Seeing the ballet each November has become somewhat of a tradition for my grandma and I. This year, the English National Ballet brought ‘Le Corsaire’ to the Liverpool Empire Theatre and as a ballet that had never been danced in England before 2013, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We excitedly wrapped up warm against the biting wind and made our way to the Empire for the Thursday evening showing.
Le Corsaire (meaning: The Pirate) is based on a poem by Lord Byron. Conrad’s love Medora has fallen into the hands of a slave trader Lankendem and his pirates sail towards the Ottoman Empire to free her. But despite managing to free her in the Act I, treachery and mutiny lead to a back and forth of kidnappings. It combines the romance of ballet with swashbuckling action and touches of humor to become a ballet unlike any others I have seen.
While all the artists danced wonderfully with barely a step out of place, special mentions have to go to Osiel Gouneo, the Cuban guest artist making his debut in the role of Conrad and Erina Takahashi as Medora. Michael Coleman’s Pasha made me giggle a number of times too!
From the hustle and bustle of the bazaar to the tranquility of Pasha’s dreamland, the sets were stunning with such attention to detail making each scene feel special. When looking at the programme beforehand, the costumes were the first thing that caught my eye and they didn’t disappoint. In the opening scenes, the sparkling golds veils of Pasha’s group are almost too beautiful to look at and I found myself longing for one a bejeweled tutu.
Ballet is something that I will always love and while Swan Lake holds a special place in my heart, I was really impressed by Le Corsaire. For a truly spectacular experience, I’d highly recommend an evening out at the ballet: Le Corsaire is running at the London Coliseum between 13th and 24th January.
Have you ever been to the ballet? Which is your favourite?
Images: Photography by ASH