Adolphe Adam’s romantic and dramatic score for the ballet Le Corsaire was first heard in Paris in 1856. This was in fact Adam’s last ballet composition before his death, just a few months after the première.
The lavish Paris Opera production of Le Corsaire owed much to the influence of Empress Eugenie, a frequent attendee of the ballet, who ensured that no expense would be spared in any area of the production. The score for the ballet was commissioned from Adam, whose reputation as the most prominent French composer of ballet music had been cemented by the beloved Giselle.
While the ballet has since been eclipsed by the popularity of Giselle, Adam’s score garners high praise for its originality and dramatic intensity. From the fateful sword fights to the lovers’ poignant duets, the music perfectly captures the ballet’s alternating moments of drama and tenderness.
The plot follows the swashbuckling adventures of a dashing pirate, Conrad, and his feisty girlfriend Medora, in an epic ballet escapade to find happiness on the high seas. The hugely entertaining story captivated 19th century Parisian audiences and Le Corsaire secured an impressive 43 performances in 1856 alone!
English National Ballet is the only UK company to perform this classic story ballet. Our acclaimed production, staged by Anna-Marie Holmes, has enthralled audiences and received rave reviews across the world, including Paris and Tokyo, and is now available on Ballet On Demand.
Adam’s music is a superbly crafted score worthy of discovery, or rediscovery! Take a listen to the highlights from Le Corsaire performed by the English National Ballet Philharmonic and let the romantic and dramatic music transport you on a thrilling musical adventure.