Corteo is a Cirque du Soleil touring production that premiered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 21, 2005. As of May 24, 2005, Cirque du Soleil had broken its record of spectators for the première location in Montreal; more than 200,000 people had viewed the production, far outpacing the prior record of 180,000 tickets sold for Varekai during its première. The show’s final performance under the big top took place in Quito, Ecuador on 13 December 2015. On November 20, 2017, Cirque du Soleil announced that the show would once again set out on tour, this time in the arena format. The re-staged show premiered March 2, 2018 in New Orleans.
Cortéo—an Italian word meaning “cortège” or procession—is a contemporary circus show about a clown who watches his own funeral taking place in a carnival-like atmosphere. It was partly inspired by The Grand Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown on display at the National Gallery of Canada and the movie I Clowns by Federico Fellini.
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, founder of the Swiss clown troupe Teatro Sunil and director of several shows by Cirque Éloize, Cortéo was presented in the round under a large tent. The action took place on a large circular stage consisting of concentric rotating rings. This allowed one area of the stage to rotate while another remained stationary. At times during the performance, the stage was divided by a large curtain illustrated with a painting called the Cortéo Procession. There were entrances/exits at either side of the circular stage.