Adolphe Adam and others / Manuel Legris after Marius Petipa
Ballet in three acts with a prologue and epilogue
Libretto: Manuel Legris and Jean-François Vazelle after George Byron, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier
Premiere of this production: 20 March 2016, Wiener Staatsballett, Vienna
Polish premiere of this production: 17 September 2020, Polish National Ballet, Warsaw
Duration: 2 h 40 min.
About the production
Tumultuous and full of unheard-of adventures, the love story of Conrad and Medora told by George Byron in his oriental tale in verse The Corsair (1814) ignited the imagination of subsequent generations of readers as well as serving as a basis for numerous ballet adaptations, the most frequently staged and reworked of them being the French version choreographed by Joseph Mazilier and set to music by Adolphe-Charles Adam, the composer of the famed Romantic ballet Giselle. Mazilier and Adam’s Le Corsaire, a ballet-pantomime in three acts, was given its debut in 1856 at the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra in Paris. Just a year later an adaptation by Roman Turczynowicz was shown at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, gaining great popularity just as it did elsewhere in Europe. In Russia, at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg, Le Corsaire was staged by Marius Petipa, who based his work on Mazilier’s choreography as well.
Four years ago the famous ballet was revisited by French choreographer and director of the Wiener Staatsballett, Manuel Legris, whose original neoclassical version subsequently premiered in Vienna. Legris, formerly a long-standing soloist of the Paris Opera and Rudolf Nureyev’s favourite, admits that although originally created for the Paris audience, Le Corsaire has not been performed in the city for years. Despite of that, enchanted by Adam’s music, the choreographer decided to revive the piece in Vienna. He nevertheless simplified the complex libretto by J.-H. Vernoy de Saint-Georges, whose original version could be used to make not one but ten ballets.
Manuel Legris’s Viennese version of Le Corsaire premiered at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw in the 2020/21 season.