Saturday, June 8, 2013

Late Model Corsaire

The Corsaire. Photo: Gene Schiavone
Check out this photo of the new pseudonymous ship in ABT's new production of Le Corsaire. Quite a bit more impressive and true to scale than the old version, which looked more like a toy boat than a pirate ship.

Some other notes about the new production which premiered in 2011 at Teatro Colon, Argentina, staged by Anna-Marie Holmes (as was the company's previous version).

  • Sets by Christian Prego make good use of the capaciousness of the Met. In the bazaar, rugs and rickety wooden bridges hang overhead. The grotto scene is from a viewpoint inside the cave looking at the corsaire on the ocean. And the huge room where the final scenes take place is decorated with huge hanging lanterns. 
  • The palette has shifted from pastels toward darker gemstone and metallic hues. Gone are the famous turquoise harem pants for Ali, now purple, which I have to admit is a bit disorienting. Medora's tutu is gold, her casual gown pale blue and beaded. Conrad still basically wears all white, for how else would we know he's the big guy?
  • The dream sequence, an endless set of variations by women and children bearing floral props, is slightly less cloying, color-wise. And Medora now simply steps into the middle of a floral hoop, rather than having to open a gate of a strange knee-high pen. It's still fairly interminable, coming just before the finale.
  • This production is not a revolutionary departure from ABT's prior production, but its more tasteful palette and new sets are a welcome change.
Cast notes:
  • Herman Cornejo, now 32, has developed into a very good romantic lead. He's always exuded an inner complexity and sensuality to add to his great naturalistic bravura technique. His arcing leaps and on-point turns appear effortless. But in this age of a so-called "arms race" in ballet (or more accurately, arms and legs race), his highest leaps look merely very good. 
  • Ivan Vasiliev danced Ali with the effortful humility required of a principal male at the top of his form wearing sparkly purple harem pants and a feathered headband. (He and Cornejo exchanged roles in another cast.)
  • Daniil Simkin is maturing in good ways, filling out and shedding some of his puppiness for yet more confidence. 
  • Both he and Vasiliev possess the kind of ballon that arrests movements at their apex. Simkin floats, Vasiliev gets a puff of energy and is more human about descending, but all this extra air time lets them both do one extra, gasp-inducing move per jump.
  • Xiomara Reyes' gifts include lightness, quickness, and a sweet expression. 
  • It would be interesting to see Sarah Lane, who danced Gulnare exquisitely, in the lead role; unfortunately I thought this many times during the ballet
  • Arron Scott danced Birbanto with thrilling verve and precision

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