Bolshoi Principal Dancers Yulia Stepanova and Denis Rodkin talk about ‘Le Corsaire’
Marius Petipa’s 19th century ballet Le Corsaire is one that is rarely performed – indeed, the only part of it familiar to most of us is the spectacular showpiece pas de deux which is often performed as a standalone piece. Now, thanks to the Bolshoi’s Ballet in Cinema series – presented by BY Experience and Pathé Live – we can watch Alexei Ratmanksy’s revival of the whole of this sumptuous and exotic work on the cinema screen.
On Sunday, the Bolshoi Ballet performs Le Corsaire live in Moscow, a performance which will be broadcast to over 400 cinemas throughout the US and Canada later the same day. Le Corsaire is the first in the Bolshoi’s 2017-18 series of live screen broadcasts, which also include The Taming of the Shrew, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, The Lady of the Camellias, The Flames of Paris, Giselle and Coppélia.
This production is a reworking – by choreographer and former Bolshoi dancer Alexei Ratmansky, and Yuri Burlaka, former Artistic Director of the Company – of the original 1899 staging by Marius Petipa, and a great deal of research went into the preparation of this new production. Ratmanksy and Burlaka deciphered the original dance notation, held in the Harvard University Theatre Collection, and added dances of their own, to recreate this impressive work. They also studied archive material in Moscow’s Bakhrushin Museum, and the St Petersburg State Theatre Library – which made available Evgeny Ponomaryov’s costume sketches for the 1899 production. The costumes, together with the sets, were replicated for the reworking of the ballet.
The original score for Le Corsaire, by Adolphe Adam and Leo Delibes, was made available by L’Opera national de Paris from the archives of La Bibliotheque nationale de France. Restored by Alexander Troitsky, the reworked score also includes the music of Cesare Pugni, Pyotr von Oldenburg, Riccardo Drigo, Albert Zabel and Julius Gerer.
Inspired by Lord Byron’s epic poem by Lord Byron, with a libretto by Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier, and edited by Marius Petipa, Le Corsaire tells of a shipwrecked pirate, Conrad, who falls in love with the beautiful Medora, the ward of the slave merchant Lankedem. When Lankedem decides to sell Medora to the Pasha, Conrad kidnaps her. The ballet features an impressive shipwreck and colorful scenery, and has been designed to accommodate almost the entire Bolshoi Company.
The cast of this production of Le Corsaire features Prima Ballerina Ekaterina Krysanova as Medora, and Leading Soloist Igor Tsvirko as Conrad, with more than 120 Principals, Soloists and members of the Corps de Ballet of the Bolshoi.
Design is by Boris Kaminsky, costumes by Elena Zaitseva, the Music Director is Pavel Klinichev, and lighting design is by Damir Ismagilov.
Le Corsaire will be screened tomorrow, Sunday, October 22, at 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT / 10:55 a.m. MT & 12:55 p.m. PT, HI, AK (pre-recorded playback) Tickets may be purchased online at www.BolshoiBalletinCinema.com or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
By Experience and Pathé Live program notes