At the Ballet! | Le Corsaire 

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!

Alicia

At the Ballet! Boston Ballet’s “Onegin”

I haven’t been feeling well the past few weeks, and have been working longer hours making it difficult to get to ballet class lately. I have however, been doing lots of yoga and short barre classes at home via Kathryn Morgan’s amazing videos. My birthday was last weekend, and I thought on a wim I would ask my mom if she wanted to go see Onegin with me in Boston, and she said yes! Today was that day. I’ve been watching the haunting promo videos for weeks and couldn’t wait to see the performance. After reading the synopsis and watching the videos I felt a sudden connection to the characters, because the story is extremely relatable to me.

The story, in short, is about Tatiana who meets and falls in love with Onegin. After professing her love to him via a letter she writes when she can not sleep because he fills her mind, he rejects her and tears her letter up in front of her, sending her into tears and sadness. He then flirts with her younger sister, Olga, who is engaged to Lensky, Onegin’s friend. Lensky is very upset by this and challenges Onegin to a duel, where he is then killed causing Olga’s heartbreak. Onegin is ashamed and disappears, only to reappear later at a ball where Tatiana is now happily in love and engaged to Prince Gremin. Seeing Onegin sparks memories of her lost love, she avoids him, but then the connect and he realized how wrong he has been, and he truly loves her. She still loves him but tries to push him away to be true to her fiancee. Their romantic struggle is interpreted through a haunting pas de deux and struggle within her heart. The ballet ends without conclusion, but I felt she succumbed to him, her true love.

Cast, Saturday Matinee:

Onegin: Eris Nezha

Lensky: Alexander Maryianowski

Tatiana: Misa Kuranaga

Olga: Diana Albrecht

Prince Gremin: Paul Craig

This was also my first trip to the Boston Opera House, as other ballet’s I have seen have all been smaller productions at more local theaters. My mom’s gps unfortunately chose a Washington Street in a very scary area to gps us to, so we arrived minutes before the show started at our seats. The Boston Opera house is magnificent! From the gilded dome upon entry to the stunning chandeliers, this is definitely been the most beautiful theater I’ve ever been in! I could only imagine dancing on a stage like this. The only bad thing about the day honestly was the two people in front of us were rather large and took up more than their two seats, and the woman directly in front of me was large, tall, and wore a giant bun on top of her head. Theater etiquette people, DON’T WEAR YOUR HAIR SO BIG! There are people behind you that would like to see the show as well! I was lucky to be on an isle seat, so I leaned out that way to get a good view. Also, seeing as many attendees were probably dancers, the snack bar could have had some apples or healthy snacks, anything to eat was just candy and junk. (I had a glass of wine though, don’t judge!)

In Act I the music is light and cheery along with the dancing. The girls are gossiping and imagining their future weddings. Parties and celebrations are being planned for Olga and Lensky who perform a beautiful light hearted pas de deux, showing how much they are in love with each other. You can really feel the emotions from the characters, not only are they dancers, but superb actors as well. Onegin is introduced to Tatiana, and out of courtesy invites her to walk with him. Onegin seems to be a haunted character already. The Mr. Darcy type, or just seemingly uninterested in Tatiana’s affections. They share a beautiful pas de deux in the garden which closes the act. The strength of the dancers is incredible as the pas is full of sky high lifts and held balances. There was one scene during the party where the core de ballet performed continuous jete’s across the stage in ¬†both directions, only holding the hand of her parter, it was magnificent!I was the beginning of Tatiana’s torment. She writes Onegin a letter in the middle of the night amidst not being able to sleep, confessing her love to him. Later on she sees him at a party and he tries to give it back to her but she insists he read it. He tears up the letter and rejects her, causing her heart to break. To spite her, he flirts with Olga, which angers Lensky into challenging Onegin to a duel which he looses and Lensky dies. Onegin regrets everything and dissapears, leaving both girls heartbroken.

In Act III Tatiana has blossomed into a beautiful young woman and is engaged to Prince Gremin. She is happy and content, and there is a ball celebrating them. Onegin attends and when he and Tatiana’s eyes lock there is clearly some tension and unfinished business. They meet and dance, she tries to keep away and stay faithful to her prince but he realizes how wrong he has been and begs for her forgiveness. She still has feelings for him, and he for her, developing a love triangle. Her heart and soul are torn in agony. Kuranaga is not only a beautiful dancer but a phenomenal actress, conveying the perfect dramatic intensity that pulls at your heartstrings and brings tears to the eyes. The finale is inconclusive, where Tatiana is heartbroken and torn, and the ballet ends with her about to go mad from it. I loved that, that last few minutes of the ballet with the music, the dancing and her rushing to the edge of the stage bringing her hands to her face in angst will replay in my head for years. The cast deserved the standing ovation! Bravo Boston Ballet!