Cirque du Soleil’s forty-first production, Volta, was a thrilling circus for the senses, blending athleticism, artistry, acrobatics, lights and laughter.
The show’s name Volta is a nod to both a quick about-turn or pivot in the present, as well as to a return to the past. It also seemed to refer to high-voltage, given the show’s energy and a dazzling displays meant to jolt us out of our everyday lives.
If there ever was an event to undo ordinary, this is it.
Our team was graciously hosted by Kim Crawford Wines for an evening under the big top in Gatineau, Quebec.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Marlborough, New Zealand
In the mix, superhuman contortionists, ultra-fast double-dutch skipping with the ropes emblazoned in LED lights and costumes shooting laser beams, avant-garde clown relief (Wayne Wilson), a breath-taking ballet sequence with a BMX rider who matches her moves, dazzling video montages.
There’s also gravity-defying bungee plummeting, rollerblading wizardry, heart-stopping parkour (running and jumping along the tops of urban buildings), edgy hip-hop, pulsing electro-pop music by the French music project M83 with singers Camilla Bäckman and Darius Harper a moving aerial bridge and a wary salute to modern technology.
The show’s narrative is based loosely on the Joseph Losey film, The Boy With Green Hair, who suffered ridicule. Volta’s main character, Waz, has blue feathers, a placeholder for whatever makes you different, and searches for his own freedom and self-definition.
Although the Cirque’s set in Vegas are larger and more elaborate, this stage was impressive with six hydraulic, retractable ramps of towering, transparent polycarbonate for the biking displays to be seen by all 2,600 seats.
Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
The derring-do BMX bike stunts star Trevor Bodogh, who has appeared on the TV shows Canada’s Got Talent and Dragon’s Den. He leads a team of four bikers who somersault and fly through the air between ramps.
Artistic Director Michael G. Smith incorporates extreme action sports as yet another means of self-expression, reinvention and not following conventional rules. It’s also a way to reinvent itself along the trajectory of its 33-year history.
A special highlight, the male aerialist, a character named Waz, who was effortlessly pulled to the top of the big top by a red lamp. A meditating female aerialist sits cross-legged as she’s levitated into the air suspended by a rope attached to her hair. She then performs a graceful aerial routine 50 feet high up in the tent.
It was hard to believe that the performance was actually two-and-a-half hours long: it seemed like an hour at most as we were gripped in the spectacle.
Special guest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire and their son, along with a dozen secret service men.
Wine Columnist, Ottawa Wedding Magazine
Who doesn’t love a circus? Lights, costumes, death-defying performances…the child in all of us loves this excitement. Recently, Cirque du Soleil performed their latest show, Volta, at the new ZIBI site in Gatineau.
I arrived early and enjoyed walking around the grounds. I’m an avid people-watcher and this was an ideal spot.
I spotted a pretzel-seller with painted face and colourful headdress, a gold top-hatted gentleman with a gilded golden face handing out clown noses and then, what could be more delightful? Friendly servers offering trays with refreshing Kim Crawford Pinot Gris or Russian Vodka with lime.
My favourite scene was a model with an elaborate layered skirt that was being hand-painted on the spot.
The show began and there was something for every age group. My favourite acts were the tension-filled acrobatics, keeping us all on the edge of our seats. The audience collectively held their breath during an act with an acrobat being lifting through the air suspended by a rope attached to her hair – yikes! Two hours of skilled acrobatic and athletic acts in colourful costumes.
As we exited after the show, I looked up and saw the coloured lights atop the tents, changing colour from yellow and red, through neon green to vivid blue. The moon rose in the summer night sky and hung suspended, just above the big top.
The excitement and magic of a night at the circus made me feel just like a child again.
Wine Expert, CTV Morning Live
Internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil is in Ottawa until August 27 with daily shows of their new and totally adrenaline-packed show, VOLTA!
This year patrons attending VOLTA can enjoy fine wines from Kim Crawford and Ruffino in the comfort of the air conditioned big tents that have been installed on the site of the Zibi development, pretty much at the end of the Portage bridge, on the Gatineau side. For anyone who lives downtown, it’s a super quick Uber ride and voila, you’re there.
I had the pleasure of attending on opening night and what a terrific experience it was! From the moment you arrive, you’re greeted by some of Cirque’s talented performers, which gets you in the mood for the creative and remarkable acts that are to come.
Step in the air-conditioned tent and treat yourself to a refreshing glass of Kim Crawford wine or perhaps celebrate the evening and toast with some Ruffino Prosecco.
As for the show, it’s filled with artistic creativity, youthful energy, and mind-blowing skill and excitement. How those athletes/performers do those things I have no idea but it’s spectacular to observe live. There’s not a bad seat in the house, but I’d recommend you sit as close to the stage as possible to take full advantage of wide variety of acts that happen in, on, around, and above that stage.
I enjoyed a glass of Kim Crawford Pinot Gris before the show and a refreshing glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc at intermission which was a great treat on a warm summer eve. I’d highly recommend checking out VOLTA as another one of Ottawa’s Canada 150 special events of the summer!
Grab a bite downtown first then head over to the show, a great way to enjoy a fine Ottawa summer evening.
Wine Columnist, Huffington Post Canada
The summer of 2017 in Ottawa has been spotty in the weather department. Lots of rain and cooler than normal temperatures have made some of us believe summer skipped us altogether.
The evening of August 3rd was the quintessential warm summer night we yearn for in the throes of deep, dark January. It was also the premier of Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA at the Zibi site in Gatineau, QB and I was excited as it was my first Cirque experience brought to me by Kim Crawford Wines.
Trays of Kim Crawford’s Pinot Gris were being passed at the early Mix ‘n’ Mingle along with VOLTA themed snacks. The Pinot Gris was perfectly chilled and had just the right amount of thirst quenching acidity to pair with the gold dusted pretzels!
As the sun set, my sister and I entered the Big Top. The show was about to begin and I must say that the venue was truly intimate – not a bad seat in the house! Lights; acrobats; bicycles; clowns; flashy costumes; and amazement. I wasn’t disappointed.
Thanks to Kim Crawford Wines and Arterra Wines for a wonderful event…and arranging for a perfect summer evening.
Wine Expert, Rogers Daytime Television
Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2016
Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
Cirque du Soleil is known as a gold standard in the modern Circus scene. Attending the opening night offering in Ottawa / Gatineau was an extravagant experience, to say the least.
Patrons were offered crisp and well-chilled Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris to sip on while enjoying the jaw dropping, dynamics of world-renowned acrobatic amazement.
The vivid music, lighting, costumes, complemented the stunning acrobatic performance and paired well with the heat of summer.
Sharing the event with the honourable prime minister of Canada, some of his family, and his excellency the high Commissioner of Australia to Canada, among other VIPs added an extra special zing to the experience.
Like wine, not all circuses are created equal. The Volta experience offered a dynamic and vividly energetic performance which kept me on the edge of my seat yearning for more.
Photo: Jon Steeves
Photo: Jayme Donohoe
Photo: Jayme Donohoe
Jon Steeves, Sommelier; Monique Sosa, Columnist, Ottawa Life Magazine; Cirque Performer; Matt Steeves, Wine Expert, CTV Morning, Michael Lewis, Wine Enthusiast
Having fun with my beau and Cirque Performer
With Cirque performer and Jayme Donohoe
We’d like to thank Kim Crawford Wines for providing our team with tickets to this Cirque de Soleil performance.
Volta opened first in Montreal with a 12-week run before it moved to Ottawa until late August. It opens in Toronto September 7.