on 3 March 2014
Firstly, please note that my review below was subsequently wrongly attributed also to the VASTLY SUPERIOR version of "Le Corsaire" by English National Ballet. I have had to delete this and re-submit it in order, hopefully, to correct Amazon's seriously flawed bad editing!!! This comment has been added on 20th April, 2015.
Unlike the previous reviews, I found this production very disappointing. The musical score has been so adulterated and watered-down that this is scarcely recognisable as being the Adolph Adam music we know - it is indeed piracy to call this performance 'Le Corsaire' when so little of the original has been retained, both in music and in choreography. Yes, there is some fine dance performance, and the camerawork is, in the main, good. The lighting is good with a few exceptions. The stage sets are minimalist and totally lack drama or any relationship to the theme, except for the finale, which does work as a storm scene.
I have recently seen English National Ballet perform "Le Corsaire" several times, and it far exceeds this in standard of dance performance, lighting, and stage sets. The original Adam music is lively, dramatic and appropriate. The choreography by Anna-Marie Holmes was excellent - way beyond this performance, with Tamara Rojo, Alina Cojocaru and Erina Takahashi all excelling as Medora, and Yonah Acosta WONDERFUL as Ali or in the roles of Conrad or Birbanto, while Joan Sebastian Zamora and Junor Souza also gave outstanding performances in various roles. May I commend Opus Arte to film that performance - much more of a classical performance, and a guaranteed seller!!
It is noticeable that this Kader Belarbi production does not even retain any names from "Le Corsaire" as we know it! We simply get - 'the Slave-girl', 'the Corsair', 'the Sultan', 'the wealthy Slave Trader' etc. Perhaps afraid of some copyright infringement? Why did he not have the courage to venture forth with something completely new and not poach on the name of a good quality classical ballet??
on 11 February 2014
If you were expecting a revamp of the Le Corsaire as we have known it for decades, forget it.
This has none of the opulent sets or the optimistic flippancy of the celebrated Kirov production with Altynai Asylmuratova as Medora, or a graceful and cheerful Yelena Pankova as Gulnara, or a limp old Saed Pasha and the slave dealer being outfoxed by the gallant Corssire, or the full force of the then Kirov ( Mariyinsky now) corps de ballet. So curb your enthusiasm. Do not even expect the same music except in tiny doses either. One has to wait 20 minutes before hearing anything close to an original piece from the Corsaire that we have been used to.
This is a fresh new ballet with 80% of the music newly adapted from mostly Adam, reinforced by pieces from many other composer ranging from Mayerbeer to Sibelius. But you know what? They seem to be seamlessly strung without losing the continuity. They have been wonderfully re-orchestrated with beautiful effect. David Coleman.. Sir... you have done a marvellous job. The themes are immediately catchy and pleasant too.
The choreography too, is fresh. The only dances that have remained almost untouched are the very familiar ones from the second act, recognizable by most lovers of ballet. Even here, the sequences have been changed.
This production has turned the older ones on its head. Gone is the very optimistic and cheerful feel of this ballet as we know it. In its place is a very serious and Byronesque approach, which although gloomy sometimes, is poignant. The ending is not exactly cheerful. Like the Paris and RPO productions of Swan Lake, this one too, takes refuge in death for eternal happiness, which frankly, Sucks. Even so, the production is sensible and wholesome.
The corps de ballet cannot be compared to the big 5 of the ballet world, but I must really complement the dancers and the ballet masters for attaining neat perfection in movement, precision and the cohesion, which I sometimes miss in the big 5. Excellent.
The soloists have done themselves proud. Both Gutirrez and Galstyan are a treat to watch.
The Audio, Video as well post production are superb. At times, the orchestra, soloists and the conductor are shown, but these are not intrusive (unlike in Raymonda where the PIP of a pianist spoilt one of the best dances).
If at all there are negatives, it is (the lack of) sets and props that are threadbare and not too impressive the way they are changed.The costumes however, make up for that deficiency. I am also disappointed that the dances of the Odalisques save for one, that too danced by the Sultan, in the productions we know; the grand ballet waltz of the harem is totally omitted.
All in all, a very good purchase. Buy it. It is a totally new ballet with wonderfully well incorporated music
on 19 February 2014
This ballet has been re-worked with new music and choreography. The sets and lighting are exceptional although very sparse and totally different to the Russian and American Ballet Theatre productions. The dancing is, of course, amazing and the interpretation and story are portrayed in supreme style.
This coming from a staunch traditionalist, i.e. me, is quite incredible, as I do not like re-working of the classics. These do not usually work in my opinion, but this one is the exception.
If you adore classical ballet as I do, don't hesitate with this, you will love it!
on 15 February 2014
This is a new production by the French / Algerian dancer Kader Belarbi. He has completely redone this full length ballet with additional music and new choreography and it looks stunning. Despite the additions the music is still rather unmemorable but it swings along nicely and fits well with the dance. The costumes, picture quality, sound and dancing are spectacular, only the rather basic sets perhaps missing an opportunity to make this version even more exotic. This is a very enjoyable performance and the sensual and powerful dancing fits perfectly with the exotic costumes. He even includes those Turkish male trousers designed to catch the Messiah when he next arrives - born of man and not to be missed if come all-of-a-sudden! This is a great set and a wonderful credit to Toulouse. Can we have more please!