The most thrilling of all classical ballets
Le Corsaire (The Pirate) follows the escapades of a dashing pirate, Conrad, who journeys across the high seas to save his beautiful harem girl, Medora. It is a swashbuckling fantasy tale of captive maidens and cutthroats, love and betrayal.
Full of action, passion and romance, this classic story ballet has been reinvented by English National Ballet, the only UK company to perform the complete work.
This extravagant and exhilarating production enthralled audiences and received rave reviews when it premiered in 2013. Staged by Anna-Marie Holmes, with the breath-taking sets by Hollywood designer Bob Ringwood (Batman) Le Corsaire is an unmissable, entertaining adventure.
And their Latin dancers are showing us Brits that, in classical ballet, technical dazzle isn’t vulgar – it’s vital
Ismene Brown review at The Spectator
“Le Corsaire” is one of the great classics created by Marius Petipa for the Mariinsky Theatre. Like all excellent Russian classics it is a true epic story that offers drama, an exotic landscape and the best pyrotechnics of the classic technique. It’s a men’s ballet, with heroic and passionate characters and with the famous pas de deux that made a legend of Nureyev when he first performed in England with Dame Margot Fonteyn. This is a unique and unmissable opportunity as it has never before been performed by a British company.
We are working with Anna-Marie Holmes who created this version more than a decade ago and she is willing to change it to make it specific for us. In reinventing Le Corsaire we have the chance to go through the whole narrative and look at it with fresh eyes, making it even better and personal to the Company. I am excited that this is a ballet with four male principal roles. Unlike many of the classics it will give great opportunities to the men in the Company to show off their skills and athleticism. We are also re-orchestrating the work because there have been many additions over the years. I want the music to sound more romantic and cleaner as it would have originally. And I am thrilled that Bob Ringwood, the amazing designer of Batman, has agreed to design the sets and the costumes.
Bob Ringwood, whose film credits include Batman. Alien 3, Star Trek Nemesis and Troy, explains his ambitions for the piece: “Designing Le Corsaire, I thought it would be interesting to bring out the romantic and historic elements of the original ballet. I hope to capture the flavour of the Romantic period in which it was first staged. The sets and costumes are based on original paintings, prints and engravings of the mid 19th. Century to capture and infuse the essence of the period. I felt it was important to bring out the romantic, sensual and erotic elements of the piece, that have been so neglected in recent productions. The sensuality of the women and bravado and swagger of the men, for us all to enjoy those heavily scented and perfumed Arabian Nights that so captivated Orientalist painters and writers of the second half of the 19th Century.”