"Bolshoi Beauty": Ballet Brings Le Corsaire to Kennedy Center June 16-21

Classic Arts Features   "Bolshoi Beauty": Ballet Brings Le Corsaire to Kennedy Center June 16-21
Last seen at the Center in 2007 with Don Quixote and the Possokhov's Cinderella, Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet returns to the Kennedy Center with Le Corsaire June 16 to begin a new long-term performance cycle.

For the first performance in this new relationship, Director of Ballet Yuri Burlaka brings the Company's "remarkable...lavish new staging" (The New York Times) of Le Corsaire, June 16 _21 in the Opera House.

To restore this magnificent work to its former glory, former Bolshoi Director of Ballet Alexei Ratmansky and current Director Burlaka: a specialist in the restoring and revival of Petipa choreographies: undertook extensive research. Material from Moscow's Bakhrushin Museum, the St. Petersburg State Theatre Library, and the Harvard Theatre gave insights into the original 1899 choreography by Marius Petipa. The original score by Adolphe Adam and Leo Delibes for Le Corsaire was retrieved from La Bibliotheque national de France with the assistance of the Paris Opera. The production also features music by Cesare Pugni, Pyotr von Oldenburg, Riccardo Drigo, Albert Zabel, and Julius Gerber. Following the 2007 premiere of the re-staging, London's The Guardian raved about the choreography saying it "shows off the company, and particularly the dancing of the women, to breathtaking effect."

Based on Lord Byron's 1814 epic poem, Le Corsaire follows Medora, a young Greek girl, and Conrad, a dashing pirate, as they journey through a tapestry of captive maidens, rich sultans, swashbuckling abductions, and dramatic rescues: all culminating in a shipwreck that's one of the most breathtaking spectacles in all of ballet. Says the New York Times: "The final scene has one scenic masterstroke after another. Moonlight upon the Mediterranean, then the corsairs' ship...filling most of the stage with characters on board, trumped by thunder, lightning, storm, rising waves, and the boat splitting before our eyes: the kind of special effect that in recent decades has belonged to film alone."

Don't try looking anywhere else for the Bolshoi's Le Corsaire: the Kennedy Center is the only place in North America where you can experience this magnificent production, "an occasion to gorge on superlative dancing, fascinating choreography, and an opulent sense of theater" (Financial Times).

For casting and tickets, please visit kennedy-center.org.


Jeremy D. Birch is the writer/editor of Kennedy Center News.

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