Circa "En Masse"

Created by Yaron Lifschitz with the Circa Ensemble
Emerson Paramount Center

A wild, tender, and savage ride, En Masse presents two visions of humanity at its extremes through circus settings of Schubert’s Winterreise and selections from Schwanengesang, as well as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Glitches and grooves by Swedish composer Klara Lewis are interspersed with Schubert’s exquisite songs of loss and love as a sole tenor and acrobats veer between anarchic energy and exquisite loss. Then Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with its ecstatic tribal energy, is played live by pianists while acrobats are pitted in a life-and-death struggle between group and victim in this first-ever circus setting of Rite of Spring. The Circa ensemble puts bodies on the line in electrifying explosions of physicality and power. With live music by tenor Robert Murray, and pianists Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Michael Kieran Harvey.

Spotlight: This performance is a Celebrity Series staff pick. Read why Robin Baker is excited for Circa.

Presented in Association with 

“Stratospheric skill … [Circa] has never looked better”

The Australian | View

“… a grand masterwork that challenges the boundaries of dance, theatre, music and circus.”

The Conversation

The 2020-21 Dance Series is sponsored by
STEPHANIE L. BROWN FOUNDATION, CYNTHIA & JOHN S. REED FOUNDATION, and ROYAL LITTLE FAMILY FOUNDATION


This performance is made possible in part by support from Celebrity Series
LIVE PERFORMANCE! Arts for All Endowment and Innovation Funds with additional support provided by Paul & Elizabeth Kastner, Suzanne Priebatsch, Sharon & Howard Rich and Mary Elisabeth Swerz & Robert S. Sherman.

Emerson Paramount Center

559 Washington Street, Boston

Spotlight

Staff Pick

Circa is a contemporary Brisbane-based circus ensemble that creates consistently awe-inspiring performances for audiences worldwide. Their displays of extreme physicality create powerful and moving performances that blur the lines between dance, theater, and circus. Artistic director Yaron Lifschitz joined Circa (previously known as Rock ’n’ Roll Circus) in 1999 and transformed the company into the prestigious and highly respected ensemble it’s known as today. Circa was named after the Latin word for ‘circle’ which highlights the ensemble’s mission to question traditional art forms. At the heart of the company’s mission lies its desire to push boundaries and cross borders. Circa has collaborated with orchestras, opera companies, string quartets, and visual artists, and is fueled by the question: “what is possible in circus?” 

Celebrity Series will present Circa’s new work, En Masse, next spring in association with ArtsEmerson at Emerson Paramount Center. En Masse presents two visions of humanity at its extremes through circus settings of Schubert’s Winterreise and selections from Schwanengesang, as well as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Glitches and grooves by Swedish composer Klara Lewis are interspersed with Schubert’s exquisite songs of loss and love as a sole tenor and acrobats from Circa’s legendary ensemble veer between anarchic energy and exquisite loss. Then Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with its ecstatic tribal energy, is played live by pianists while acrobats are pitted in a life-and-death struggle between group and victim in this first-ever circus setting of Rite of Spring. The performance will feature live music from tenor Robert Murray and pianists Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Michael Kieran Harvey. 

Robin Baker, Associate Director of Community Engagement, is particularly excited for Circa’s performances this season:

"I’m very excited about Circa En Masse performing acrobatics to live music by Schubert and Stravinsky (Winterreise and The Rite of Spring are old favorites of mine.) One of our hottest events last season was The Rite of Spring with Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Circa’s two-pianist arrangement should be very exciting. The rhythmic drive and intensity present in The Rite of Spring should be even more evident without the orchestral tone color we’re used to hearing with a full orchestra. I look forward to seeing what Yaron Lifschitz does in creating unique choreography.  

This event mirrors a similar music and movement thread in our Neighborhood Arts programming next season. Abilities Dance Boston and theater movement artist Yo-El Cassell will choreograph original rhythm pieces in collaboration with composer Ryan Edwards, Boston City Singers, and the Hurley K-8 School.  Maria Finkelmeier will lead a guided meditation (Project Daydream) in 40-minute performances with live marimba, voice, and electronic music elements. Grammy winners Nino de los Reyes and Sandeep Das will headline a quartet for a kathak and flamenco exploration with live music and dancers."

Circa’s Boston debut was as a part of our 2011-2012 season. The ensemble was only a seven-performer troupe at the time and presented their self-titled program, CIRCA, at Emerson Paramount Center. The Boston Globe review following the performance was titled “‘Circa’ presents a hypnotic night of small miracles,” and described the experience as “the impulse at times during Circa  is to rub your eyes in disbelief - not a good move, because this show is quite a sight to see.” (Aucoin, Don, The Boston Globe, March 2012).

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