Would You Rather See Opera (or Ballet), or Cirque du Soleil?

Can opera and ballet compete with Cirque du Soleil?(Photo: joaoa (Flickr))
Can opera and ballet compete with Cirque du Soleil?(Photo: joaoa (Flickr))

A story in today’s Wall Street Journal asks an important (and brave) question: what’s the big deal about Cirque du Soleil?

You’re as well aware as I of the context for this question: the economy is lousy; many who once had money have it no longer; performing arts organizations like opera, ballet and theater companies are going belly up – and yet, people continue to shell out large sums for a ticket to see what you might call the Starbucks Coffee of the circus world.

Or, as our WSJ author puts it:

Cirque du Soleil offers a mash-up of comedy, drama, stunts and romance at a ticket price that makes it appear to be the equal of performing arts without exacting an emotional price. It thrives while regional theaters, operas and orchestras collapse.

The question is, Why?

Which would you rather see: an opera or ballet performance, or Cirque du Soleil? Leave a comment and tell us why.

  • Hugin_333

    Wow, what an insulting premise. Let me first say that I have watched
    Cirque Du Soleil performances that have moved me to tears and filled me
    with awe. I have attended nights at the opera that have literally put me
    to sleep.

    To assume that something is inferior simply because it’s popular, or
    that something SHOULD be popular simply because it’s come to be seen as
    “cultured” is myopic.  Here’s the (obvious) thing – classic opera and
    ballet were created before MANY forms of art and entertainment with
    which they have to compete. Sorry, WSJ – welcome to the 21st Century.

    Also let it be known that Cirque incorporates many classical forms of
    performance into its many thematic plays. Cirque du Soleil IS ballet.
    It’s also acting, music, mime, etc. Yes, I would love for traditional
    performance to live and thrive alongside modern performance, but for it
    to do so, it will have to be revitalized from within and reinvigorated
    by proving itself on its merits, not by denigrating other wonderful and
    worthy forms of art.