St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre
Performance by the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre 22 - 23 February 2024
Kanat Nadyrbek as Conrad Irina Sapozhnikova as Medora
What can be more beautiful on the stage near the sea than a ballet based on a marine theme? Le Corsaire choreographed by the head ballet master Eldar Aliev is the show to see on the Mariinsky Theatre Primorsky Stage. Since the time of its creation Le Corsaire was off to a long and successful journey. It was composed practically by the same brilliant artistic alliance that fifteen years earlier brought the immortal Giselle to the world. The librettist Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, the composer Adolphe Adam (whose music score later was added with pieces of other composers), and the choreographers Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa presented a new ballet masterpiece for musical theatre. This new ballet was just as romanticist and romantic as the sad and illusory Giselle yet it was very different.
Le Corsaire is filled with sunlight, bright colors, and hubbub of the Middle East bazaar, sensual luxury, and the delight of Turkish harem. Romanticists expressed their interest for the Middle East exotics in their total dedication to Ottoman style which used to be quite fashionable in the previous times (for example Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail). An explosive exotic mix is complimented with a pirate adventure and a shipwreck. Le Corsaire is a real Treasure Island with an incredible pirate story. Love is above all collisions and twists of the story which happily ends. Would you be surprised that this ballet was an absolute success when Marius Petipa worked on its improvement? In the original version of the ballet there was only one leading character performed by a prima ballerina. Initially the role of the corsair Conrad was limited to a simple pantomime. Petipa performing Conrad at the ballet premier in St. Petersburg decided to stand for men’s rights in the ballet and made the role of corsair a brilliant virtuosic performance. His followers continued this tradition adding latest elements of the classical male ballet dancing technique of their time. Petipa also came up with the famous Pas d’esclave and the scene of Le Jardin Anime (Animated Garden) – the scene of Asian paradise – where Islamic houris (pure beings of paradise) are presented as hovering beauties of harem.
Eldar Aliev’s choreography carefully preserves artistic elements of the legendary Petipa’s version. The renewed costumes and scenery of the show will please the most sophisticated ballet fans. The romance of the sea and the lure of the Turkish Middle East always make their way to the hearts of any audience whether they are adults or children. Le Corsaire is a proper family show. Nadezhda Koulygina
The Seagull. A Ballet Story
This choreographic interpretation of Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece could be entitled The Mysteries Behind the Curtain. This phrase, though, which could perhaps initially be seen as an encompassing résumé of the production, is in fact only a superficial reflection of its conception.
The Seagull. A Ballet Story plunges the audience into the unique world of backstage – filled with electrifying passion, enticing and striking in its contrasts. In this world love affairs are entangled with the torment of the creative process, personal dramas are entwined with the mysterious origins of the works of artists. “Discovering the unknown” in Chekhov’s iconic text, Boris Eifman explores how art emerges from the endless and diverse stream of life, which brings together the uplifting and the demeaning, the eternal and the ephemeral.
The ballet, produced in the year that marks the 45th anniversary of Eifman Ballet, is a credible outcome of the choreographer’s long-lasting artistic evolution, an effective synthesis of the accumulated aesthetic experience. At the same time, it also signifies the beginning of a new phase in the choreographer’s creative path.
The Seagull. A Ballet Story
A ballet by Boris Eifman
Based on The Seagull, a play by Anton Chekhov
Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Sitkovetsky
Sets: Zinovy Margolin
Costumes: Olga Shaishmelashvili
Light: Gleb Filshtinsky, Boris Eifman
Premiere: February 22, 2022
Running time: 2 hours, with one interval