Bolshoi: La Bayadere
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Ballet in three acts
Marius Petipa's seminal work La Bayadère was first performed at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St Petersburg in 1877, in a grandiose production portraying a mysterious India and the impossible love between the temple dancer Nikiya and the warrior Solor. A scene from the ballet known as The Kingdom of the Shades is one of the most celebrated in all of classical ballet, and is considered one of the first examples of abstract ballet. Although a major work in the Russian tradition, the ballet long remained unknown in the West.
A group of young warriors, led by Solor, are out hunting. Before entering the forest, Solor sends a fakir to tell the temple dancer (bayadère) Nikiya that he will meet her later that night. When Nikiya and Solor meet, they swear eternal fidelity to each other, little knowing that the High Brahmin, who is also in love with Nikiya, has overheard them and decided to take revenge. The High Brahmin rushes to reveal the secret to the Rajah, who has selected Solor as the betrothed of Gamzatti, his beloved daughter. Nikiya, unaware of the arrangement, agrees to dance at the couple's betrothal celebrations.
In an effort to have Solor killed and take Nikiya for himself, the jealous High Brahmin tells the Rajah that the warrior has already sworn his love to the temple dancer. But rather than becoming angry with Solor, the Rajah vows that Nikiya must die. Gamzatti, who has eavesdropped on this exchange, summons Nikiya to the palace in an attempt to bribe her into giving up her beloved. As their rivalry intensifies, Nikiya picks up a dagger in a fit of rage and attempts to kill Gamzatti. Nikiya is stopped at the last moment and flees in horror at what she has almost done.
This time it is Gamzatti who vows that the temple dancer must die.
Music: Ludwig Minkus
Libretto: Marius Petipa and Sergei Khudekov
Choreography: Marius Petipa
New stage version: Yuri Grigorovich
With scenes from productions by: Vakhtang Chabukiani, Nikolai Zubkovsky, Konstantin Sergeyev
Sets after sketches by the first production designers (1877), revived by: Valery Firsov, Nikolai Sharonov
Costumes after sketches by the first production designers (1877), revived by: Nikolai Sviridchikov
Supervisor of revival scenery and costumes: Valery Levental
Music director: TBC
With the Orchestra of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia
With the Bolshoi soloists and the Bolshoi Corps de Ballet