If you've seen the billboards around town for Odysseo, which opens on Wednesday, September 17, in the Pepsi Center parking lot, then you know that tastemeister Larry King says this horse-and-acrobat extravaganza "surpasses the world's greatest shows." In fact, there's a lot of hyperbole surrounding the performance, but after chatting with Cavalia founder and Odysseo artistic director Normand Latourelle -- who humbly (no, really) calls Odysseo "the most beautiful show in the world" -- we have the feeling that this is one spectacle that lives up to the hype. Here are six facts that help support that stance:
6. The show's inspiration is a view from a Montreal kitchen window.
Odysseo was conceptualized when the show's artistic director, Cavalia founder Normand Latourelle, was at a farm in the countryside, looking through the kitchen window and watching the horses enjoy the nature around them. "I just watched the horses running free on the hills," he says, "and there, like you are in Colorado, we're very influenced by the four seasons. I wanted to bring all of that to a stage."
5. Bringing "all of that to a stage" was a monumental task.
The Odysseo stage incorporates and accommodates a forest, a 33-foot-high mountain, a high-definition screen that's three times the size of a typical IMAX screen, and 80,000 gallons of water, all at different points throughout the performance.
4. The tent is a custom project.
The tent was created specifically for this show and accommodates the stage (about twice the size of a hockey rink) plus 2,000 seats. "There are no obstructions, no poles, no masts, and it's huge," says Latourelle. Keep reading for three more amazing facts about Odysseo.
3. There's also a merry-go-round built into the stage.
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"I didn't know anything about horses until I started Cavalia," reveals Latourelle. "When I was young, the only thing I knew about horses was this: There was a small park with a merry-go-round. I had my horse on the merry-go-round; I felt like it was my own horse. The park was not far from my house, so I could go often, and I had to pay 25 cents to get to my horse. And I just dreamed every time I was on that horse that I was on a real horse. I really wanted to recreate that feeling."
So he's included a merry-go-round in Odysseo. "It's a real merry-go-round," he says. "It moves, and it's like a dream."
2. There's so much infrastructure the crew has been setting up the show for weeks.
"We have 173 motors in the technical grid that run the entire show -- which is almost impossible for a touring show," says Latourelle. "This show is the biggest touring show in the world from a logistics standpoint. Big, big rock tours -- like U2 or Roger Waters -- are usually moving with 50 or 60 semi trailers, and we have 100."
1. Despite its over-the-top fabulousness, Odysseo is an intimate show, too.
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"Even if everything sounds big, I wanted to have the public feel that they are close to the stage and are still able to see the eyes of the performers," Latourelle explains. "For me, a big part of the experience is to show the bond between the horse and the performer. I still wanted to have the proximity where you can see the natural reactions and the real connection between the horse and the performers. Sometimes during the show, you have performers very close to you, and other times you have majestic images where you feel you're in the most amazing Hollywood movie, but it's for real. You feel like you're crossing canyons and the Mongolian steppe, traveling with the performers and the horses."
Odysseo runs from September 17 through September 28; find information about tickets here.