Le Corsaire – Drigo – Pas de Deux


Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire

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The so-called Le Corsaire Pas de deux performed today is actually the creation of Samuil Andrianov, who is noted for being the teacher of the young George Balanchine. In 1915, Andrianov staged his own revival of Le Corsaire with himself as Conrad and the great Tamara Karsavina as Medora, in which he replaced the Grand Pas des Éventails of Act 1, scene 2 with a pas d’action, known today as the Le Corsaire Pas de deux. The pas was originally danced by Karsavina, Andrianov and Anatoli Obukhov, who served as an additional cavalier.

After Petipa’s retirement in 1904, it became more common at the Mariinsky to set a novelty piece to a pastiche of music taken from various sources chosen by dancers and/or the choreographers. The so-called Le Corsaire Pas de deux is one such piece, as are many famous pas de deux created thereafter. None of the music used for this pas de deux is either from the full-length Le Corsaire ballet or by Adolphe Adam. The music is actually by Drigo and the Russian composer, Baron Boris Fitinhoff-Schell.

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Drigo (1846-1930) was an Italian composer and conductor best known for his contributions to ballet music in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Drigo, who was born in Padua, began his career as a violinist before becoming a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was in this job that he rose to prominence for his ballet compositions. His collaborations with renowned choreographers like as Marius Petipa resulted in some of the era’s most enduring and popular ballets, including “Le Corsaire,” “La Bayadère,” and “Harlequinade.”

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