest gesture will make a difference.

    In September 2009, Guy Laliberté became the first Canadian private space explorer.  His mission was dedicated to raising awareness on water issues facing humankind on planet earth. Under the theme Moving Stars and Earth for Water, this first Poetic Social Mission in space aimed at touching people through an artistic approach: a special 120-minute webcast program featuring various artistic performances unfolding in 14 cities on five continents, including the International Space Station.

    Main Awards and Distinctions
    In 2012, Guy Laliberté was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame. In 2011, he became one of the inductees of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Guy Laliberté was awarded his very own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. In the same year, the Quebec government honoured Guy by promoting him from Chevalier (a distinction granted six years earlier) to Officier as a member of the Ordre de la Pléiade. Université Laval (Québec) awarded an honorary doctorate to Guy Laliberté in 2008. The year before, Guy Laliberté took the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for all three levels: Quebec, Canada and international. In 2004, he received the Order of Canada, the highest distinction in the country, from the Governor General of Canada.  The same year, he was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2003, he was honoured by the Condé Nast group as part of the Never Follow Program, a tribute to creators and innovators. In 2001, he was named a Great Montrealer by the Académie des Grands Montréalais. In 1997, Guy Laliberté received the Ordre National du Québec, the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Quebec.

    Other awards and distinctions

    2009
    Lifetime Achievement Award granted by the Canadian Marketing Association

    2002
    Induction to Canada’s Walk of Fame

    1998
    Visionary Award granted by the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Arts and Design in New York)

    1996
    Vision nouvelle award received at the 43rd Gala du Commerce (Quebec)

    1988
    Personality of the Year, Gala Excellence La Presse (Quebec)

    1988
    Entrepreneur of the Year, Les Affaires magazine (Quebec)

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  • Daniele Finzi Pasca

    Creator and Director

    For Daniele Finzi Pasca, Corteo represents a kind of full circle, a bringing together of all the threads of his professional career. As a young man growing up in Switzerland he was a competitive gymnast. He went on to work in circus, and eventually established a reputation in theater as a writer and director.

    Daniele was born into a family of photographers. "Then my mother became a painter," he says. "I grew up surrounded by images and imagery. And I put them into motion."

    Perhaps the most formative event in his life was a trip he took to India, where he worked as a volunteer looking after terminally ill patients. On his return to Switzerland, he founded a company called Sunil's Clowns, which changed its name to Teatro Sunil in 1986. Teatro Sunil is still "home," but Daniele also travels the world, with his own productions and as a guest director with other theater and circus companies.

    A prolific writer, Daniele does not restrict his creative output to the stage. He has also published Come acqua allo specchio, a collection of short stories. (The show Passo Migratore is based on one of the stories from this collection).

    Daniele's lifelong fascination with clowns and clowning took root at the famed Circus Nock, where he performed in an acrobatic clown number. He has since developed a personal approach to the tradition which he has presented in courses and workshops for companies and organizations all over the world, including Canada's National Circus School and Cirque du Soleil. He also directed the highly-acclaimed Cirque Eloize shows Nomade - La Nuit le Ciel est Plus Grand and Rain - Comme une Pluie dans Tes Yeux.

    Corteo is inspired by the death and funeral of a clown, and draws on a clown figure from a past long before the existence of circus—a time when clowns were not the stereotypes we know now, but far more complex characters. Daniele says the show is "situated at a strange level between heaven and earth, where the gods and humans can interact through the medium of circus."

    The show's environment takes its inspiration from many architectural sources, especially Chartres cathedral and its labyrinth, which for Daniele Finzi Pasca symbolizes the journey of life. "The labyrinth is a great voyage: To find yourself you have to lose yourself," he explains.

    Daniele Finzi Pasca was born in Lugano, Switzerland in 1964.

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  • Line Tremblay

    Director of Creation

    Line Tremblay first fell in love with Cirque du Soleil in 1984, drawn by its freewheeling spirit, a spirit she says has never gone away. “For me, circus is the most complete art form. It addresses the audience on the visual, the emotional and the physical level all at the same time. I always knew I was destined for a life in this milieu.”

    Before joining Cirque du Soleil, Line developed a passion for working in the world of film and television, notably as an Assistant Director at Radio-Canada, where she worked closely with designers and creators. In 1992, she joined Franco Dragone, assisting him in the creation and direction of the Cirque du Soleil shows Mystère, Alegría, Quidam, “O” and La Nouba. Her talents were also put to work as Artistic Director of Quidam. Her rich association with Franco helped her to master the mechanics of stage direction and show creation.

    A newcomer to the equestrian field, Line worked with Gilles Ste-Croix assisting in the creation of the 2000 show Cheval Théâtre. She left Cirque du Soleil to work with Franco Dragone on the creation of the Celine Dion show A New Day, and returned to Cirque in 2003 to work on Corteo as the first woman in Cirque’s history to occupy the position of Director of Creation. In 2008, she took on the position of Director of Creation once again with ZED, working with director François Girard for the first time.

    “With Zarkana, we wanted to create a decidedly acrobatic show in which circus arts would take center stage,” says Line Tremblay. “The choice of disciplines, the staging, the set design, projections and choreography all contribute to a major transformation of one of the biggest performance spaces in the world."

    Line Tremblay was born in Hull, Quebec.

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  • Jean Rabasse

    Set Designer

    Jean Rabasse has worked extensively in cinema, theatre and dance as a set designer and decorator. He has designed the sets for Philippe Decouflé's dance company DCA for more than a decade.

    Jean was nominated for an Academy Award and won the César for his sumptuous, elaborate designs for the 2001 film Vatel. His other film credits include Astérix et Obélix contre César, directed by Claude Zidi, The Dreamers, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen directed by Caro and Jeunet, Norman Jewison's The Statement and Christophe Barratier’s Faubourg 36, for which he received a César nomination.

    In 2009, he designed the sets for the opera L'Amour de loin, in a staging by Daniele Finzi Pasca, presented by the English National Opera in London.

    A versatile artist, Jean Rabasse reinvents the craft of forms. "I make no distinctions between the disciplines in which I work. In movies I always stress theatrical effects, to give the film soul. In the theatre, I use cinematic elements."

    IRIS is the third Cirque du Soleil show (following Corteo and The Beatles LOVE) for which Jean has designed the sets.

    "Instead of a classic representation of cinema referring to specific films, we wanted to capture the essence of cinema, its original emotion," says Jean Rabasse. “The proscenium of IRIS is a nod to the origins of cinema in Coney Island and the world of Jules Verne, and acts as the gateway to our imaginary world."

    Jean Rabasse was born in Tlemcen, Algeria.

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  • Dominique Lemieux

    Costume Designer

    Dominique Lemieux designed the costumes for all Cirque du Soleil productions between 1989 and 1998. Every single show she has worked on – We Reinvent the Circus (1989), Nouvelle Expérience (1990), Saltimbanco (1992), Mystère (1993), Alegría (1994), Quidam (1996), "O", La Nouba (1998), Corteo (2005), ZAIA (2008) and Banana Shpeel (2009) – bears her unique imprint.

    As a costume designer, Dominique does a lot more than simply outfit the artists. Her designs play a key role in creating the fantastic characters that populate the Cirque du Soleil universe.

    With an expert eye, Dominique weaves colors, patterns and fabrics into fabulous costumes. But her choice of material is not strictly guided by aesthetic considerations alone. For Dominique, determining how fibres react to skin, movement, fire or water is of vital importance, and she never loses sight of the artists' needs.

    Dominique's passion for drawing started at an early age and led her to study fine arts at Concordia University. After earning her degree, she worked as an art designer and children's book illustrator. She later enrolled in the set design program at Canada's National Theatre School (NTS), where the courses she took in drawing and costume design took her career in a whole new direction.

    From 1986 to 1988 she worked as an assistant to François Barbeau, one of Montreal's top costume designers and also a teacher at the NTS. During this period, she collaborated on many creations that could be seen on stages across the city.

    In Banana Shpeel Dominique Lemieux has come up with a mix that blends retro and modern. "The line of the costumes recalls the days of vaudeville, while the fabrics and materials are contemporary,” she says. “What makes the costumes is the juxtaposition of the two. I've used illusion as a leitmotif, gradually going from monochrome to color, using vibrant shimmering and changing materials that evoke the flamboyance of the world of vaudeville. Banana Shpeel is full of contrasts: David Shiner loves exploring the extremes, and the costumes sometimes reflect the Machiavellian characters he’s created, and sometimes the angelic."

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  • Philippe Leduc

    Composer and Musical Director

    Composer, arranger and conductor Philippe Leduc describes himself as a workaholic, and that is borne out by the sheer volume of his work. His compositions and arrangements have literally been part of the background music of daily life in Quebec since the early 1980s.

    A graduate of the faculty of music at the Université de Montréal, Philippe composed the news theme for the television network Radio-Canada and the soundtrack music for innumerable other highly-rated TV shows, including the Cirque du Soleil production Solstrom.

    Philippe has been in demand as a composer of advertising jingles for a wide variety of national and international accounts. But as prolific as he has been for commercial clients, he has always made time for his own compositions.

    Philippe, who composed for the Cirque du Soleil television series Solstrom, describes his orchestral score for Corteo as "very visceral music," but he is quick to add that there are many ethereal passages and passionate moments, too.

    "I started with the physical," he says. "There is a relationship between the movements of the performers and the music. In a very broad sense the music is operatic. I'm trying to stretch the musical spectrum at Cirque."

    Philippe sees Corteo as a show full of contrasts and musical moods, from solo guitar to an imposing orchestral presence. "It's very beautiful at the end," he says, "but along the way it's funny too. There are surprises and laughter around every corner. There are medieval influences with ancient instruments and traces of the 1930s but it's all very current music."

    In a first for Cirque du Soleil, the music will depend on a great deal of Improvisation. There are several "duels" between a virtuoso violinist and an expert accordionist which will be completely different for every performance.

    Philippe Leduc was born in Montreal.

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  • Maria Bonzanigo

    Composer and Musical Director

    Maria Bonzanigo has worked closely with Corteo director Daniele Finzi Pasca since joining his company Teatro Sunil in 1984 (before it was even known by that name). Her music has been integral to many of the Sunil's best-known shows, including Te Amo and Tres Tristes Tangos.

    Maria has also appeared in Sunil productions as an actress and dancer, and has worked as a director and choreographer too, for her own music and for other composers' works.

    Maria Bonzanigo studied composition with Paul Glass and dance with Rosalia Chladek and went on to develop a highly personal approach of her own to creating music for the stage. In addition to her work for theater, she also composed for the highly-acclaimed Cirque Eloize circus shows Rain and Nomade (which were directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca).

    "Working with Daniele Finzi Pasca for more than 20 years, we created a language together," says Maria. "A way to communicate intimately with the audience and the music is an integral part of that language."

    For Corteo Maria Bonzanigo is sharing the duties of composer with Philippe Leduc. She is concentrating on the portion of the music that is performed by the artists in the show, while Philippe has been developing the orchestral soundtrack compositions.

    "We're taking artists and acrobats and putting them in a show that is more theater than circus," explains Maria. "The music reflects that theatrical aspect of the show. The style is a kind of modern/medieval, with African, Asian and Latin American rhythms. It's new and simple at the same time."

    Maria Bonzanigo was born in 1966 in Lausanne.

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  • Hugo Gargiulo

    Acting Coach - Teatro Sunil

    Acting Coaches Hugo Gargiulo and Antonio Vergamini come to Corteo from Teatro Sunil, the theater and dance company founded by the show's Director, Daniele Finzi Pasca in Switzerland in 1983.

    Motivated by a deep commitment to humanitarian principles, Daniele has placed the tragicomic figure of the clown at the core of Teatro Sunil's productions such as Rituale, Icaro, Aittestás, Visitatio, Te Amo and Tres Tristes Tangos to express a broad range of human experiences and emotions. He has called Sunil's emphasis on sensitivity and the sense of touch "the theatre of caress."

    Hugo Gargiulo and Antonio Vergamini have been key members of the Sunil creative team as actors and directors for many years and have been working closely with all the artists of Corteo (including the musicians) to develop their acting skills and introduce them to the world of the clown.

    "Our challenge was to bring out the fragile side of the acrobats," says Hugo, "and they are more used to putting the spotlight on their strength."

    Working with a large cast has given the two coaches the opportunity to finally realize artistic dreams they have held for a long time. However, many of the artists they are working with have never acted before. "Their lack of experience is a challenge," admits Antonio. "But it also means they are more generous and ready to be open. Above all, our challenge was to bring out the fragile side of the acrobats. We would like each artist to contribute something unique."

    Asked to describe the show, Hugo says there will be many dream-like images and a great deal of humanity on stage. "The artists will not be hidden by their makeup or their costumes, they will be presenting themselves to the audience," he adds. "We wanted the audience to see in their faces the children they once were and the old people they will become."

    Hugo Gargiulo was born in Uruguay in 1965.

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  • Dolores Heredia

    Dramaturgical Analyst - Teatro Sunil

    Acting Coaches Hugo Gariulo and Antonio Vergamini come to Corteo from Teatro Sunil, the theater and dance company founded by the show's Director, Daniele Finzi Pasca in Switzerland in 1983.

    Motivated by a deep commitment to humanitarian principles, Daniele has placed the tragicomic figure of the clown at the core of Teatro Sunil's productions such as Rituale, Icaro, Aittestás, Visitatio, Te Amo and Tres Tristes Tangos to express a broad range of human experiences and emotions. He has called Sunil's emphasis on sensitivity and the sense of touch "the theatre of caress."

    Hugo Gariulo and Antonio Vergamini have been key members of the Sunil creative team as actors and directors for many years and have been working closely with all the artists of Corteo (including the musicians) to develop their acting skills and introduce them to the world of the clown.

    "Our challenge was to bring out the fragile side of the acrobats," says Hugo, "and they are more used to putting the spotlight on their strength."

    Working with a large cast has given the two coaches the opportunity to finally realize artistic dreams they have held for a long time. However, many of the artists they are working with have never acted before. "Their lack of experience is a challenge," admits Antonio. "But it also means they are more generous and ready to be open. Above all, our challenge was to bring out the fragile side of the acrobats. We would like each artist to contribute something unique."

    Asked to describe the show, Hugo says there will be many dream-like images and a great deal of humanity on stage. "The artists will not be hidden by their makeup or their costumes, they will be presenting themselves to the audience," he adds. "We wanted the audience to see in their faces the children they once were and the old people they will become."

    Dolores Heredia was born in Mexico in 1966.p>
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  • Antonio Vergamini

    Acting Coach - Teatro Sunil

    Acting Coaches Hugo Gariulo and Antonio Vergamini come to Corteo from Teatro Sunil, the theater and dance company founded by the show's Director, Daniele Finzi Pasca in Switzerland in 1983.

    Motivated by a deep commitment to humanitarian principles, Daniele has placed the tragicomic figure of the clown at the core of Teatro Sunil's productions such as Rituale, Icaro, Aittestás, Visitatio, Te Amo and Tres Tristes Tangos to express a broad range of human experiences and emotions. He has called Sunil's emphasis on sensitivity and the sense of touch "the theatre of caress."

    Hugo Gariulo and Antonio Vergamini have been key members of the Sunil creative team as actors and directors for many years and have been working closely with all the artists of Corteo (including the musicians) to develop their acting skills and introduce them to the world of the clown.

    "Our challenge was to bring out the fragile side of the acrobats," says Hugo, "and they are more used to putting the spotlight on their strength."

    Working with a large cast has given the two coaches the opportunity to finally realize artistic dreams they have held for a long time. However, many of the artists they are working with have never acted before. "Their lack of experience is a challenge," admits Antonio. "But it also means they are more generous and ready to be open. Above all, our challenge was to bring out the fragile side of the acrobats. We would like each artist to contribute something unique."

    Asked to describe the show, Hugo says there will be many dream-like images and a great deal of humanity on stage. "The artists will not be hidden by their makeup or their costumes, they will be presenting themselves to the audience," he adds. "We wanted the audience to see in their faces the children they once were and the old people they will become."

    Antonio Vergamini was born in Italy in 1967.

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  • Martin Labrecque

    Lighting Designer

    Martin Labrecque’s professional credits include more than 140 theatrical productions, as well as circus shows. Martin contributed to the critical success of several Quebec shows. He has won many Quebec awards for his lighting design in addition to several nominations. Martin Labrecque created the lighting for two critically acclaimed circus shows produced by Cirque Éloize, Rain and Nomade, as well as Cirque du Soleil shows Corteo, KOOZA, Viva ELVIS and Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour before KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities. In 2009, Martin designed the lighting for an eleven-hour show by Canadian author, director and actor Wajdi Mouawad, which was presented in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. He also worked on the show Paradis Perdu, directed by Dominic Champagne and presented in Montreal and Belles Soeurs (2011) directed by René Richard Cyr.

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  • Jonathan Deans

    Sound Designer

    Jonathan Deans is one of the most sought-after live entertainment sound designers in the world. As a young man, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as an actor but had also a keen interest in sound and so began to blend with a theatrical context. Several years later, after a spell as a sound engineer in the music industry, notably at Morgan Studios where he brushed shoulders with artists such as Cat Stevens, Paul Simon and Rick Wakeman, he made his way back to the theatre via the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and later went on to mix the sound for the musical A Chorus Line. One success soon followed another, and he became the sound mixing engineer for dozens of London’s West End productions. Jonathan’s success as a mixing sound engineer led to him being hired as sound designer on the musical Marilyn. This was followed by work on other productions as Designer on Time, Les Misérables, Mutiny, Jean Seberg to mention a few. Over a decade later he relocated in America where he has designed systems and productions for theme parks, stadiums, arenas and Broadway productions including Ragtime, Fosse, King David, Damn Yankees, Taboo, Brooklyn, Lestat, Pirate Queen, Young Frankenstein, La Cage Aux Folles, Spiderman, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. With Michael Jackson ONE Jonathan is creating the sound system and the audio environment of his 14th Cirque du Soleil show since Saltimbanco in 1992.

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  • Danny Zen

    Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer

    Danny Zen first arrived at Cirque du Soleil in 1990 to work as a welder in the company's workshops. That same year he went on the first European tour of Le Cirque Réinventé, then moved on to Nouvelle Expérience on which he worked as a welder, assembler, mechanic and head usher. In 1992 he toured with Saltimbanco as a tent technician. Danny has worked at the National Circus School in Montreal and has, over the years, contributed to the design of most of the aerial acrobatic equipment used in the Cirque du Soleil shows Alegría, Mystère, Quidam, Dralion, Varekai, "O", La Nouba and. He was also Head Rigger for Quidam in 1996. In 2008, he designed the rigging and equipment for the acrobatics show at the Quebec City 400th anniversary celebrations. KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities is Danny Zen’s fourth engagement as Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer for a Cirque du Soleil show, following Corteo, KOOZA and Zarkana.

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  • Nathalie Gagné

    Makeup Designer

    Nathalie Gagné was one of the first graduates of the Montreal branch of the famed Paris-based makeup school École Christian Chauveau. Before joining Cirque du Soleil, Nathalie worked in theatre, film and television. She has twice been nominated for a Gémeau award for best makeup, all categories combined. The honor is conferred by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Since 1995 Nathalie has crafted more than 1,000 separate makeup designs for 16 Cirque du Soleil shows. In 2010, Nathalie designed the makeup for the play Il Campiello by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Serge Denoncourt, and for the 3D movie Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away produced by James Cameron and directed by Andrew Adamson in 2012.

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