‘Odysseo’–A panorama of serendipitous beauty and imagination

Odysseo

Normand Latourelle, director of “Odysseo”, was at the rendezvous greeting audience members as they entered the White Big Top opening night in San Francisco. He is a non-assuming fellow with a sweet smile and gentle continence that gives a feeling of blissful pride and control over his amazing creation. I remembered him from “Cavalia” a few years back. I didn’t think he remembered me – but he hugged me like a long lost friend and led me to my seat like we had never parted.
This genius has gathered a bigger and more stunning show than his last venture and one wonders how he will top this one. The White Big Top stretches over 58,000 feet (it is larger than a NFL football field and twice as big as the one used for “Cavalia”), taking almost 100 people to set it up.
Over thirty million dollars has been invested in this bombastic extravaganza that includes 66 of the most beautiful stallions and geldings from a dozen different breeds, 45 acrobats, aerialists and trick riders. The technically controlled stage is 7,500 square-foot and includes a merry-go-round that softly slides down from the ceiling, a thirty-five foot mountain and an 80,000 gallon pool.
It rains, it snows and it storms thanks to a huge video screen that changes backgrounds with 19 multimedia projectors and 200 moving lights that take the audience to areas of the world that fit the moment.
Most fascinating is the eight animated, unbridled Arabians through a choreographed Liberty routine.  Elise Verdoncq does not carry a crop or whip. She just moves a finger or tilts her head. Her body language is so subtle that one hardly notices she is doing anything but keeping out of the way of the prancing hooves. She will once in a while whisper an endearing chant and when her most affectionate buddy wonders off she will gives him a look and a puff of sand and he good naturedly nuzzles her and gets into line. Talk about horse whisperer – this seems more like horse ESP. This is a heady, breathtaking encounter.
You can feel the love and confidence the trainers and horses have for each other. There seems to be a magnetic charge between them and it floods the stage and audience while they are performing.
The routines give off a wonderful feeling of warmth for their handlers. The trainers show a care and affection in return for their charges.  It’s a relationship between man/woman and animal that is not often seen in the performing arena. There is a respect for each other and the human- equine bond is captivating.
The performance features a fine orchestra with the lovely voice of Valentina Spreca blending with the original orchestrations, beautiful costumes and the combining of a happy environment that seems to envelop the fact of being involved in something so superb and different.
“Odysseo” should be top priority on your entertainment schedule. The experience is a panorama of serendipitous beauty and imagination.
“Odysseo”
Creator and artistic director: Normand Latourelle (one of the original creators of Cirque du Soleil).
When:  through January 10, 2016
Where: Under the White Big Top at AT&T Park, San Francisco
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes with one 30 minute intermission
Tickets: General admission from $44.50
(The VIP (rendezvous) package prices range from $229.50 to $264.50 Special packages includes preshow dinner buffet, open bar and dessert during intermission and post show stable visit.)
Special pricing available for children and seniors (65+)
Reservations and Information:  Call (866) 999-8111 or visit www.cavalia.net

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