Le Corsaire, Ballet by M. Legris
It is always a special moment when a new choreography is created for a ballet. Lovers of the genre should make a note in their diaries not to miss Manuel Legris’ presentation of Le Corsaire which received its premiere at the Vienna State Opera on 20 March 2016.
Le Corsaire is a ballet which has captivated choreographers ever since it was first brought to the stage by the French composer, Adolphe Charles Adam and the Master of the Paris Opera Ballet, Joseph Mazilier. It enjoyed its premiere at the famous Opéra de Paris on 23 January 1856 and was revived on many other occasions throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Inspired by Lord Byron’s romantic poem The Corsair, the libretto for Adam’s ballet was written by the French dramatist, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, famous also for writing libretti for Georges Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth and Gaetano Donizetti’s La fille du régiment.
Retaining Adam’s original music, Legris’ Corsaire is a lavish and exotic swashbuckling adventure which sees the ballet’s hero, Conrad, become besotted with the beautiful Medora who has been sold into slavery. But rescuing her only causes in-fighting amongst his own pirate crew and mayhem in the Pasha’s palace, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind him.
Manuel Legris is one of the major contemporary figures in the world of ballet. A two-time recipient of the Nijinsky Award, he danced with the Paris Opera Ballet for some 23 years, rising to Principal Dancer under none other than Rudolph Nureyev, before being appointed Director of the Vienna State Ballet in 2010.