City of Toronto  

Living in TorontoDoing businessVisiting TorontoAccessing City Hall
All news releases
Last 30 days
By month
Archived news release by year
  2012 - 2011 - 2010
  2009 - 2008 - 2007
  2006 - 2005 - 2004
  2003 - 2002 - 2001
  2000 - 1999 - 1998
RSS identifier linked to feed RSS
June 9, 2005
Les Girafes, Urban Operetta Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9 Setting out from Yonge-Dundas Square at 9pm
The Celebrate Toronto Street Festival presents the Toronto debut of Les
Girafes, Urban Operetta from Compagnie Off (France) for two performances only —
Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10 beginning at 9pm. A spectacle to delight
the senses and stir the soul, Les Girafes, Urban Operetta is FREE and not to be

Yonge Street will never be the same after a herd of nine eight-metre-high red
giraffes manipulated, articulated and disarticulated by 18 invisible operators
blind and on stilts slide along at a low trot, swinging their long flexible
necks and standing out nonchalantly against the facades of the world’s longest
street. This 60-minute production begins at Yonge-Dundas Square, traveling
down Yonge Street to Shuter Street, inviting the crowds to follow them before
returning to the Square for the finale.

Les Girafes, Urban Operetta is an ambulatory spectacle set to original music
with elements of circus arts, theatre, dance and opera. Herds of red giraffes
leisurely stretch their legs while balancing their supple necks. Tall and
slender, the giraffes’ silhouettes glide through the streets, casually poking
their noses in storefronts and building windows. The city becomes the stage
for a crimson ballet, led by these enormous, upwardly mobile necks. Their heads
can flirt with passers-by on upper floors as well as on the ground. The herd is
accompanied by a ring master (Raoul Emmanuel), perched on a moving float and
his wife, a singer (lyric soprano Anne Rodier) who praises the giraffes from
high up on an immense circus stool. A mobile swing allows our two heroes to
move around in the air. A gang of 15 circus ring boys manage the whole

Les Girafes, Urban Operetta features original music written by Benoit Louette
and Francois Joinville. The music samples primitive and electro-acoustic music
varied with traditional folk music, European waltzes, African, techno and
circus and even samples from Michael Nyman’s Drowning by Numbers.

Compagnie Off will work with Toronto’s SwizzleStick Theatre Inc., who provide
free-form roving / busking and specially choreographed performance pieces, to
fully realise this event.

Compagnie Off was founded in Berlin in 1986 by artistic director, stage
designer and creator Philippe Freslon and is currently based in France.
Compagnie Off draws inspiration from the world of the circus and the opera and
has performed their creative street theatre all over the world often in
untraditional venues. Their last major production, Carmen – A Street Opera
appeared at the 2002 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal where they will
perform Les Girafes, Urban Operetta following their Toronto debut.

Les Girafes, Urban Operetta is presented as part of the 7th Annual Celebrate
Toronto Street Festival. For more information on the Celebrate Toronto Street
Festival, the entertainment line-up including a full schedule, or information
on Summerlicious presented by American Express, visit
or the public can call Access Toronto at 416-338-0338.

Toronto Special Events develops and promotes dynamic, innovative and accessible
special events and festivals celebrating the richness and diversity of this
great city enriching the quality of life for residents and attracting
world-wide tourist audiences.

Media Contact:

Grant Ramsay
Toronto Special Events



Toronto maps | Get involved | Toronto links
© City of Toronto 1998-2019