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Cirque Du Soleil - Corteo - Behind the Scenes - Alex Reis Q&A and photo gallery

By BRENT ANGELO // Cirque Du Soleil drummer Alex Reis takes us behind the scenes.

The story of Corteo, which means cortege in Italian, is the story of Mauro the Dreamer Clown, who pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere. The show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music, by turns lyrical and playful, carries Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.

Corteo’s score was originally composed by Phillippe Leduc and Maria Bonzanigo. The score is a varied work of music that ranges from klezmer music (a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe) to tangos, performed on traditional and contemporary instruments with singing in French, Italian, and Spanish.

Oregon Music News was given a special behind the scenes visit into the Cirque Du Soleil Corteo show (at the Moda Center March 14-17). We were able to chat with the show’s drummer and percussionist, Alex Reis for a special behind the scenes interview. He has three solo CDs including the first one was called Aroerira, the second was White Fly, and the third one is Brazilian Jazz. All are available on Spotify and iTunes.

What was your first inspiration to be a musician?

Wow. Inspiration. Man, I really don't know because I got into music when I was two years old, so I have no memories about this. It was something natural for me. I preferred to play with music toys than a ball. As I started to get into music, everybody was inspiring for me. When you are a kid, you have no reference yet. When I saw someone playing well, it was an inspiration.

Do you have any favorites?

A lot (laughs). With my instrument, I have a lot of favorites and in music for a favorite musician and artist for me it is Ray Charles. This is my favorite. If I will list a few other names, I will say Elvin Jones, Max Roach and Tony Williams. I have a lot of favorites in my country too. Brazil is a very percussive country. They have a lot of great drummers over there.

How did you get involved with Cirque Du Soleil?

Oh, I got involved with Cirque when I was back in Brazil when I was 38 years old. I worked professionally with music since I was 12. I did a lot of things in Brazil, recording sessions, played with a great big artists over there, traveling, you know, to Europe, South America and I did a lot of different projects. But, I was moved by challenge. At that point in my career, I knew that I could do more and I was searching for jobs. I went to a certain recruiter meeting in San Paulo, my city and got in love for the first time with Cirque. I loved this discipline, I love this way of touring. I love the vibe of the company, you know, I love the way how things are here, in terms of organization, in terms of how demanding it is, to be 100% well in every show and every time.

So, for me, this was the bigger challenge and I loved that. I got in 2010, did the whole process of auditions and I got my first show with Dralion. I have been here in Portland with Dralion too. I left Cirque in 2015 and went back to Brazil then two years later they called me back to be a part of Corteo.

Do you have any favorite songs from the Corteo?

Man, this show is so interesting for me. Corteo’s music is like a track for a movie.
And you have different moments you have different perspectives of emotions in the show, and the music is like the backtrack for this, whole movie that is happening on stage. For me it's very difficult to choose one. I saw Corteo in Brazil when I was working for Dralion. I got in love with the show, I saw it twice. I saw a lot of other shows, but I can tell you man this show is my favorite in terms of music, emotion, the whole contest.
And how, how beautiful it is and how special it is to play for them.

Is it fun for you coming back to Portland?.

Yes, Yes, you know I just arrived yesterday, but it's fun because I have great memories from Portland especially the downtown area, the Chinatown area. I'm
a Tai Chi practitioner and a teacher too so when I saw people practicing over there close to the river, I remember this, this bridge, I remember the big Buddhist bell that you have here in town. I have great memories from Portland

So what's next for you? More Cirque Du Soleil?

My friend. I live every day as the last one. I always search to do the best I can. Every time that I play, I play as it was the last and someday it will be. And I give 100% of my energy in everything that I do. For now, I'm living this dream you know I'm living this dream to be here again, being part of this show, this beautiful show that is Corteo. I just want to do the best I can, keep moving, help people with my music. This show for me is very special because I'm not only playing the drums, I also have this opportunity to be a clown in the show. I cannot forget to mention how important this is to me being surrounded by such good musicians. Our band leader is an amazing person. He conducts really well. We are very glad to be here. This team is very strong. Very strong.

More info

Cirque Du Soleil – Corteo https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/
Check for tickets at
Moda Center https://rosequarter.com/
Show runs March 14-17

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Evandro Veronez

I was a student of Alex Reis here in Brazil around 2001 and 2002. Professor Alex manages to awaken in us a great strength and desire to do our best in music, Tao Chi and life. This is
intrinsic in it. We miss you here, Alex. I look forward to seeing the Corteo show soon. Hugs and congratulations for the interview! Ps: Sorry for possible typos.

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