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We were thrilled to have been invited to Bacio Rosso’s opening night inside a beautiful Spiegeltent built in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park for a special evening fusing cirque, cabaret, magic and cuisine.

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Spiegeltents became popular in the Flanders area of Belgium in the late 1800’s, used as travelling dance halls, providing rural communities with a venue for celebrations.

Spiegeltents were commonly referred to as “Magic Mirror Tents” or “Mirrored Palaces” for their meticulously-handcrafted oak wood interiors, stained glass windows, rich red velvet fabrics with gold stitching and beveled mirrors throughout.

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[Improv wizard Kevin Kent in action]

Only a few original Spiegeltents remain from the era. Rik Klessens owns one of them, a waffle tent presently residing in New York. Rik’s grandfather began restoring and building these magic venues in the 1920’s, and the craft was passed down to Rik’s father. In the late 1980’s, it was Rik’s turn to keep the restoration business alive, together with his wife Liliane Van Gorp.

Their company provides Spiegeltents for events around the globe, and their kids have even gotten into the biz, so hopefully this family business will continue past four generations.

Bacio Rosso Spiegeltent exterior

Bacio Rosso is thrilled to have brought the first authentic Spiegeltent to Vancouver from Belgium. Each Spiegeltent is given a unique name; Bacio Rosso’s is Magic Cristal, built according to tradition with an antique bar, wooden floor and benches with faceted mirrors and warm fabrics.

Tent interior

Both entry room/bar area and stage glow with red and gold decor and the waitstaff is costumed to accompany the 1920’s era.

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[Circus artist Erika Nguyen]

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Once seated, the evening begins centering around a story of two siblings marked by a mythical tale told by their father.

Juggler Jimmy Gonzalez
[Juggler Jimmy Gonzalez]

Several characters come on stage throughout the evening to entertain us with stunning acrobatic acts sprinkled in, while talented musical group Combo De Lux provide a range of tunes throughout the night.

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[Bacio Rosso servers head across the main floor for dinner service]

Although the evening is a long one, the courses are well-paced to savour and invite conversation with table mates over sips of wine, beer, spirits or non-alcoholic drinks.

Rosticciata di Manzo
[Rosticciata di Manzo]

La Quercia’s award-winning chef Adam Pegg has created a four-course meal to enjoy during the show. Pegg attended the Italian Slow Food School where he earned the Master of Italian Gastronomy-the first to do so in Canada.

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Together with sous chef Greg Dilabio, Food and Beverage Manager Mike Summers and the entire hard-working crew, the sheer organization required to pull off serving 350 guests each night is no small feat.

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[Award-winning New York cabaret star Lady Rizo aka Amelia Kirin-Brown]

Seating

The main venue is divided up into various seating configurations starting in the center and working outward towards the booths. Prices vary per location however it’s good to consider how you’d like to watch the show.

Dima Shine
[Russian Hand Balancing artist Dima Shine]

If you choose a Centre ticket (the most expensive option), you’ll be very close to the action, which means a chance to interact with the performers.

If you go for a Premium Ring seat, you’ll be at a table, less cozy than the Premium Booth (one level behind that) yet seated a bit closer than inside a booth.

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We were seated at a Premium Booth which offers a great vantage point to watch the acrobatics from, however you won’t get the performers interacting with you.

The most action we had was watching servers and hostesses move along in between the ring and booths to serve guests.

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[Grand Prix World Champion of Magic Shawn Farquhar]

The atmosphere at Bacio Rosso is warm and intimate, taking you back to a forgotten, decadent era of whimsical entertainment. It compares somewhat to a Cirque du Soleil show in terms of the acrobatic acts but on a much smaller scale, with incredible attention to detail, ensuring that guests feel welcome and taken care of.

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[Trapeze duo Oliver + Cassie captivate the crowd]

And there’s delicious food and a large selection of wines and drinks to complete the familial feeling inside the Magic Cristal.

Crema di Limone
[Dessert: Crema di Limone]

Performances take place Wednesdays through Sundays in Queen Elizabeth Park through New Year’s Eve. Tickets start at $109 and dietary preferences are noted at the time of booking. Visit Bacio Rosso online for details and tickets.

Non-watermarked images courtesy of Bacio Rosso.

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