Corteo – Cirque Du Soleil—Sony Pictures (Blu-ray)

Video: 2.5/5
Audio: 3.75/5
Extras: 2.5/5

Sixty-two-year-old Walter Vale is sleepwalking through his life. Having lost his passion for teaching and writing, he fills the void by unsuccessfully trying to learn to play classical piano. When his college sends him to Manhattan to attend a conference, Walter is surprised to find a young couple has taken up residence in his apartment. Victims of a real estate scam, Tarek, a Syrian man, and Zainab, his Senegalese girlfriend, have nowhere else to go. In the first of a series of tests of the heart, Walter reluctantly allows the couple to stay with him. Touched by his kindness, Tarek, a talented musician, insists on teaching the aging academic to play the African drum.

My wife and I saw this show live earlier this year during its nationwide tour. It was interesting to see how it translated to video compared to the real thing. Honestly, I liked it live a lot better. You get a sense of the broader picture and can take more in. They did a great job filming this but you don’t get to see the little things going on when there is a large group of performers on stage. Regardless this is still a great performance by Cirque, who continue to amaze with their creativity and abilities.

This was shot live on what appears to be consumer grade HD cameras. I would venture to say the original footage was interlaced and Sony converted to 1080p24 for the Blu-ray. Unfortunately the conversion didn’t go too well. Line twitter and jaggies are apparent through most of the presentation and can be a bit annoying at times. The low light environment also proved to be a bit much for the cameras as noise is apparent and contrast levels are on the weak side. Fine detail is preserved pretty well though and close ups of the performers look quite good. Colors have a very natural balance but I saw some light noise here and there. Overall I was hoping for a bit more from this presentation.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and does a great job of conveying the production’s music. All of the music and song you here during the presentation is being done live during the performance, though it is hard to tell from this video. Dynamic range is excellent but I thought the bass response could have been a bit tighter at the low end. Some of the dialogue gets a bit drowned out from the music but there isn’t a lot to hear anyway as this is more of a visual performance than a narrative.

Extras include a look at the production of the show and what goes on behind the scenes. You get a look at the lives of the stage performers and how living on the road can be. A photo gallery is also included.

While no substitute for the real thing, Corteo is still a great Cirque video and I’m glad we’re starting to see the troupe in HD. I wanted the presentation to be a bit better in the video department but you can’t deny the beauty of the performances.