Complementing the Brandenburg was Stephano Maiorana's at times flamboyant and at times subtle guitar, while Connor Neall climbs the pole, hanging perilously at right angles, then nose-diving straight downwards, stopping much too close for comfort.
The different moods of the music were reflected in the action – at times reflective, at times perilous, at times rhythmic, at times frenetic. Soon we learned to live with shifting focus as singer, orchestra and action each came to the fore, each moved to the background while blending to form a hypnotic engaging whole.
A circus needs clowning and this came in the performers sliding above and below a table, precision timing avoiding mid-air impacts time and again. A wheelbarrow doubled for a bull as Circa recreates a bullfight, then the barrow was balanced by one handle on a performer's chin. More often than not, it is the Cirque performers who command the forefront of our attention, enhanced by the rhythm and melody of singer and music.
Perhaps we better understand the days when music was not listened to in high reverence. And certainly, the orchestra seemed to be thoroughly enjoying being a slightly subservient contributor to the rich tapestry of sound and spectacle that we were being given.
Yes, we may have lost some of the subtleties of the music in the gasps of amazement and shock and the bursts of applause elicited by the athletes. Think of it as like an excellent film with a compelling soundtrack – not always consciously processed but providing so much of the atmosphere that makes for our experience.
The standing ovation at the end was palpably for orchestra, singer and Circa. A glorious combination.