Premier shows of Adolf Adan’s ballet “The Corsair” will begin at the Voronezh Opera and Ballet Theater on Friday, January 26. The choreographer of the performance is Honored Artist of Russia Yuri Burlaka. Yuri Burlaka and the Voronezh ballet troupe were engaged in the production of “The Corsair” on the Voronezh stage for almost a year.

Adolf Adan’s ballet is one of the pearls of the classical ballet repertoire, which Voronezh Opera and Ballet Theatre obviously lacked. Recognized masterpieces of world ballet art, such as “Swan Lake,” “Don Quixote,” and “Giselle” are on the local stage, but the theater management has been repeatedly saying that the repertoire seems to be incomplete without “The Corsair” and “Sleeping Beauty”. The annual festival “Voronezh Stars of the World Ballet” has contributed to the promotion of this idea – famous dancers who came from capitals complained that the choice of classical ballets in the theater is not as great as they would like.


Famous master, choreographer-restorer Yuri Burlaku, who has become famous for his stages at the Bolshoi Theater in the spirit of “historical reconstructions” was specially invited to stage “The Corsair” in Voronezh, at the suggestion of Chief Choreographer of the theater, Alexander Lityagin. In particular, Yuri Burlaka staged “The Corsair” at the Bolshoi Theatre in 2007. However, the Voronezh production is not a transfer of the play, but a full-fledged new ballet, different from the one staged in the capital not only by the artists and the approach to choreography, but also by music. Restoring the choreographic techniques of the legendary Marius Petipa, Yuri Burlaka added his author’s elements to the ballet.


- I am a choreographer-restorer, but, unfortunately, it’s simply impossible to completely restore Petip’s choreography that existed in the 1890s as there were no movies, no photos, the recording methods were completely different, so some lacunas remained. My task was to fill these lacunas in such a way that neither viewers nor researchers nor the artists themselves noticed them, to bring the ballet closer to what it was in the very first productions, Yuri Burlaka said.

Another interesting feature of the Voronezh “Corsair” was that the director added in the musical fabric of the performance a few fragments of the previously considered lost score of Adan’s ballet “Ghent Beauty,” restored by Burlaka according to the archival materials of the National Library of France.


- “The Corsair” ballet score is rich, large-scale. We and the Bolshoi Theater are now the exclusive owners of the musical material on the basis of which the ballet is staged. Adan’s music is very difficult from the technical point of view, the orchestra needed a lot of time and effort to master it. The idea to introduce fragments of other works into the score of “The Corsair” belonged to Yuri Burlaka. In general, the tradition of adding other musical numbers has lived in ballets since the 19th century. There are 16 well-known editions of “Giselle,” and there are no two identical versions of “Paquita” ballet in the world. Inserting numbers from other works and even by other composers into one or another ballet is normal and, as a rule, organically intertwined in the common outline, because the tradition is long-lasting and long-approved, conductor and director of “The Corsair,” the Artistic Director of the theater Andrey Ogievsky told.


The Artictic Director of the Opera and Ballet Theatre stressed that “The Corsair” is a monumental production, which required the efforts of all the workshops of the theater. The whole ballet troupe of the theater, students of the Voronezh Art School and children engaged in ballet schools, as well as choir artists and supernumeraries took part in the performance. Not only the supernumeraries, but also the “shadow” workers of the theater – the employees of the sewing and furniture shops, the props, the administrators will go on the stage. That’s because the performance is very “densely populated,” and the scenes, for example, in the eastern bazaar, required a lot of people.


However, the same workers had to work hard doing their main job – almost 200 stage outfits were sewed for “The Corsair.” The scenery was also great. Artist Valery Kochiashvili created complex multi-layer structures of light fabric, which, together with the illuminator’s work, turn the stage into a dark cave, a city square, and into a riotous sea.

According to Yuri Burlaka, “The Corsair” should gain a great audience interest. The Adan’s ballet is a real blockbuster with pirate adventures, a fiery love line and spectacular shipwreck – quite in the spirit of modernity, the choreographer believes.


- Thanks to its plot and dynamically changing scenes “The Corsair” has become so popular, and interest in it has not subsided since the XIX century. Of course, the plot already has little to do with the work of Byron, on the grounds of which it was originally created. But nevertheless, due to its dynamics, nonclassical emotional characters, the ballet is relevant for today’s viewers, Yuri Burlaka said.

The director said it was interesting and easy to work with Voronezh artists, who quickly joined the process of learning the new material.


Yuri Burlaka

- I worked in Voronezh for the first time. Despite the fact that this theater is not a metropolitan theater, the quality of the local troupe is very high. I really wanted the big ballet, which was born long ago on the stage of the Mariinsky Theater, did not look provincial. It can be made provincial by any troupe that does not understand the main things – taste, the right acting of the old pantomime, training and school. I was very pleased that I saw all this here. The troupe once again proved the viability of the Voronezh school. It’s always felt if artists are interested in working, and this performance was created in the atmosphere of friendship, in close cooperation and full mutual understanding, Yuri Burlaka said.

The premier shows of the three-act ballet “The Corsair” will be held at the Opera and Ballet Theater on January 26, 27 and 28, as well as on February 14. The total duration of the performance is 2 hours and 40 minutes. 6+