Boston Ballet Kicks Off Its 2016-2017 Season With The Swash-Buckling Ballet Le Corsaire

Posted October 10, 2016 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Maria Baranova and Michal Krcmar in Le Corsaire; photo by Sakari Viika, courtesy of The Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Swash-buckling action. Romantic swooning. Captive maidens and smarmy, wealthy men. A sword fight, a shipwreck. All this mayhem is the start of the 2016–2017 season of the Boston Ballet, and you’re invited.

The 53rd season kicks off at the Boston Opera House with the launch with Le Corsaire. Originally premiered in Paris in 1856 and translating to “the pirate”, this 19th century French-Russian ballet fills the stage with romance and adventure from October 27 to November 6. Because, who doesn’t have a thing for bad-boy pirates?

Owning the best-known version (read: everyone compares their version to his), Ballet Master Marius Petipa choreographed the premier in St. Petersburg in 1863 by the Imperial Ballet. This season’s audiences will enjoy Boston Ballet’s presentation of Ivan Liška’s production, which took Petipa’s approach and built upon it. The story brings three people together, as the company’s website describes –  “a lovely slave girl, a wealthy aristocrat determined to make her part of his harem, and a dashing pirate (Conrad) who’s every move is set upon saving her.” This isn’t the first time the ballet has been presented in our city. In 1997, the Boston Ballet became the first non-Russian company to perform the full-length ballet with choreography by Konstantin Sergeyev.

The rest of the Boston Ballet’s season is just as mesmerizing – a time of company firsts, classic favorite ballets, world-famous productions, and even a global premiere. “It is our goal at Boston Ballet to showcase the transformative power of art and give the audience a chance to be touched by a wide range of programming—this season will certainly do just that,” explains Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.

Of course, the holiday season on stage isn’t the same without certain expected guests, and the Boston Ballet always delivers. Once again you can say “hello” to charmers Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Uncle Drosselmeyer during Nissinen’s dazzling The Nutcracker. It returns November 25 through December 31, marking its fifth anniversary of this exciting adaptation that dazzled us with new sets and incredible costumes by Robert Perdziola back in 2011.

To continue the season, Nissinen is particularly thrilled to introduce Boston to a full-length work of William Forsythe. The Boston Ballet will be the first North American company to perform ARTIFACT, February 23 through March 5. Forsythe rarely grants permission for the entire performance, but he gave Boston Ballet the coveted go-ahead. The four-act ballet features two actors, a solo pianist, and more than 30 dancers, all pushing their physical limits to accomplish feats worthy of his notable style.

Erica Cornejo and Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa's Sleeping Beauty; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Erica Cornejo and Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

In my opinion, there can’t be a true ballet season without at least one fairytale. And the 2016-2017 schedule gives us a beautiful one at that. Audiences are awakened with the April 28 through May 25 performance of coming-of-age fairy tale The Sleeping Beauty, with choreography by Ballet Master Marius Petipa and Sir Frederick Ashton. One of Boston Ballet’s trademark works and touted as the “best version” of the classic by all who see it, Tchaikovsky’s music soars and David Walker’s splendid sets and costumes dazzle.

The Boston Ballet season will also include two mixed repertory programs with works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jirí Kylián, and Alexander Ekman, as well as a world premiere by Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo. So the excitement on the stage this year is limitless. Are you ready?

For more information and a full schedule of performances, dance over to bostonballet.org. All performances take place at the historical Boston Opera House located at 539 Washington Street in Boston.