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Music meets magic at Cirque de la Symphonie

The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra's latest season concluded with spectacular performances of Cirque de la Symphonie at the Artscape Theatre over the weekend. And while Cirque du Soleil was about the story and Madame Zingara was about the food, this show was created with the music in mind.
The orchestration was perfectly chosen to match the range of choreographed performances, with highlights including extracts from Rimsky Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol (for the tango duo), Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries (for the aerial rope), Khachaturian's Sabre Dance (for the electric juggler), and extracts from Stravinsky's Firebird (for the Russian strongmen).

Still on top form

Of course, as great as the eight international performers were, the concept wouldn't have worked without live music from the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, still on top form despite just ending a month of several intense performances. That's why my only frustration is that the audience seemed more interested in the visuals (read: applauded every few minutes) instead of letting the music play.

In any case, one can only hope that some people in the sold-out theatre (especially those witnessing a live symphony for the first time) went home with the intention to explore some of the music they'd just heard. More than that, I sincerely hope that some of the audience will attend future concerts of the symphony sans cirque. There's already a great line-up for the rest of the year.

Thursday 24 October (8pm, City Hall)

Conducted by Conrad van Alphen and featuring German-Korean pianist Christopher Park, sopranos Noluvuyiso Mpofu and Goitsemang Lehobye, and tenor Khanyiso Gwenxane as soloist, this performance includes:
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 by Brahms
  • Lobgesang, Op.52 (Hymn of Praise) by Mendelssohn

Thursday 31 October (8pm, City Hall)

Conducted by Conrad van Alphen and featuring Georgian pianist Mariam Batsashvili as soloist, this performance includes:
  • La Clemenza di Tito Overture, K. 621 by Mozart
  • Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 (Emperor) by Beethoven
  • Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60 by Dvorák

Thursday 7 November (8pm, City Hall)

Conducted by Perry So and featuring Korean violinist Yura Lee as soloist, this performance includes:
  • Le Roi Lear Overture, Op. 4 (King Lear) by Berlioz
  • Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46 by Bruch
  • Symphony No. 6 in C minor, Op. 58 by Glazunov

Thursday 14 November (8pm, City Hall)

Conducted by Perry So and featuring French cellist Jérôme Pernoo as soloist, this performance includes:
  • Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, Op. 80 by Faure
  • Cello Concerto by Connesson
  • Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61 by Schumann

Thursday 21 November (8pm, City Hall)

Conducted by Bernhard Gueller and featuring violinist Daniel Rowland as soloist, this performance includes:
  • Idomeneo Overture, K. 366 by Mozart
  • Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 by Elgar
  • Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43 by Sibelius

Thursday 28 November (8pm, City Hall)

Conducted by Bernhard Gueller and featuring Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi (soprano), Michelle Breedt (mezzo), Tshepo Moagi (tenor), Fikile Mvinjelwa (baritone), and Riaan Hunter (baritone) as soloists with the Voices of Cape Town, this performance includes:
  • Wesendoncklieder and excerpts from operas by Wagner
  • O Don Fatale and over excerpts from operas by Verdi

Tickets for all concerts are available from Computicket (click on the dates above and you'll be automatically redirected. For more information on the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (and for discounted season tickets), go to

About Eugene Yiga

Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer. Visit, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email moc.agiyenegue@olleh to say, um, hello.



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