Anne-Marie Holmes first staged the ballet for Boston in 1997, and it marked the first time that a non-Russian company had danced the piece. A year later she produced the well-known version for the American Ballet Theatre. It was transmitted by PBS as part of their Great Performances series and won an Emmy Award.
The ballet will be transmitted live in cinemas on 16 May (and later on Italy’s RAI5 TV channel). The first cast sees Nicoletta Manni as Medora, Martina Arduino as Gulnare, Timofej Andrijashenko as Conrad, Marco Agostino (Lankendem), and Antonino Sutera (Birbanto). Claudio Coviello as Alì the slave will be replaced by Mattia Semperboni for the first two performances because of injury, and Antonella Albano plays Zulmea.
David Dougill in The Sunday Times commenting on Anna-Marie Holmes’ Le Corsaire for English National Ballet:
Silly plots are not uncommon in the 19th-century ballets, but the narrative of Le Corsaire must be one of the daftest. It’s a tale of pirates and slave girls in the Ottoman empire, loosely based on Byron’s poem The Corsair, and revolves around the misfortunes of its heroine, Medora. You can easily lose track of the number of times she is captured, rescued, kidnapped, retrieved and variously carried off: a life crowded with incident, even if much of it is in the same vein.
Roslyn Sulcas in The New York Times on Anna-Marie Holmes’ Le Corsaire for American Ballet Theatre:
…This is kitschy and lovely, a kind of guilty pleasure, as is the dancey mishmash of a score by Adam, Pugni, Delibes, Drigo and Oldenbourg… In some ways “Le Corsaire” is ballet at its silliest. In others, it holds many of its chief delights.
20, 22, 27 April; 9, 11 (2 perf.), 16 (2 perf.), 17 May 2018
Music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Léo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo, Peter von Oldenburg
Libretto by Jules-Henry Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier, in a version by Anna-Marie Holmes,
based on Lord Byron’s The Corsair (1814)
Choreography Anna-Marie Holmes
Based on Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev
Music orchestrated by Kevin Galiè
Sets and costumes by Luisa Spinatelli
Lighting by Marco Filibeck
Conductor Patrick Fournillier
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.