Photography by Nancy Bowman
Odysseo marries the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects at never-before- seen levels. A veritable revolution in live performance, Odysseo comprises a list of superlatives: the world’s largest touring production and traveling big top, the biggest stage, the most beautiful visual effects, and the largest number of horses at liberty.
Odysseo pushes the limits of live entertainment by creating a larger-than-life show that sends hearts racing, but it is also a feast for the eyes that succeeds in delivering the spectacular with soul.
To give life to this extraordinary equestrian adventure, a 1,626 square meters stage was created with a hill that rising three-stories tall. Some 10,000 tons of rock, earth and sand are trucked in and then sculpted to create the vast space of freedom where humans and horses come to play in complicity. Above the stage hangs an imposing technical grid capable of supporting 80 tons of equipment including a full-sized merry-go-round far beyond anything attempted to date on any touring show and comparable to the best-equipped theaters of Las Vegas, London or New York.
We've got a ton of cool facts about this show that's in Mississauga over the next few weeks that'll be sure to amaze you!
- Standing 38 meters tall, the White Big Top is a traffic-stopping addition to the skyline of each city Odysseo performs. When visitors enter, they are immediately transported into a lavish and intimate environment reminiscent of any permanent theatre
- There are 65 horses that represent 12 different breeds from around the world in the Odysseo stable. All the horses are male – stallions and geldings. They hail from 6 countries including Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the United States and Canada. The average age of the horses is 9 with the youngest at 6 and the oldest at 14
- More than twice the size of the structure created for the first production, Odysseo’s White Big Top is the size of a CFL football field. The 1,626 square metres stage, larger than a hockey rink, and the 15 meters wide backstage area offers a vast playground for more than 30 cantering horses.
- There are 3 arches that support the White Big Top. Each arch consists of 8 sections that are 2.5 metres wide by 9 meters long. Once assembled, each arch is 27 meters high by 62 meters long
- The masts of the big top have been specially engineered to be able to lift the arches into place
- The canvas is held in place by 1,310 one-meter long stakes holding down the 250 anchor plates
- 26 motors are needed to raise the canvas onto the structure, resulting in the White Big Top
- The length of all the steel cable used to attach the structure to the ground is equal to 5.8 kilometres
- Odysseo features 65 horses of 12 different breeds including the Appaloosa, Arabian, Canadian Horse, Holsteiner, Lusitano, Paint Horse, Percheron Hanoverian Cross, Quarter Horse, Selle Français, Thoroughbred, Spanish Purebred (P.R.E.) and Warlander
- The horses are from Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the United States and Canada
- There are 50 artists - riders, acrobats, aerialists, dancers and musicians
- The artists are from around the world including the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Guinea, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Spain and Ukraine
- There are 350 costumes and 100 pairs of shoes and boots in the show. Artists may have up to seven different costumes
- An artist may have no more than 30 seconds to do a quick costume change between numbers
- A team of 13 dressmakers, one property master, one designer and one shoemaker worked in the Odysseo studios to create the costumes
- Materials used in the costumes include linen, silk, cotton, leather and some imitation fur. The use of natural fibers gives the clothes sheen and lets them fall in a way that synthetic fibers simply cannot match
- The costumes are adapted to the artists’ needs, especially those of the acrobats and riders, to facilitate their onstage movement while not compromising their appearance
- The on-tour costume department consists of one wardrobe person and three dressers who launders, mends and cares for the costumes. At times during the show, they juggle 15 simultaneous wardrobe changes. They have two sewing machines, one shoe-repair machine and one overlock machine.