Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil: Mystère

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The world-renowned creative team behind Cirque du Soleil, headed up by composers Rene Dupere and Benoit Jutras, and creative director Guy Laliberté, liken their first permanent Las Vegas show to a desert flower, and its soundtrack is a gorgeous, colorful, unlikely creation indeed. Like preceding albums Saltimbanco and Alegria, Mystere borrows sounds from various corners of the globe, but often it seems to strike out for musical parts unknown, forging a style and sound all its own. Soaring, sweet, intertwining vocals by Elise Gouin and Nathalie Gauvin lend an ethereal air to the sometimes melancholy, sometimes lilting, sometimes driving melodies. Both women sound classically trained, but they do just enough whispering, chanting, and belting to remind listeners that this is no ordinary opera or musical theater piece. The most enjoyable pieces on this album are the slow, dramatic ones such as "Egypte" and "Ulysse." The faster pieces lose something through the studio recording; the ethnic backing vocals and electric guitars tend to sound a little canned at times. Also, tracks such as "Rondo" and "Kunya Sobe" are intended to back high-energy acrobatic acts, and when you can't see the acrobats, it's hard to have a real appreciation for the music. However, overall this album is yet another triumph for Cirque du Soleil. [This expanded edition of the release includes bonus material.]

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