Cirque Du Soleil: Alegría
Produced by: Cirque du Soleil Musique, Inc.
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I first was introduced to the music of Cirque du Soleil, I was mesmerized. Upon completing Cirque du Soleil: Kà, I told all of my friends about my experience. It turns out that many of my friends had actually attended performances by Cirque du Soleil. Some had even purchased soundtrack albums of these performances. One such friend was kind enough to lend me a soundtrack that I have heard rave reviews about – Alegría. I couldn’t wait to pop this album into the CD player. Alegría is a Spanish word that can be translated to mean happiness, joyfulness, or jubilation. I hoped the album would live up to its name.
The story behind Cirque du Soleil: Alegría contains many characters all with their own separate tales with a central theme – the evolution of power. The musical composition throughout Alegría accurately portrays the emotions that transpire in the face of such an evolution. The album opens with the title track Alegría, powerfully performed by Francesca Gagnon. The music has an air of mystique supplied by both Gagnon’s haunting voice and the musical composition. The use of woodwind and keyboard instruments lent a more mystical aspect as Gagnon recounts happiness mixed with sorrow. This track is followed by Vai Vandrai, a song that begins with the sounds of a calliope representing all of the emotions a circus can inspire – joy, excitement, fun, and confusion. Interspersed within this track are the sounds of sorrow portrayed in long, drawn-out, hauntingly chilling tones.
In the hopeful track of Querer, Francesca Gagnon shows her true range as a vocalist hitting incredible notes as she sings out her hearts desires to the accompaniment of guitars and accordions. The following track, Irne, brings with it an air of excitement portrayed through the sounds of the saxophone. Jeux d'enfants is another “circusy” style track while Taruka is dark and mysterious. Excitement builds to a crescendo throughout the track entitled Icare. The entire album is a mix of emotional highs and lows as the characters struggle with their various fates. Each track tells a different tale. Alegría is an emotional rollercoaster ride filled with happiness, sorrow, joy, pain, excitement and disappointment, culminating in the final track Nocturne, a mysterious jazz composition that signifies the end of an era.
Bravo to René Dupéré for his amazing composing talents. Alegría is yet another of his Cirque du Soleil masterpieces. I was completely captivated by the musical composition found in each track of this album. The way in which the instruments were used to portray emotion makes you almost believe that you don’t need to see the performance to understand what it is about…almost. I still yearn to see Cirque du Soleil enacted to at least one of the soundtracks I have had the fortune of listening to.
I would definitely recommend Alegría to any music aficionado and it would seem that I am not alone in this opinion. According to the Cirque du Soleil official website, Alegría is currently the best selling Cirque du Soleil album to date. It has received a number of award nominations throughout the years and spent 65 weeks on Billboard’s World Music Charts. So, run, don’t walk to the nearest retailer and pick up your copy of Cirque du Soleil: Alegría today. And by all means, catch a show when it comes to town – I’m certainly planning to!