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Le CorsaireKirov vs. ABT


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#16 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:13 PM

Although at the time the Boston Ballet publicity people (I suppose, correct me if I'm wrong) assumed the French title would be difficult for people, so it was billed as "The Pirate" with "Le Corsaire" as a subtitle!

#17 Joseph

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 07:29 AM

That's right, Mme. Hermine! I forgot about that...

#18 FauxPas

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:22 AM

There was a famous solo for Medora where she wore a sailor suit and danced a jig on the pirate ship I think - I would guess this was a character dance and not on pointe. It may have originally been created by Petipa for his first wife Marie Petipa. Does the choreography still exist in some form? (Sergeyev collection?).

It has never been used in any production I have seen. Does the Maly production use it? I think it was danced by Olga Preobrazhenskaya and she would have remembered the choreography.

#19 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:27 AM

It was done in Boston, in character shoes and a little sailor outfit. If I understand it properly, she is trying to ask the pirates to take her along, so it's on land.

#20 Solor

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 03:36 PM

I do not like the ABT version of "Le Corsaire" at all. The Kirov version is far superior in all respects, though you can tell that many choreographers and ballet masters over the years have had thier hands in revising it (if there is any ballet that Sergei Vikharev should re-construct, its "Le Corsaire", maintaining the traditional pas of course!).

ABTs version and the Kirovs differ so much. The only thing that the two productions really have in common are the traditional pas and that have come down from Petipa (the pas d'esclave, the grand pas, the mazurka of pirates, the classical trio of the odalisques, and the scene Jardin Anime).

All of the incidental music in ABTs version is completely differrent from the Kirovs. Since it is the Kirovs version that this staging stems from, it makes me wonder where ABT got the music from, I mean, its completely different! Aslo, much of the music that is in both stagings is re-orchestrated in the ABT production. Compare if you like, the music for the pas de trois of the odalisques or the pas d'esclave.

The next thing that I find absolutly ridiculous about the ABT staging is the "pirates of the carribean" way that the pirates are portyed in thier staging. The ballet "Le Corsaire" calls for very different kinds of pirates - exotic Corsaires from the mid-east, not the kind that spawned captain hook or black beard. And lets not forget that awful skull and crossbones flag on the boat in the ABT version.

#21 Hans

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 03:39 PM

Actually, ABT's production does not come from the Kirov, but from the Bolshoi, via Boston Ballet. I agree that I'd like Vikharev to reconstruct Corsaire...if such a thing is possible.

#22 Solor

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 05:48 AM

Yes, but the Bloshoi version comes from the Kirov. I should have expressed myslef a little better.

#23 Hans

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 05:59 AM

Perhaps someone on the board knows when the Bolshoi acquired Le Corsaire--if it was a long time ago, that could account for some of the differences considering the various restagings the ballet would have gone through. There is some additional dancing in Act I for Medora that I wouldn't mind seeing kept as it appears to be Petipa (although just as much of it seems to be "after" or "in the style of" Petipa) and you are right, the incidental music between the two productions is completely different--different, IMO, beyond the inevitable variations in who uses which particular version of the score. Act I in particular is like a completely different ballet besides the "set pieces" of the Pas d'Esclave and the Pas de Trois des Odalisques. (Even the choreography for Gulnara differs between the two versions, but one can't always be picky about that.)

Maybe Doug or Mel knows something?

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 06:11 AM

I think the ballet got pretty well hacked up over the years. If you read about the 1840-something original in Beaumont's "Complete Book of the Ballets" it sounds completely different. There are plot changes (Medora and Conrad were in love at the ballet's opening. She's sold into haremdom by Lankadehm -- who is her guardian!! (and who, of course, did not dance) And the score was a complete whole, all by Adam. So all of those interpolations came later. (An amusing aside. One website that sells the DVD lists all the composers, including Prince. They count "Prince Oldenburg" as two composers -- Prince and Oldenburg).

It got to Russia in the late 19th century and my guess is that by at least the 1920s, they'd started to work their wicked ways :)

#25 rg

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 06:26 AM

KORSAR as the russians call their ballet entered bolshoi rep. in 1858.
the russian encyc. of russian ballet notes a 1956 film of some, presumably russian, produciton of the ballet, but gives no particulars.
the most recent bolshoi staging, from which ABT's comes, was first done in 1992, by k.sergeyev - thus it has a st.pete/leningrad lineage - i suspect k.s. was in some way wanting to have his 'say' likely b/c it differed in some way(s) from the gusev-based version then being done at the kirov. (a '94 prod. seems to be a slight revamping of this bolshoi theater prod. by grigorovich - for nearly the same cast as the one that led in '92, i.e. Gracheva as Medora; A. Vetrov as Conrad.)
david vaughan did a substantive review of THE PIRATE/Le Corsaire for THE DANCING TIMES on the occasion of a-m holmes staging of sergeyev's production for boston ballet. he gives a longish rundown of composers whose hands once were involved in the ballet's score over the years.
here's the NYPL's cat. info for the article:
Vaughan, David
Le corsaire in Boston.
Dancing times. London. June 1997, p. 831, 833. ill.
Review of Boston Ballet's Le corsaire.

#26 Dale

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 08:08 AM

Building off of the above information by rg, here are is a Ballet Alert! article:

http://www.balletale...er/Corsaire.htm

And a review by Mary Cargill from an old issue of Dance View:

http://www.danceview...bbcorsaire.html

#27 ellen

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 03:38 AM

I love the dancing at the Kirov,but the music version at ABT seems more touching.The Kirov version omits several good pieces of music in my opinion.Why there are different music versions of a same ballet.Were they written by the same composers?

#28 EricMontreal22

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:15 PM

Was Le Corsaire thought of as silly at its premiere or was it considered a serious drama?


My impression is the original audiences for these more far fetched ballet plots lapped them up. They probably didn't take them seriously, *exactly*, but they did enjoy them and all their twists and turns. It's ironic that one of the common negative reviews of Sleeping Beauty when it premiered was its story was too simplistic--after being used to getting these exciting, plot driven melodramas for years suddenly they were meant to watch a children's fairy tale? Of course now audiences find many of those melodramas hard to swallow or take seriously (though I like that lately people seem far more willing to accept them) and a plot like Sleeping Beauty seems a natural for a ballet.

Do you think we'll ever get a DVD of the Bolshoi's production? It sounds like it's the most faithful to the various Petipa versions and the closest to a "reconstruction" we'll get (using the notations for choreography and the costume designs of the 1899 production I think). Also would be amazing to see considering that wikipedia says it's the most expensive mounting of a bellet so far. I do love the Kirov DVD but haven't seen ABT's--while I'd never confuse the music of it for Tchaikovsky or Glazunov it is interesting that the piece holds together as well as it does considering all the sources of music, etc. (and since the ABT DVD is out of print and Amazon lists it for $150 dollars I don't think I'll see it anytime soon...)

Ellen, wikipedia gives a good listing of all the myriad of places and composers the music for Le Corsair comes from--Even though it was common practice back then for ballets to incorporate whatever piece of music they wanted to, I still can't think of another example of a ballet that uses such a large mix of music sources and composers. (Wikipedia's article http://en.wikipedia....iki/Le_Corsaire is also interesting for the drama around K Sergeyev's production for the Kirov in the 70s which was quickly pulled and then for the Bolshoi in the 90s where it was again quickly pulled)

#29 EricMontreal22

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:32 PM

KORSAR as the russians call their ballet entered bolshoi rep. in 1858.
the russian encyc. of russian ballet notes a 1956 film of some, presumably russian, produciton of the ballet, but gives no particulars.
the most recent bolshoi staging, from which ABT's comes, was first done in 1992, by k.sergeyev - thus it has a st.pete/leningrad lineage - i suspect k.s. was in some way wanting to have his 'say' likely b/c it differed in some way(s) from the gusev-based version then being done at the kirov. (a '94 prod. seems to be a slight revamping of this bolshoi theater prod. by grigorovich - for nearly the same cast as the one that led in '92, i.e. Gracheva as Medora; A. Vetrov as Conrad.)


I know this was posted years ago--before the current Bolshoi blockbuster production, but Wikipedia has a different take on Sergeyev's version. After it was pulled with only 9 performances at the Kirov in the 70s and they went back to their prior version (which they still perform) apparantly:

" In 1992 Yuri Grigorovich, director of the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow, invited Sergeyev to mount his 1973 revival of Le Corsaire for the company. This production—which included a heavily re-edited and re-orchestrated score by the Bolshoi Theatre's conductor Alexander Sotnikov—premiered on 11 March, 1992 to great success, but after only seven performances Grigorovich decided to pull the production from the repertory. After witnessing the success of Sergeyev's production, Grigorovich decided to stage his own version, which premiered on 16 February, 1994. Grigorovich's production was then taken out of the repertory after the director left the company in 1995."

If I were Sergeyev I'd be mildly pissed off to say the least... But I think him and Grigorovich had a strange competitive relationship.


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