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?