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 Post subject: Mikhailovsky Ballet New Production of Le Corsaire
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 84
Location: London,UK
On 13, 14, 15 March the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St Petersburg presents their new production of Le Corsaire with choreography revised by Farukh Ruzimatov, Artistic Director of the company.

Farukh Ruzimatov, the internationally renowned dancer who was widely considered as one of the greatest performers of Ali, is artistic director of the Mikhailovsky Ballet. He said: “Our starting point is the existing ballet by Marius Petipa and Pyotr Gusev. We have tried to create a new version of the famous ballet: on one hand, a more dynamic, bright and showy one, on the other hand, more approximate to the original ballet”.

This new production of Le Corsaire to be premiered at the Mikhailovsky Theatre consists of two acts instead of the three of many other versions.


The sets and costumes for the new production were created by renowned theatre artist Valery Levental, who had been working as an art director of the Bolshoi Theatre for many years. “Valery Levental is a brilliant designer who has worked with many famous choreographers in many theatres. The important quality of the designer is his willing to create the sets and costumes that would attract both experienced and new public”, Farukh Ruzimatov admits.

World famous principals of the Mikhailovsky Denis Matvienko, Irina Perren, Semyon Chudin and Anastasia Matvienko will take the leading roles at the premiere performances of the production.

The plot of the ballet Le Corsaire is based on the poem by George Gordon Byron, though, unlike the original story, is crowned with a happy ending. The ballet Le Corsaire set to the music by Adolphe Adam was first staged by Joseph Mazilier in 1856 in Paris. Two years later it appeared in St Petersburg in the version by Jules Perrot. In 1868 Marius Petipa premiered his own version of the ballet, adding some new dances, e.g. the famous pas d’esclaves. The music was revised several times by such composers as Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo and Pyotr Oldenburgsky.

Farukh Ruzimatov is Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Ballet from 2007. Since that time the company presented four new productions – Giselle, Spartacus, Cipollino and Romeo and Juliet to a much public acclaim both in Russia and abroad.

The Mikhailovsky Ballet recently performed with great success in London, Venice and in Japan. The company was been nominated for Best Foreign Dance Company in the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2008.

The Mikhailovsky Theatre is one of the oldest opera and ballet houses in Russia. In 2008 the company celebrated its 175th Anniversary with the festive events which gathered some of the most well known international singers, musicians, dancers and artistic figures in St Petersburg. Angela Gheorghiu and Jose Cura have dedicated their recitals in Russia to the Mikhailovsky Theatre Anniversary. The ballet company of the theatre has prepared series of Gala evenings for Russian and international public.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks for the news, Gavin. As the press release states the Mikhailovsky had a great success in London, both with the range of ballets on show and the quality of the performances.

"The Corsaire" has beautiful and thrilling sections, but also has so many narrative shortcomings that it's not in the list of my favourites. Perhaps this new production will be the one to do the trick for me.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:19 am 
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
I look forward to seeing the third performance of this production of Le Corsaire on the 15th of March -- on my first visit to the Mikhailovsky.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:40 am 
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Location: London UK
The Bolshoi used to have a wonderful Corsaire staged by Konstantine Sergeyev but sold the sets and costumes to ABT, as far as I could ascertain this production was closest to the original. The current Burlaka/Ratmansky production is very handsome though very dependent on the principal dancers. Both of these contained less of the rather unwholesome elements that make up the Kirov verision by Vinogradov.

When are we likely to see the Mikhailovsky in London again? They really were most impressive last year.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:15 am 
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Glad you want to see Mikhailovsky in London again....we are working on it.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:29 am 
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I attended the March 13 '09 premiere of the new Mikhailovsky CORSAIRE. It was, to me, a terrible disappointment. "Corsaire-Gusev Lite," I call it. The entire ballet is crammed into two acts, with a lot of the narrative happening before the front-curtain as the main sets are changed. Truly tasteless, cheap-looking costumes, e.g., the three odalisques wear white bloomer-pants, each with a differently-coloured stockings and matching pointe shoes. Unlike the Bolshoi & most other productions, the sets are just flat backcloths...and cheaply painted, especially for the final harem scene/Jardin Anime.

Don't get me started on the cheesy elements, e.g., the market scene's new "Dance of the Algerian Flagellants" featuring men brandishing whips on themselves, all the while Lankadem whips them into position, which is a joke. Why whip those who are whipping themselves?

The dancers -- now sans the Matvienkos -- were quite wonderful, though, with Irina Perren outstanding as Medora. Mrs. Ruzimatov -- Viktoria Kutepova -- did a fine job as the 3rd Odalisque.

For those who cannot stand the Kirov-Mariinsky's Soviet version by Peter Gusev and all of its streamlining (a young Lankedem also dancing the Pas d'Esclave; changes in the Gulnare character, etc.), then this is even worse and more streamlined.

Another negative: horrendous new orchestration of the score, with extra timpani in the most inappropriate (gentle) spots.

Bottom Line: Give me the Bolshoi or even the ABT versions any day. Once we've tasted caviar, why go back to eating chips?


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