On October 15, 1998 Las Vegas welcomed its tenth production and second resident show to the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. Fourteen years later, “O” is one of the most watched and thrilling Cirque du Soleil productions on the Strip. As the Bellagio prepares to celebrate the show’s milestone on Monday, let’s take a look back at how this aquatic show got its start and all of the success it’s experienced over the past 14 years.
Fourteen years ago the Bellagio wasn’t sure how they felt about theater production. But they slowly warmed up to the idea, defiantly when the production team decided they wanted to try something that had never been done before in theatre, a show performed in water. Cirque du Soleil dreamed up “O,” which is phonically pronounced like the French word for water. The theater was eventually created and it took more than 400,000 man-hours of preproduction and production work to prepare.
The result was an 1,800-seat theater designed to look like a 14th century European opera house centered around a 1.5 million-US-gallon tank of water where the cast would perform both in and around it. Those performers, which are made up of 85 acrobats, synchronized swimmers and divers are all scuba-certified and all perform incredible acts in, out, and above the water.
Aside from the astonishing human feats, “O” offers a beautiful soundtrack of classical Western and world instrumentation composed by Benoit Jutras. Some of the instruments used are a Chinese violin, bagpipes, African guitar and harp, Colombian guitar, cello, ancient woodwinds and percussion instruments. To ensure water doesn’t get into any of the instruments, musicians play from glass enclosures in the theatre. And to allow the performers under water to hear the music being played twelve underwater speakers sit below the water’s surface.
In late October 2010, “O” started offering backstage tours of the “O” Theatre. The behind-the-scenes tour allows Cirque fans the opportunity to see the backstage wings, training rooms, costume workshop, break area, underwater lighting area and even go up to the catwalk and into the sound and lighting booths. You can enjoy this premiere experience with Cirque du Soleil Insider Access tickets ONLY here on Best of Vegas.
Throughout it’s 14 years of entertaining audiences, “O” has won numerous awards including the Entertainment Design Award for best production show in 1998, Las Vegas Review-Journal for best production show from 1996-2006 and the THEA live show category in 1999.
As we inch closer to “O”’s 14th anniversary we’re excited about the show’s future on the Strip and we hope to be celebrating another 14 years with the incredible production.
Stay tuned for more details on “O”’s anniversary. In the meantime, you can celebrate with the aquatic production with discounted “O” tickets right here on Best of Vegas.
Las Vegas, NV 10/12/12