Cirque du Soleil returns to northern Illinois for the first time since 2019, presenting “Corteo” in five performances from June 1 to 4 at the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates.
“Corteo” is one of Cirque du Soleil’s most popular productions, and features a cast and crew who speak 18 languages and represent 27 countries, a news release stated. First premiered in Montreal in April 2005, and debuted under the big top in Chicago the following year, “Corteo” has entertained over 10 million spectators in 20 countries.
“‘Corteo’ is a dive into the circus arts and the world of the clown, the favorite universe of its creator and director Daniele Finizi Pasca,” Alison Crawford, artistic director of “Corteo,” said in the release. “We immerse ourselves in the images that say so much about the circus, the strength of its tradition, each day renewed.”
The show’s Italian drape curtains – which are the largest in North America at 58 feet wide by 37 feet high – were inspired by the Eiffel Tower and hand-painted by Jean Rabasse, whose style is influenced by painters from France, Spain and Italy. The curtains were sewn in Canada, and sent to France to be painted.
Inspired by the Chartres Cathedral in France, the stage is central in the arena and divides the venue, with each half of the audience facing the other half, giving a unique perspective not only of the show, but also a performer’s-eye view of the audience.
The setting and story of “Corteo” come together to illustrate the humanity within each of us. Set in a magical world between heaven and earth, the show unfolds as the clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere. Surrounded by angels who watch from above, “Corteo” juxtaposes the clown’s strength with fragility, the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic, and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection. Lyrical and playful music propels a timeless celebration in which boundaries are blurred and illusion teases reality.
Shows are offered at 7:30 p.m. June 1 and 2; at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. June 3; and 1 p.m. June 4. NOW Arena is at 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway in Hoffman Estates. For tickets, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/corteo.