THERE were comedic moments of slapstick hilarity and beguiling magic. Also on display were stunning aerial and acrobatic performances, as well as feats of strength and endurance.
Enthralled audience members cheered and gasped in equal measure during the recent carnival-like atmosphere of the Cirque de la Symphonie show at the packed Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP).
It was one of few chances for the public to be rowdy in the hallowed hall where the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) provided the thematic music to the uncommon spectacles, that varied from upbeat instances to moving deliberations.
The two-night run, which elicited a myriad of emotions for all involved, saw the return of the Cirque de la Symphonie troupe, which had entertained audiences here twice before during sold out sessions in 2015 and 2018.
Korean American conductor Gene Chang, who helmed the MPO for the recent shows, had, in the beginning, encouraged the audience to be as loud as they wanted.
And the audience certainly obliged after he had jokingly said: "Don't hold your feelings inside, it's unhealthy!"
This was especially true during the unique and fresh performance of concert violinist, Janice Martin.
Her act was a first for the show's audience here, who got to see the string musician take her performance to a great height, literally.
Strumming out intricate solo runs intermittently to accompany the MPO, she did it all so eloquently while executing acrobatic moves high above the stage, during her aerial silk segment.
Playing the Winter movements 1 and 3 from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Martin was clearly the highlight of the show.
Audience members got another chance to experience more edge-of-seat excitement when the violinist performed the music piece, Csardas, as well.
This time she swung around and executed various acrobatic positions on a metal hoop suspended high above ground.
It was indeed a sight to behold as she took on the initially melancholic work of Vittorio Monti, which later progressed into a lively section that saw her ripping through her stringed instrument with gusto.
Martin’s skill was complemented by several other breathtaking acrobatic segments, that included an aerial silk duet, featuring Elena Zhirnova and Vitalii Buza.
The couple performed a series of poetic and astounding movements to the music of Across The Stars from Star Wars: Episode II, Attack Of The Clones.
It easily evoked the complicated and romantic relationship of the movie’s two lovers, Anakin and Padme.
The moving piece composed by John Williams was not the only one from the multiple award-winning American film score composer, performed by the MPO during the show.
A segment called, Adventures Of Indiana Jones: A Whirl Through Academe, saw Buza swinging and twirling around onstage utilising a cyr wheel.
Audience members gasped as he looked like he was about to crash into the MPO on several occasions, due to the wide angle and fast motion of him spinning inside the giant metal wheel, but, thankfully, it was all part of the show.
Another recognisable tune from Williams, the rousing Superman theme, had the crowd cheering loudly as the muscular and shirtless Benjamin Lerman walked onstage and then took to the sky like the Kryptonian superhero, courtesy of a couple of straps.
Hans Zimmer’s music score for the epic sword and sandals movie, Gladiator, was the perfect musical setting for Lerman and Roilan Hernandez to showcase their Herculean might and stamina, as the two worked together to realise some really difficult poses.
Keeping things lighthearted though was Vladimir Tsarkov, who juggled his way into the hearts of audience members with his clown mime act and hilarious antics.
He also showcased his impeccable skills by juggling a variety of objects from rings to clubs in various entertaining configurations.
The playful segments also featured a couple of magic tricks, that involved a rope gag and the changing of costumes onstage, with Elena Tsarkova and Chang too.
Visual spectacle aside, the MPO had its moment to shine as well during the music-only performances, which saw the capable philharmonic orchestra playing a fair bit of themes and scores from the movies.
Some were more vigorous, such as James Horner’s Theme from Avatar and John Barry’s James Bond tune, Diamonds Are Forever.
Others were elegant and haunting like Barry's Main Title theme to Out Of Africa and Moon River by Henry Mancini.
The roughly 110-minute Cirque de la Symphonie show was certainly a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable experience, judging from the raucous applause from the mesmerised audience that night.
Let's hope that the MPO and DFP will have more collaborations with this astounding team that will see them coming back for more jaw-dropping acts in the near future!