Considering all the trouble Dumbo the elephant suffered under the big top, Cirque du Soleil might have the right idea with its animal-free extravaganzas of Euro-flavored whimsy and wonder. Cirque's familiar blue-and-yellow "Grand Chapiteau" tent has been raised at Atlantic Station to present its latest touring show, CORTEO (right), opening Fri., DEC. 15. Its lavishly costumed performances involve a clown who envisions his own funeral in a carnival atmosphere, overseen by angelic acrobats. $28-$75. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 and 5 p.m. Through Jan. 21. State and 17th streets. 800-678-5440. www.cirquedusoleil.com.