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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Ballet’s “Le Corsaire”

Le Corsaire

On Oct. 27 2016, Boston Ballet started its 53rd season with the North American premiere of Ivan Liška’s “Le Corsaire”, also called the “pirate ballet.” When translated, “Le Corsaire” is french for “The Pirate.” The event was held at the Boston Opera House in Downtown Boston, and was performed by the Boston Ballet Orchestra.

“Le Corsaire” is centered around a maiden, a wealthy aristocrat who wants to add her to his harem, and a corsair who was determine to save her. “Le Corsaire” is based on Marius Pepita’s 19th century classic that first premiered at Paris Opera House in 1856. It is said to be an attempted version of a show performed in 1997 titled “The Pirate,” according to the Boston Globe. Ivan Liška’s version was created in 2007 for the Bavarian State Ballet. As stated by Iris Fanger, this version of “Le Corsaire” is “considerably tightened, stuffed from Moorish arch to arch with heaps of dancing and fueled by a raffish spirit of adventure.” It is a “modernized, or ‘clarified,’ interpretation of the classic Romantic ballet,” as described by director Mikko Nissinen.

As stated above, “Le Corsaire” is about a merchant’s daughter named Medora. Some of the other main characters included the merchant Lankedem, Conrad’s loyal slave, Ali, a hypocritical Birbanto, the Pasha, and and his favorite slave, Gulnara. Conrad, who is the chief of the corsaires, falls in love with Medora at first sight. Conrad later rescues Medora from being one of the Pasha’s harem.

After battling with the stormy sea, Conrad, along with a fellow corsaire and his friend Birbanto, arrive at the Andrinople market. Medora, who sees Conrad from her terrace, immediately falls in love with him. She throws him a bouquet of flowers. Each flower included a special message. Conrad, who sees the symbolism, falls in love with her instantly.

When Pasha arrives at the marketplace, he is mesmerized by Medora, and buys her from Lankendum. Medora begs Conrad to rescue her, and they quickly escape to a grotto on a pirate island with the corsairs and a group of slave girls. Birbanto later betrays Conrad by poisoning him, which causes him to fall into a deep sleep. This allowed Lankendem to steal Medora and send her back to Pasha. When Conrad wakes up, he and the corsairs sneak into the harem to free Medora from Pasha once again.

Medora was performed by Seo Hye Han, the company’s newest principal dancer. Conrad was performed by Lasha Khozashvili. “Le Corsaire” also included music by Adolphe Adam, Leo Delibes, Cesare Pugni, Riccardo Drigo, and Prinz Von Oldenburg.

“Le Corsaire” is filled with romance and passion. The performances were all executed wonderfully, and the costumes as well as stage props were all aesthetically pleasing. It was well choreographed and with tickets starting at $35, it is a must-see for all lovers of ballet and even those who may not know what ballet entails.
The show is approximately two hours and 30 minutes, which includes an intermission. The performance will run until Nov. 6.