Conelli’s enchanting Christmas Circus

November 21, 2016 — No comments

It’s real circus, and it’s real magic. The original Conelli Christmas Circus pitches the red tent for the 24th time in the heart of the city of Zürich. The glittering lights reflect a shimmery ballet on the water of the river Limmat flowing all around but the entranceway to the Bauschänzli, and even the swans are attracted to the spectacle. Walking toward the illuminated tent from any direction, the air is diffused by the aroma of roasted chestnuts from stands on every street corner. My adult heart can’t resist quickening in anticipation of the excitement to come. With great attention to detail, the magic begins right at the entrance. Entering through a tunnel of Christmas red, I find myself in a surprisingly large foyer which opens to stalls with Swiss Christmas delicacies, drinks, souvenirs and even a romantic bar with second-to-none view over the river and the heart of the city.

Navigated to my seat, I’m surprised by the size of the ring and seating area. More spacious than I thought possible, but definitely with a community feeling. The performance is sold out and has all the ingredients of the circus I remember from childhood. Beautiful dancing ladies in perfect choreography; artist presentations big and small, some breathtaking, some funny, some dangerous and fascinating. All of them astounding and skillful to a high degree and every performance spellbindingly accompanied by a big band of live musicians, their drum roll stiffening the hair on my neck at just the perfect moment. When did you last experience circus without any superficial, commercial humdrum?

In-between, another highlight among many highlights. The charmingly gentle, old fashioned, yet timeless humor of clown trio Fritzi, Gaston and Roli. Their clownerie goes straight to my heart. It is impossible to resist. We are all eating out of their hand, they’re making the circus glow from the insight out! Wasn’t the court jester the most important person at the king’s court?

After the traditional final parade of stars, I’m flushed out of the tent among an animated and smiling crowd. Crossing the Quai bridge over to the Bellevue square, I decide to take a night cap in the packed “Sterne Föifi” (a clever Swiss German word play on the restaurant name in relation to its location). At the grill I hand over the change for a late-night Bratwurst sausage for which the place is famous, then look around for somewhere to sit in the packed place. Recognizing me as a fellow circus goer by my golden star still glimmering from my cheek, an equally marked couple promptly waves me over to sit at their table. As total strangers, the common experience has us enjoy a delightful late night dinner together. We share food, drink, watch the final moments of Andy Murray’s victory over Novak Djokovic in his decisive win at the World Tour championship in London on the overhead TV, and finish the bottle of wine and the end of the day with wonderful conversation. What value should be attributed to creating joy and goodwill, and what effect does it have on us? At Christmas or at anytime. It is this topic that Circus Director Roby Gasser writes about in the preface to the Circus Program, and I’m sure I’m neither the first nor the last circus goer who experiences the joy and goodwill effect from Conelli’s spectacular offering of Christmas artistry.

Conelli Christmas Circus started on the Zürcher Sechseläutenplatz in 1982, the year I left Switzerland for Canada. It wasn’t until 2016 that I discovered it! What a charming idea, to start a Christmas Circus. Have you seen their program? You can leave a comment below. 

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust

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Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass among friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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Additional Information

Conelli Christmas Circus was founded 1982 and performed the first time on the Sechseläutenwiese – when it was still a green field. Since 1992 the circus pitches its tent on the Bauschänzli square on the river Limmat in the heart of Zürich. Conelli focusses on acrobatic performance with international artists and does not work with animals at all.

Circus Conelli Artist

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