The art of being dazzled by a performance is far from lost, be it during live music, comedy, dance or theatre—but that intangible element of surprise often is. That mysterious allure is precisely what Bacio Rosso aims to give audiences in Vancouver when it launches its 44-show run this November, culminating on New Year’s Eve.
Bacio Rosso loosely translates to a kiss of red in Italian and has been dubbed a “gourmet cabaret cirque” by its founders—but what does that really mean? In essence, a spectacle of the unexpected filled with cabaret, magic, cirque, juggling, and acrobatics all rolled into one evening, punctuated by a multi-course meal. It’s similar to Moulin Rouge, but instead of dinner followed by a performance, you are immersed in the environment from the very beginning. “Bacio Rosso is all about being in the intimate environment we have created,” explains artistic director Scott Malcolm, who has directed cirque-cabaret shows all over the globe and used to tour alongside famed French mime Marcel Marceau. “Here we have a group of extraordinary artists, up close and personal. Let’s put it this way: when you walk into that room, you won’t know if the trapeze artist is your cocktail waitress. Those lines continue to blur as the evening goes on.”
“When you walk into that room, you won’t know if the trapeze artist is your cocktail waitress.”
The talent roster is a range of eclectic performers from around the globe; together as a cast, they represent a grouping of professionals rarely seen under one roof. There is Lady Rizo, for example, a New York–based cabaret star with a wickedly funny streak; Jimmy Gonzales, a juggler and dancer just coming off a run of Cirque du Soleil; Shawn Farquhar, a multi-award-winning magician from Maple Ridge, B.C.; and Erica Nguyen, an aerial cirque performer from Moncton, N.B. Audience members will get to know them all throughout the eve while sipping fine wines and dining on Italian fare by La Quercia’s executive chef, Adam Pegg (think slow-roasted beef with carrots and jus, or sautéed wild mushrooms served over creamy polenta).
A tent set up in Queen Elizabeth Park will seat over 300 guests each performance, but this is no ordinary tent, of course. It’s a vintage Spiegeltent (Flemish for mirror tent), which was first popularized throughout Europe in the late 19th-century for travelling shows; only a handful of the rare tents still exist today. Rik Klessens, a fourth-generation Spiegeltent builder from Belgium, was flown in specially to assemble the tent for Bacio Rosso, its insides adorned with red velvet, stained glass windows, circular tables, and mirrors aplenty. Scott Malcolm describes it best: “The inside is like a palace—a living jewel box.” Spectacular.
Bacio Rosso runs five nights a week from November 1 through to New Year’s Eve.
Photos courtesy of Bacio Rosso.
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