Two reviews of American Ballet TheatreThe New York Times
This “Corsaire” is superficial and frivolous about everything from its depiction of Muslims to ballet’s own potential as an art of music drama. In the poem, Medora is a desperate and melancholy heroine; her lover, the corsair/pirate hero, Conrad, is distraught near the end to find her corpse. In this ballet, she’s a playful coquette. When the bad guys, led by Conrad’s false friend Birbanto and the slave-dealing bazaar owner Lankendem, abduct her, she briefly turns serious and stabs Birbanto in the arm; but soon she’s merry again.
Yet if “Chamber Symphony” seemed grounded in the Soviet dramballet, “Piano Concerto #1” seemed to mark contemporary Russia’s encounter with the legacy of Balanchine and the formalist ballet of the west. In front a backdrop that looked like a huge abstract expressionist painting, Tsypin hung an installation of enameled Soviet baubles. Painted bright red and suspended low over the stage like so many mobiles were Red Stars, Soviet aircraft, hammers, sickles, nuts and bolts. It looked like the décor for a Soviet “Rubies” and this analogy was reinforced by the stripped down, red bathing suit costumes worn by two principal women, Natalia Osipova and Diana Vishneva....