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Bolshoi's Corsaire...and where's "Ali"...?

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I was recently watching this clip of Osipova and Vasiliev in the Bolshoi's Corsaire, and was very surprised to notice that the role of the slave-(or Ali during Soviet times)-is gone, at least from this particular clip. Does anybody knows if they suppressed it all together..? I know that this secondary role in the Pas de Trois was very enhanced by Chabukiani, even gaining a name, and eventually took over the whole Pas, suppressing Conrad thanks to Nureyev and his contemporaries, but now that companies like ABT are back to the original trio scheme, I find surprising that he's completely gone, and the variation is danced instead by Conrad-(for what I know, Gerdt was too old to carry it on...right...?).

Can someone shred some light on the subject...?

Thanks in advance!

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I was recently watching this clip of Osipova and Vasiliev in the Bolshoi's Corsaire, and was very surprised to notice that the role of the slave-(or Ali during Soviet times)-is gone, at least from this particular clip. Does anybody knows if they suppressed it all together..? I know that this secondary role in the Pas de Trois was very enhanced by Chabukiani, even gaining a name, and eventually took over the whole Pas, suppressing Conrad thanks to Nureyev and his contemporaries, but now that companies like ABT are back to the original trio scheme, I find surprising that he's completely gone, and the variation is danced instead by Conrad-(for what I know, Gerdt was too old to carry it on...right...?).

Can someone shred some light on the subject...?

Thanks in advance!

Yes my dear, Ali the slave is gone altogether from the Bolshoi production because he wasn't in the original version of Le Corsaire by Joseph Mazilier or in any of Petipa's revivals - he's just another Soviet-era addition and if I'm honest, one I don't particularly like because I find his presence in the full-length ballet very annoying, very distracting and altogether downright unnecessary!

Also, the so-called Le Corsaire Pas de deux was not created by Petipa either; it was created by Pavel Gerdt's son-in-law, Samuil Andrianov in 1914 when he staged his own revival of Le Corsaire.

The original Grand Pas for Act 1, scene 2 was actually the Grand Pas des eventails, which is set to Adolphe Adam's original music and it's a dance for Medora and 16 coryphees. Andrianov replaced the Grand Pas des eventails with a pas d'action set to pieces of music taken from various other works by Petipa - none of the music in that pas de deux is either by Adam or from the full length Le Corsaire score; it's actually by Riccardo Drigo and Baron Boris Fitinhoff-Schell.

Andrianov choreographed the pas for three dancers and it was first danced by Andrianov himself, the great Tamara Karsavina and Mikhail Obukhov, who served as an additional cavalier. The version of the so-called Le Corsaire Pas de deux that we all know today was choreographed by Agrippina Vaganova, who transformed Andrianov's original pas d'action into a classical pas de deux for her star pupil, Natalia Dudinskaya when Dudinskaya graduated from the Vaganova Academy in 1931. And then sometime afterwards, it was Vakhtang Chabukiani who created and choreographed the role of Ali the slave.

Interestingly, the role of Conrad was originally a purely mimed role, but by the 1870s, he had ceased to being a mimed role and the great Enrico Cecchetti famously danced up a storm in the role in 1887. Now because Pavel Gerdt was 55 years old when he played Conrad in Petipa's final revival in 1899, he performed the dramatic aspects of the character and they brought in a younger dancer to perform all the dance passages for Conrad.

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Thanks for this excellent information. You might like to know that the critic Pleshcheev was watching this Karsavina/Andrianov performance on 15/1/1915, and he wrote: "There was much that was excellent about her [Karsavina], particularly in the pas d'action, which the ballerina danced with Mr. Andrianov, creator of this dance, and Mr. Obukhov, but everything bore the nature of flashes of brilliance alternating with shortcomings. The ballet had a new Conrad - Mr. Andrianov - and did not gain from this. Mr. Andrianov has not yet mastered the role."

The Obukhov on the programme would have been Anatoli rather than Mikhail, who had died back in September 1914.

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Ah thank you very much, I'm always interested to read reviews of the first performances of certain ballets and revivals. :)

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While thinking about the Bolshoi's Le Corsaire in cinema coming in a few days, I've been wondering of Ratmansky's elimination of  Ali means we do not see the famous Le Corsaire PdD?  Or is it danced by the main characters?

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It's danced by Medora and Conrad. Strictly speaking the pas de deux shouldn't be in a reconstruction of Petipa's version at all, as Amy explained above, but no doubt Ratmansky and Burlaka understood that the audience wouldn't accept a production without it.

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Thanks!  Ratmansky is right.  I'm  thinking  Conrad is probably not dancing topless or wearing a plumed headpiece.

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No baggy pants, no bare chests, and no bare midriffs either. It's great. Some feathers, but not worn by any of the Greek men. Lots of hair extensions, though. When I visited the Benaki Museum in Athens, I was struck by how much Conrad resembled Athanasios Diakos. 

 

POLITISTIKH_4.jpg

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Great image! Here is Byron (whose poem "The Corsaire" is, however tenuously, the ballet's source) in the Albanian dress he had made when traveling in Albania (areas that are now Northern Greece) and visiting Ali Pasha--

 

5053746_orig.jpg

Edited by Drew

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Thanks for this image, volcanohunter.  The hairstyles in Bolshoi's version of Corsaire were very similar!  I enjoyed seeing Le Corsaire, especially Krysanova and Lopatin who were both wonderful. But I never want to see this ballet again!

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50 minutes ago, Marta said:

The hairstyles in Bolshoi's version of Corsaire were very similar!  I enjoyed seeing Le Corsaire, especially Krysanova and Lopatin who were both wonderful. But I never want to see this ballet again!

 

Yesterday at the second interval of the livecast Corsaire Novikova was speaking with (I presume) Zaytseva (decor&costume)

and she spoke at length about how carefully they researched for costume design and to create the bazaar scene in the first

act as truthfully as possible not only designed on ethnic lines ie Greek, Turkish, Albanian etc but also tried to reproduce the

different dress styles of the different Greek islands - I was quite impresssed.

 

Re Corsaire : also not my favourite ballet, but want to see it once more at Mariinsky this season, to refresh my memory of

their presentation of the Jardin Animé which is different from Ratmansky's. And imho the version with Ali works for this

ballet, although normally I am dead against classics being tampered with. I think this role enhances and rounds off the "story".

Edited by mnacenani

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Mnacenani, Zaytseva's work was quite impressive and the interview was informative.  The Bolshoi is very well endowed to be able to mount such lavish productions.  I have seen Mariinsky's production of Corsaire around 2002 in N.Y. but I don't remember the Jardin Animé  scene.  I did watch Tereshkina & Yermakov on youtube dancing  the PdD and they were fabulous.  The thought of seeing both Zakharova and Krysanova dancing  within one 24 hour period truly elicits both awe and envy!

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