A red carpet occasion to celebrate ENB’s 70th Anniversary and a host of stars on stage and in the audience. From my seat I was in touching distance of Darcey Bussell, Fiona Bruce, Sir Ian McKellen, Bruno Tonioli and Bill Nighy to name a few. On stage we were treated to a cornucopia of delights; stunning sets taking us into the luxurious and cruel world of the Ottoman Empire, sparkling costumes of red and gold, painted backdrops in the style of Delacroix and Hiroshige gorgeous music (Adolph Adam, Giselle) and dancing from some of the best in the business. A real treat.
Based on Lord Byron’s poem of 1814, Le Corsaire (The Pirate) is a cross between Aladdin, The King and I and the Pirates of the Caribbean. With parts for four leading male dancers and a male troop of pirates and palace security guards (with plenty of swords, daggers and whips) Le Corsaire is the perfect ballet to get boys excited about Ballet. As a father of three sons I know how challenging it can be to get boys to even consider ballet.
As a role model for boys and ballet Francesco Gabriele Frola who dances the romantic lead Conrad is a dream. He has it all, looks, grace, power, athleticism and technique. Like all great artists he makes it look so effortless. He has a wonderful dance sequence with Medora (Erina Takahashi) which felt like the ‘anything you can do I can do better’ scene in Annie Get Your Gun, except it was jumps, turns and postures being traded for one-up personship not rifle shots. Erina’s countless turns on pointe are miraculous and gravity defying. The holds Gabriele and Erina execute are truly breathtaking, her back arching almost to breaking point.
The other outstanding moment that deserves a mention is The Dream Sequence in the fantasy garden. Here the corps de ballet hold hoops decorated with flowers through which Medora tip-toes on pointe without respite. The corps de ballet weave in and out making exquisite patterns that charm, delight and soothe. It’s like a wonderful hot bath on a cold day.
Review by John O’Brien
Travel to a faraway land for the adventures of a dashing pirate, Conrad, and his feisty girlfriend Medora. Will they outfox villainous schemers and find happiness on the high seas?
English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire is ‘hugely enjoyable entertainment’ (The Daily Telegraph). Expect a swashbuckling romp, full of thrilling dancing by an extraordinary cast of performers, with gorgeous decors and costumes created by Hollywood’s Bob Ringwood, all set to a romantic score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
English National Ballet is the only UK company to perform this classic story ballet. Their extravagant production, staged by Anna-Marie Holmes, has enthralled audiences and received rave reviews worldwide, including Paris and Tokyo. It returns to the London Coliseum following glorious performances in 2016.
English National Ballet
The swashbuckling ballet classic
9 Jan – 14 Jan 2020