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Le Corsaire (The Pirate)

(Adolphe Charles Adam)

This is a ballet in 3 acts written by Adolphe Charles Adam that was first performed at the Ballet of the Academie Royale de Musique in Paris on 23rd January 1856.  The libretto is based on the Lord Byron poem The Corsair, a semi-biographical tale of a pirate, and the Balletmaster Joseph Mazilier was the original choreographer.  During the 19th century the score was added to several times and by the end of that century six composers were credited for contributing to it.  These were Cesare Pugni, Prince Peter of Oldenburg, Leo Delibes, Leon Minkus, Prince Trubetskoi and Riccardo Drigo.

The ballet has been revised and is performed in two versions.  The first is performed primarily in Russia and Eastern Europe and derives from Pyotr Gusev’s revival of it, and the second is performed in North America and Western Europe and uses the Konstantin Sergeyev revival that had been originally meant for the Kirov and Bolshoi ballets.  This Adolphe Adam version is actually the second ballet of Byron’s poem, the first being written by Nicholas Bochsa in 1837 for the Drury Lane Theatre in London.  The Adolphe Adam ballet was created primarily for the Italian ballerina Carolina Rosati and commissioned for a fee of 6,000 francs.

English Chamber Orchestra Recordings
London 0289 430 286 2 (CD – Le Corsaire)
ConductorRichard Bonynge