by Art Priromprintr
July 23, 2003 -- Covent Garden, London
saw the evening performance of "Le Corsaire" on Wednesday, July
23. Unfortunately, there wasn't any real excitement coming from the stage
that night, though it may have been my perspective in the auditorium standing
at the back of the amphitheatre. From there, one looks down on the proceedings
and wonders why anyone should care what is going on at all -- the production
doesn't make much of a concerted effort to jump out and get the audience
to pay attention. Plus, the whole ballet doesn't make much sense (plotwise)
to begin with, so when it appears as though the cast is "going through
the motions," it makes for an ordeal. I've read about how ballet
in opera houses used to be almost secondary entertainment to the audience's
watching of other people in the audience -- I can see how this ballet
may have come out of that era.
As for the Jardin Anime sequence, I like much better that the ABT production turns it into a fantasy/dream sequence. It seems overblown and silly that in the Kirov production, the harem suddenly gets decked out in bright tutus and begins dancing. ABT's production also re-orchestrates much of the score, presumably to match the spirit of its production. The reorchestrations are, however, superior to the Kirov's orchestrations -- the Kirov production's music is a heavy and uninteresting accompaniment. But overall, I think the main difference between the ABT and Kirov productions is that ABT's is just more entertaining.
Perhaps I caught the Kirov on an off night, but the mime was boring, overlong and very melodramatic. ABT has fun with it. Take whichever version you like, but when it comes to "Le Corsaire," I prefer the fun of ABT's.
Edited by Jeff
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