World premiere: January 25, 1899 (the last Petipa version) at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg
Premiere date of this staging at the Bucharest National Opera House: April 28, 2007
Performances in the 2013-2014 season:
November 6, 9 and 16, 2014
January 23, 2015
19h00 – 21h30 (two intermissions)
Conductor: Ciprian Teodorașcu
Direction and choreography: Vasily Medvedev, based on Marius Petipa
Sets and costumes: Adriana Urmuzescu
Ballet masters for soloists: Petruța Almosnino, Corina Dumitrescu, Cristina Opincaru, Florica Stănescu, Gabriel Opincaru
Ballet masters for ensemble: Tiberiu Almosnino, Gabriela Mocanu
Cast for the 2014-2015 season:
Medora - Bianca Fota / Cristina Dijmaru / Sena Hidaka
Conrad - Ovidiu Matei Iancu / Robert Enache / Dawid Trzensimiech
Gulnare - Rin Okuno / Bianca Stoicheciu / Marina Minoiu / Mihaela Soare
Lankedem - Shohei Horiuchi / Ovidiu Matei Iancu / Barnaby Bishop
Ali - Shuhey Yoshida / Cristi Preda / Vlad Toader
Birbanto - Liam Morris / Shohei Horiuchi / Călin Rădulescu / Bogdan Cănilă
Birbanto’s friend - Nastazia Philippou / Lăcrămioara Proca
Birbanto’s friends - Barnaby Bishop, Lucas Campbell, Amy Bale, Lorena Negrea / Barnaby Bishop, Liam Morris, Raluca Ciocoiu, Lorena Negrea / Egoitz Segura, Lucas Campbell, Raluca Ciocoiu, Lorena Negrea / Egoitz Segura, Lucas Campbell, Raluca Ciocoiu, Lăcrămioara Proca
Seyd Pasha - Antonel Oprescu / Tiberiu Almosnino
Solo - Slaves - Diana Tudor, Megumi Koshi / Amy Bale, Fiona Martin
Three Odalisques - Mihaela Soare, Marina Minoiu, Akane Iichi / Noellie Coutisson, Rebecca Haw, Adina Tudor / Rin Okuno, Lorena Negrea, Akane Ichii / Nastazia Philippou, Marina Minoiu, Gabriela Popovici
Solo - Garden - Rebecca Haw, Noellie Coutisson, Adina Tudor, Akane Ichii / Amy Bale, Giordano Gallo, Alexia Anderson, Akane Ichii
The performance in 1912 by Alexander Gorsky, prim-maestro of ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, with Ekaterina Geltzer and Vasily Tikhomirov in the main roles. Among the unique elements of the ballet were some new dances on the arias of composers such as: Edvard Grieg, Frédéric Chopin, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Antonín Dvořák. Gorsky’s staging was part of the repertoire of the Bolshoi Theatre until 1927.
The performance by Pyotr Gusev, in 1955, at the Maly Theatre Ballet in Leningrad, became one of the most popular versions of the ballet “Le Corsaire” in Russia. The original libretto was modified and fragments of the music were replaced with others from the ballet “L'Écumeur de mer” and the opera “Si j'étais roi” (both signed by Adolphe Charles Adam)
The staging from 1973, signed by Konstantin Sergeyev for the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg, defined by an improved choreography and new musical elements.
The staging from 2007, at the Bolshoi Theatre, which contains new versions of some of the elements from the 1899 performance by Petipa. The staging was one of the most expensive from the history of ballet, with an amount estimated at 1.5 million dollars.
Classical dance is a pure form, even when it comes to those archaic or even naïve librettos; the atmosphere of festivity and the beauty of this style are always present in the show. The audience is delighted with the purity and fragility of classical ballet, as well as with the amazing qualities of the dancers in the recent years. The choreographic language is a simple one and it is easy to understand by the audience. All of these attributes are present in “Le Corsaire” which has already accumulated 150 years of performances and which still continues to appeal to the spectators who are in love with classical ballet.
Vasily Medvedev - choreographer
It’s my greatest pleasure to invite spectators of all ages to join us, because the performance is for both the young and the old, and the dynamism of the dancers, the symphony of colours and the music of the best quality will offer them, no doubt about it, many reasons to rejoice.
Ciprian Teodoraşcu - conductor
The Whispers of the Sea
“Le Corsaire” composed by Adolphe Charles Adam based on the libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges – who, in turn, was apparently inspired by the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron – is one of the most captivating ballet works from the history of classical music. The thrilling story of the ballet centres on Conrad, a brave pirate, and Medora, a beautiful harem girl.
The first choreography of the ballet was by Joseph Mazilier, who presented his show at the Opera in Paris in 1856, yet almost all the following productions were derived from the fourth stagings signed by Marius Petipa, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. If the first version of the performance (1863) was specially created for the prima-ballerina Mariia Surovshchikova-Petipa, his wife, the last version – and the most successful one, in 1899 – was created for the prima-ballerina Pierina Legnani.
A flea market in an oriental bazar in Adrianople. The merchants show off their colourful merchandise near the slave fair. A group of corsairs led by Conrad make their appearance. He meets the young Greek Medora, who is a ward of merchant Isak Lankendem. A great love blossoms between the two. At the same time, Seyd Pasha arrives in a litter and he wishes to buy slaves for his harem. His eyes rest on the beautiful Gulnare, but eventually he is conquered by Medora’s charm. Seyd Pasha strikes a deal with Lankendem, and Medora and Gulnare are to be sent to his harem. His plans are foiled by Conrad and the corsairs who kidnap Medora together with the other slaves and leave by sea for the corsair island.
Conrad and Medora are at the pirates’ hidden refuge. The two lovers are overjoyed and Medora changes her clothes with corsair ones, enjoying her freedom with her lover. Conrad’s friend, Birbanto, brings the captured slaves and Lankendem, who is trembling with fear. The slaves beg Conrad to release them. He accepts, urged by Medora, which makes Birbanto and one of the corsairs unhappy. Conrad repeats the order and forces Birbanto to obey. Lankendem, who hears the corsairs’ dispute, approaches Birbanto and suggests a plan for the recovery of the slaves and of Medora: he puts a sleeping pill in a wine cup and gives it to Conrad. Shortly after the cup is emptied, he falls under a deep sleep. Medora’s efforts to wake her lover are in vain. Suddenly, some masked, frightening figures appear. Medora takes Conrad’s dagger and tries to protect herself, and manages to harm the leader of the attackers in the thick of the battle. Finally, she is overwhelmed with the aggressors’ force and is kidnapped.
In his palace, Seyd Pasha is enjoying the company of the beautiful Gulnare. Lankendem and Medora appear. Seyd Pasha is content, as is Gulnare who is happy to see her friend. A few pilgrims stop at the palace on their way to Mecca and ask for shelter. Seyd Pasha not only accepts but invites his guests to a celebration in the garden of the palace. In the meantime, Conrad reveals his identity to Medora, by abandoning his attire. The guests prove to be the corsairs who have come to save Medora. They build an ambush and Seyd Pasha runs from the palace. Gulnare asks Conrad to protect her from Birbanto, who was following her. Medora recognises Birbanto after the wound she had inflicted upon him while they were fighting and tells Conrad of his betrayal. Birbanto tries to kill Conrad but he is defeated. The corsairs move on in the search of new adventures. Suddenly, the storm starts and their ship hits a rock and disappears into the deep. After nature settles down and the sea is calm, on a rock, under the moonlight, one can see two bodies in an embrace. They are Medora and Conrad.