Le Corsaire (The Pirate) Sailing into Hong Kong this November!

by Dato’ Nicholas Pinder

This November, Hong Kong Ballet presents the highly anticipated Asian première of Le Corsaire (The Pirate), choreographed by former Artistic Director of Boston Ballet Anna-Marie Holmes after Konstantin Sergeyev and Marius Petipa, with UOB as Title Sponsor. An exotic fable of a dashing pirate’s love for a beautiful harem girl, Le Corsaire features captive maidens, rich pashas, suspenseful abductions, dramatic rescues and a poisoned rose, culminating in an unexpected shipwreck that’s one of the most breathtaking spectacles in all of ballet! Based on The Corsair by Lord Byron, this exhilarating production is full of adventure, action, comedy, and romance with a famous pas de trois from its colourful cast of characters.

Le Corsaire enthralled audiences and received rave reviews when it premièred at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in 1998. Its showcase of virtuoso ballet techniques, with bravura roles for men, feisty female characters and jubilant group dances, is a standout in classical repertoire. Holmes won an Emmy Award for her staging of this production for ABT on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)’s ‘Great Performances’.

Le Corsaire ballet
Alina Cojocaru and Vadim Muntagirov in the roles of Medora and Conrad of Le Corsaire produced by the English National Ballet. Source: Wikipedia

Ballet superstars Maria Kochetkova, Principal Dancer for ABT and San Francisco Ballet, as well as Matthew Golding, former Principal Dancer of The Royal Ballet and Guest Principal Dancer of Dutch National Ballet, will grace the stage as guest principals for the performances on 3 & 4 November at 7:30pm and 4 & 5 November at 2:30pm, respectively. The Company is also honoured to have our dancers coached by Julio Bocca, Artistic Director of Ballet Nacional Sodre and former Principal Dancer of ABT.

With the exotic sets and costumes by Uruguayan designer Hugo Millán and live accompaniment by City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong performing the sweeping, romantic score under the baton of Canadian conductor Judith Yan, Le Corsaire promises to be an entertaining adventure not to be missed. Love worth having is love worth fighting for!

The production will run 3-12 Nov 2017 at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre for eight performances. Tickets are priced at $680, $480, $280 and $140, with VIP tickets at $1,000. Tickets are available at URBTIX now.

About Le Corsaire

Pirate captain Conrad and his faithful crew sail across the high seas to rescue Medora, Conrad’s love, from the slave trader Lankendem, who sells slave girls in a busy marketplace. When the Pasha, governor of the citadel, arrives, Lankendem presents the enigmatic Gulnare, and the Pasha buys her immediately. Meanwhile, Medora attempts to escape with the help of Conrad’s slave, Ali but is stopped by the Pasha. Seeing her beauty, he buys her as well. Consumed with love for her, Conrad commands Ali and the pirates to raid the village, kidnapping both Medora and Lankendem and bringing them to their secret hideaway.

Medora pleads for the slave girls’ freedom, and while Conrad agrees, Birbanto, his second-in-command rebels, causing a ferocious fight. After Conrad wins, Birbanto sprays a rose with a sleeping potion to send Conrad into a drugged sleep. He then tries to kidnap Medora, and in the confusion, Lankendem steals her back and escapes. When Conrad awakens, he vows to rescue his love again, while Birbanto feigns ignorance. At the Pasha’s palace, Lankendem returns Medora to the Pasha, who declares he will make her his most treasured wife. Conrad and his crew sneak into the palace in disguises and chase away the Pasha. When Medora exposes Birbanto as a traitor, Conrad shoots him, and Ali helps Medora, Gulnare and Conrad escape to the ship.

 Anna-Marie Holmes (after Konstantin Sergeyev and Marius Petipa)
In a version by Anna-Marie Holmes
Music: Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo, and Prince Oldenbourg
(Re-orchestrated by Kevin Galie)
Libretto: Jules-Henri de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier
(Based on The Corsair (1814) by Lord Byron)
Guest Coach: Julio Bocca
Set & Costume DesignHugo Millán
Live Accompaniment: City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
Conductor: Judith Yan

About Maria Kochetkova
Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre & San Francisco Ballet 

Born in Moscow, Russia, Maria Kochetkova trained at the Bolshoi School in Moscow and danced with The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as Principal Dancer in 2007 and becoming Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre in 2015.

Kochetkova has won many accolades, including “Ballerina of the Year” award at Positano Premia La Danza “Léonide Massine” in 2017, nominations for the UK Critics’ Circle Dance Award for Best Female Dancer in 2014 and at the Prix Benois de la Danse in 2013 and medals at Varna International Ballet Competition and Prix de Lausanne competition.

About Matthew Golding
Former Principal Dancer, The Royal Ballet
Guest Principal Dancer, Dutch National Ballet 

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Matthew Golding graduated from The Royal Ballet School with honours in 2003 and joined American Ballet Theatre before moving to Dutch National Ballet in 2009. Golding joined The Royal Ballet as Principal Dancer in 2014 and retired in 2017. He is currently a Guest Principal Dancer at Dutch National Ballet.

Golding’s awards include the Dutch Zwaan Award in 2010, the Alexandra Radius Prize in 2011 and nominations for the Prix Benois de la Danse in 2012 and 2013. He also won the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition and the Prix de Lausanne in 2002.

Performance Details

3-5 & 10-12.11.2017
Fri 7:30pm | Sat 2:30pm & 7:30pm | Sun 2:30pm
8 performances
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
$1,000 (Limited VIP Tickets)
$680 $480 $280 $140 | * $340 $240 $140 $70
* Available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above and people with disabilities

Guest Appearances

Maria Kochetkova 3 & 4.11.2017 7:30pm
Matthew Golding 4 & 5.11.2017 2:30pm

Tickets available at URBTIX now
Ticketing Enquiries: 3761 6661
Credit Card Booking: 2111 5999
Internet Booking: www.urbtix.hk
Programme Enquiries: 2105 9724

Suitable for ages 3 and above
The presenter reserves the right to alter the programme and artists
The performance lasts approximately 2 hours 15 minutes, including two intermissions.

Date: 24.10.2017 (Tue)
Time: 7:30pm – 8:45pm
Venue: GR3, 8/F, Grand Theatre Backstage, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Free admission
Conducted in English
Suitable for ages 6 and above
Limited capacity, advance registration required
Registration Details: hkballet.com/preview

Pre-performance Talks

Gain valuable insight into the exotic pirate fable Le Corsaire from the talented team working behind the scenes to bring this production to life! These interesting and informative talks feature artists and the members of the Company in conversation about the production. Whether you’re new to ballet or simply interested in hearing how music and movement come together, don’t miss out on this fascinating talk before the show to delve deeper into your theatre experience!

4.11.2017 (Sat)
1:50pm – 2:10pm [Conducted in Cantonese]
6:50pm – 7:10pm [Conducted in English]
Level 2 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
The programme is approximately 20 minutes long.
Free admission with Le Corsaire tickets.

Pre-performance Workshop

Children ages 4-11 will love this hands-on introduction to Le Corsaire through crafts, acting, story-telling, costume display and learning some of the ballet movements from the production! Discover up close the intricate details of the main characters’ shimmering costumes, and examine the props used onstage during the performance. All are welcome to this fun and educational event; no previous dance experience is necessary.

4.11.2017 (Sat)
Workshop I (ages 4-6): 10:00am – 11:00am
Workshop II (ages 7-11): 11:30am – 12:30pm
GR3, 8/F, Grand Theatre Backstage, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Fee: $90 each*
Quota: 40 each class
*10% discount for Friends of Hong Kong Ballet

Conducted in Cantonese and English
Only for Le Corsaire ticket holders or Friends of Hong Kong Ballet
Advance registration required
Registration Details: hkballet.com/workshop

Programme Plus! The Preview of Le Corsaire

Come learn more about the history, music and characters of Le Corsaire, an exotic fable of a dashing pirate’s love for a beautiful harem girl! Featuring one of the most breathtaking spectacles in all ballet, Le Corsaire is filled with technical and dramatic challenges. During the evening, you will be treated to selected excerpts from the production by Hong Kong Ballet dancers. Both informative and enjoyable, this preview is a perfect way to begin your memorable theatre experience!

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