This past weekend I went to see the Boston Ballet perform Le Corsaire! My mom got us a subscription to see 3 ballets this season this being the first, Nutcracker is next, then Sleeping Beauty in the Spring. Needless to say it’s always an exciting trip and this was no different (except that I had a devastating week which ended up in a raging migraine for the entire weekend which was nonstop)! We were running a little late and barely made it to our seats for curtain thanks to Boston traffic. But I was ecstatic to see the cast list that my two favorite female principals were leads, Ashely Ellis as Medora and Dusty Button at Gulnare.
I knew the storyline was about pirates, but didn’t get a chance to read the synopsis but my first impression was that the costumes and set were just GORGEOUS! Probably the most beautiful I have ever seen! The set transported me right to Ancient Greece, and when Medora was first seen oh my did she glitter! What I would do for a costume like that!
The storyline flowed effortlessly. The short version is Medora is in love with the pirate Conrad, who comes to take her away. Meanwhile a wealthy slave trader is presenting his women, including Gulnare to the Pasha and he is in awe by her, agreeing to buy her. He then sees Medora, who is the slave traders foster daughter and wants her too, offering to pay theee times as much for her as well. The deal is made and Medora, who doesn’t want to be sold, is kidnapped by Conrad and his pirates along with treasures and the other slave maidens (except Gulnare) and wicked away to a seaside cavern.
The Coda of the ballet was the most amazing and by far my favorite part. The dancing performed was exquisite and if you haven’t seen the technical difficulty presented in the Coda, I would recommend watching it here:
Medora requests the slaves be freed, which turns the other pirates against Conrad who grants her wish. His brother turns on him and conspires with the slave trader to kidnap Medora back, after putting Conrad into a deathlike sleep, and take her to the Pasha, heartbroken.
The Pasha is angry that she is miserable and refuses to pay the promised amount and the trader runs for his life. Gulnare befriends Medora and tries to show her that the cushy palace life isn’t bad and she could be happy. But Conrad and his faithful men come to her rescue, and save the day, whisking her away on their ship and happiness.
I’d love to learn a classical variation one day, even if I never get to perform, it would be so much fun to dive into a character. Which variation would you like to learn?
See you at the barre!