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Interview: Cirque du Soleil debuts at Expo Milano 2015 with exclusive show Allavita

by Marzia De Giuli, Song Jian

MILAN, Italy, May 16 (Xinhua) -- What to do with a magic seed is the storyline of Allavita!, the exclusive show of Canada's Cirque du Soleil created for Expo Milano 2015 to celebrate the nutrition for body and soul that nature offers to human beings.

Inspired by the theme of the Italian world exposition "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life," the show debuted earlier this week. It will be held every night from Wednesday to Sunday until Aug. 30 in the open theater of the Expo's site, northwest of Milan.

Allavita! (To life!) is about a young boy, Leo, who receives the gift of a magic seed from his grandmother before she dies, and he does not know what to do with it.

A puppet, Farro (Spelt,) will guide Leo into a fantastic world in the discovery of all what nature can offer in terms of nutrition, love and energy. In fact Allavita! is a call to be aware of the roots that bring human beings together and to feed the life with passion.

"I wanted to create a show that is fantastic in the universe of Cirque du Soleil but also with a message," Krista Monson, the writer and stage director for Allavita!, told Xinhua in an interview shortly after the show's dress rehearsal held earlier this week.

"We want 10,000 people to walk out every night with 10,000 different interpretations," she stressed.

"Some people may gain a profound sense as we are talking about the history of the civilization of food, while the imagination and stage technology coming together with human performance may have an impact on others. This was my goal, to create something that all ages and nationalities would appreciate from different levels," Monson said.

The cast is composed of nearly 50 artists from different countries.

"I work here with Canadians, Italians, Russians, Americans, Australians, Japanese, Spanish, Cubans ... and the sand painter was Chinese, she spent two weeks with us to create the illustrations for the show," Giacomo Marcheschi, an Italian performer who plays the protagonist role of Leo, told Xinhua.

"So it is a great challenge, but we are a beautiful group full of collaboration spirit and energy," Marcheschi, 28, added.

When you have a passion, you would dedicate all the time to it, which is the reason why, at the end of the day, the two-year hard work to prepare the show was only a pleasure, he pointed out.

In fact an international flavor has always characterized the Cirque du Soleil in its constant evolution, Yasmine Khalil, the president of 45 Degrees, the event division of Cirque du Soleil, explained.

Founded in 1984, the world's most popular circus production company has travelled across over 330 cities and 48 countries to evoke the emotions and provoke imagination of close to 160 million spectators.

In a recent statement, Cirque du Soleil announced an agreement under which TPG, a global private investment firm, will acquire a majority stake to fuel growth and take the cirque to new markets. Cirque du Soleil's founder, Guy Laliberte, will maintain a stake in the business.

The statement also added that Fosun, one of China's leading privately-owned investment groups, will acquire a minority stake and together the firms will work to launch and expand the Quebec-based circus empire in China.

Khalil told Xinhua that having a Chinese investor will be "very exciting" for the Cirque du Soleil.

"We really want to go to China and hope that with this new partnership we will have more opportunities to finally be able to go and show to the Chinese world what the Cirque du Soleil is all about," she said.

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