Mexico government spent 47.4 million dollars on Cirque du Soleil: Luzia
Although the show has received positive reviews, The Washington Post considered that Luzia was “not the most spectacular chapter in Cirque du Soleil’s history" - Photo: Mike Nelson/EFE

Mexico government spent 47.4 million dollars on Cirque du Soleil: Luzia

01/09/2018
17:22
Alida Piñón
Mexico City
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Peña Nieto's administration spent millions in Luzia with the intention of promoting tourism in Mexico

The Mexican government has paid 47.4 million dollars for the Cirque du Soleil show “Luzia." The amount is equivalent, under the current exchange rate, to 900,600,000 Mexican pesos. The initial payment (out of five) was made in 2014 and settled in May 2018, though it was originally meant to conclude in 2019, as had been agreed upon. Furthermore, ever since it premiered in May 2019, only 42% of people "surveyed" through the Council of Tourist Promotion (CPTM) considered traveling to Mexico to see the show, which is based on the country’s culture.

CPTM also informed EL UNIVERSAL that the Cirque du Soleil’s target audience had an annual income of more than 75,000 dollars (1,400,000 pesos), and 83% of them had high-level studies. Out of this segment, 36% of people stated that the show had positively changed their perception of Mexico.

In an interview with the El Financiero newspaper, Daniel Lamarre, chairman of the Canadian entertainment company, claimed that the show had had a true impact, since more and more people from the U.S. and Canada were visiting Mexico. However, neither the Council of Tourist Promotion, nor the Ministry of Tourism, nor Lamarre himself have been able to back up their subjective perception

During its first year, “Luzia” was seen by 823,053 attendants, a number that, according to the CPTM, is higher than what the data provided by Cirque du Soleil had indicated. 884 shows were made in 11 cities of the United States and Canada. During its second year, the show had 689,773 attendants, meaning that the show had lost popularity, with a reduction of 133,280 people.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the 47,400,000 million dollar investment made for this show was split: In September 2014, the Mexican government made a payment of 5 million dollars, 10 million in August 2015, another ten in May 2016, and 11.2 million in 2017. The remaining 11.2 million were paid in 2018.

The tour is meant to conclude in 2023 and will travel through 450 cities around the world. Although the show has received positive reviews, The Washington Post considered that Luzia was “not the most spectacular chapter in Cirque du Soleil’s history (though the rain showers were impressive).”

The project caused outrage among Mexico’s cultural community. A group of scenic arts creators that included actors Daniel Giménez Cacho, Luisa Huertas, and Julieta Egurrola; directors Martín Acosta and Enrique Singer, and playwrights Richard Viqueira and Hugo Alfredo Hinojosa sent a letter to President Enrique Peña Nieto requesting, among other things, that he reduced the amount of negotiated features and invest the money in local productions. Shortly after, another group of theater companies, including Teatro Quimeras and Teatro Mexicano,” presented a project called “The Route of the Sun and the Rain” to produce 600 shows with an investment similar to the one made for Luzia.

De la Madrid assured that he would personally listen to all of their requests in order to “reach an agreement.” It did not happen.

Luzia has just premiered in Mexico and will offer presentations from August 30 to September 23 in Guadalajara; from October 4 to 21 in Monterrey, and November 8 to December 23 at the Santa Fe theater in Mexico City. Ticket prices range from 890 to 2,490 pesos. During the opening night, Mexican artist Rubén Ortiz, who has firmly criticized Luzia from the start, asked a powerful question: “Why should we even have to pay for our tickets again when we already payed for this show with our taxes?”
 

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