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31 January 2024 (Wed), 19:00 World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - Mariinsky II (New Theatre) - Classical Ballet Le Corsaire (ballet in three acts with a prologue and epilogue)

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (till 21:30)

The performance has 2 intermissions

Schedule for Le Corsaire (ballet in three acts with a prologue and epilogue) 2022

Composer: Adolphe Adam
Composer: Cesare Pugni
Composer: Leo Delibes
Composer: Riccardo Drigo
Lighting Designer: Vladimir Lukasevich
Choreography: Pyotr Gusev
Set Designer: Teimuraz Murvanidze
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Set Designer: Mikhail Shishliannikov
Costume Designer: Galina Solovieva

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Ballet company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet

Classical Ballet in 3 acts

Premiere of this production: 29 April 1987, Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Mariinsky), Leningrad, USSR

Le Corsaire ballet, Inspired by Lord Byron’s epic poem, The Corsair, which sold ten thousand copies on the first day of publication, was first performed at the Bolshoi in 1856. Thisis a swashbuckling, romantic tale of pirates, slaves and oriental intrigue and is typical of the exotic and ambitious ballets created during the Tsarist era.

Libretto: Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier,
edited: Yuri Slonimsky and Pyotr Gusev

Set design: Teymuraz Murvanidze
Costume design: Galina Solovyova

Presented with two intervals.

Le Corsaire (The Pirate) is a ballet in three acts, with a libretto based on the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron. Originally choreographed by the Balletmaster Joseph Mazilier to the music of Adolphe Adam. First presented by the Ballet of the Académie Royale de Musique, Paris, France on 23 January 1856. The ballet has many celebrated passages which are often extracted and performed independently - the scene Le Jardin Animé, the Pas d’Esclave, and the Grand Pas de Trois des Odalisques. The most celebrated is the Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, which is among classical ballet’s most iconic and performed excerpts.

The ballet has been much revised throughout its long and complex performance history by way of later stagings in Russia, most notably by Jules Perrot (1858), Marius Petipa (1858, 1863, 1868, 1885, and 1899), Alexander Gorsky (1912), Agrippina Vaganova (1931), Pyotr Gusev (1955), Konstantin Sergeyev (1972, 1992), and Yuri Grigorovich (1994).

During the mid to late 19th century Adolphe Adam’s score acquired a substantial amount of additional music, and by the turn of the 20th century the score credited contributions from six different composers: Cesare Pugni, Grand Duke Peter II of Oldenburg (AKA Prince Oldenburg or Prince Peter Von Oldenburg), Léo Delibes, Léon Minkus, Prince Nikita Trubetskoi, and Riccardo Drigo (often not all of these composers are credited). Many Soviet-era revivals added new music as well, though the majority of such additions were extracted from ballets from the Imperial-era that were no longer being performed.

Today Le Corsaire is performed chiefly in two different versions - in Russia and parts of Europe (mostly eastern Europe) companies have mounted productions derived from Pyotr Gusev’s 1955 revival, initially staged for the Ballet of the Maly Theatre of St. Petersburg, and later the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet in 1977. Outside of Russia and Europe - primarily in North America and some parts of western Europe - many companies have mounted productions derived from Konstantin Sergeyev’s revival, initially staged for the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet in 1973, and later the Bolshoi Ballet in 1992.


The plot of the ballet Le Corsaire contains all the components required to make it a success with the audience: a story about pirates with a shipwreck, abductions, loving passions and perfidious treachery... Moreover there is the variety of the cast and the choreography, the oriental flavour of the vivid costumes, the exotic character dances and the triumphant harmony of classicism. It is not by chance that this ballet has been in the international repertoire for more than a century and a half. It traces its roots back to the mid 19th century, when the composer Adolphe Adan wrote a score based on the plot of George Byron's poem The Corsair, while the choreographer Joseph Mazilier created the dances and in 1856 staged his production at the Opéra de Paris. Since then who has not laid his or her hands on it. New scenes appeared in the ballet, the score came to feature musical extracts by other composers and, in a word, Le Corsaire set out on an independent voyage taking in the stages of Europe. It came to St Petersburg thanks to the choreographer Jules Perrot, and Marius Petipa ennobled the loudly-screeching diversity of the Eastern bazaar with the refined classical scene Le Jardin animé. To us, too, Le Corsaire has come down as a colourful marathon of varied dances, intermingled with pantomime explanations of the relationships between the characters. The dances in the production involve the corps de ballet as well as the soloists. The choreography presents, in all its beauty, the expressive means of virtuoso classical dance, both female and male: in the ballet there are two ballerina roles and three male principal roles. And the few young dancers do not dream of dazzling with virtuoso technique in the variations and duets in this ballet, of interrupting well-earned applause with their perfect performance of fouettés or diagonals that stun the imagination with their flying tricks. 
Olga Makarova


Photos © 2000-2006 Marc Haegeman

Provided by Wikipedia - Le Corsaire


The Shipwreck
Three sailors are struggling to save their boat during a storm.
The boat sinks.

Act I
Scene 1 
The Sea Shore
The sea casts the three men, Conrad, Ali and Birbanto, onto a beach. Young Greek women come to their aid. Among them is Medora. Conrad, attracted by Medora, tells her that he is a corsair. Danger now threatens in the form of a Turkish patrol. Medora and her friend Gulnara hide the corsairs, but the Turks take the girls prisoner. The evil Lankedem, a slave-trader, is pillaging the Greek coast, and he has connived with the patrol officer to seize the girls.

Scene 2 
The Slave Market
Lankedem is selling his slaves in the market place, where Seid Pasha is seated in the place of honour, looking for fresh beauties for his harem. He is attracted by Gulnara, and buys her. As she is taken away, Medora is brought in, looking so beautiful that Seid Pasha is prepared to pay any price for her. But suddenly a new buyer appears, whom Medora recognises as Conrad in disguise. As the auction for Medora proceeds, Seid Pasha is astonished, and asks the new bidder to name himself. At once, Conrad and his followers throw off their cloaks and are revealed as armed corsairs. They carry Medora away, seize Lankedem, and make off to sea. The Turkish guard has proved useless, and Seid Pasha is furious.

Act II 
The Corsairs´ Cave on a Greek Island
The corsairs rejoice at having seized such a rich booty from the market, and at having saved the beautiful young women. They dance in celebration, and Medora dances with Conrad and his friend Ali to the delight of the corsairs. The other young girls ask Medora to intercede with Conrad so that they may return to their own villages. Conrad allows himself to be persuaded, but Birbanto and the other men wish to keep the young women there. Conrad is adamant, and Medora leads the girls to the shore. Lankedem has observed this conflict of opinions and, in exchange for his freedom, he offers Birbanto a potion which will induce a heavy sleep when administered. The potion is poured over a bouquet of flowers and given to Medora who then presents it to Conrad in thanks for his chivalry towards the girls. Lankedem thereby abducts Medora once again.

Act III 
Seid Pasha´s Harem 
Gulnara is the jewel of the harem, and none of the other slaves brought by Lankedem pleases the Pasha. When Lankedem reappears with Medora, the Pasha is delighted. He buys her and is greeted by a scene in a garden of beauties. But mysterious pilgrims suddenly appear in the palace, and they are invited to join in evening prayer.
Medora recognises Conrad and his men, again in disguise, and this time she truly escapes from the Pasha.

Out on the open sea, the corsairs sail away, together with Conrad, Medora and their friends, heading towards new adventures.

Schedule for Le Corsaire (ballet in three acts with a prologue and epilogue) 2022

Extract from the ballet "Le Corsaire"
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Extract from the ballet "Le Corsaire"

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