Live Cinema Season

La Bayadère

Recorded | Ballet

Running time: The performance lasts about 2 hours 50 minutes, including two intervals

La Bayadère

Natalia Makarova's production of this 19th-century classic ballet brings an exotic world of temple dancers and noble warriors to life.

The story

Nikiya, a temple dancer, is in love with the warrior Solor. The High Brahmin also desires Nikiya, and when she rejects him, he plans to take revenge on Solor.

When the High Brahmin tells the Rajah about Solor’s secret love, the Rajah decides that Nikiya, not Solor, should be killed. Princess Gamzatti is to be married to Solor. She overhears and tries to bribe Nikiya to give up Solor, but Nikiya refuses. The Rajah and Gamzatti arrange for Nikiya to be killed by a snake bite during the engagement festivities. Despondent, Solor is filled with remorse and haunted by visions of Nikiya. He cannot complete the wedding ceremony. The gods are angered and destroy the temple with all inside it. In the afterlife, Solor and Nikiya are finally united.

Background

An iconic 19th-century Russian ballet, La Bayadère was originally performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg in 1877, and was regularly performed within the former Soviet Union throughout the 20th century. It remained unknown in the West until the Kirov Ballet toured with the Kingdom of the Shades scene in 1961. Natalia Makarova saw La Bayadère as a child in Leningrad and created this production in 1980. It was first performed by The Royal Ballet in 1989.

The Kingdom of the Shades scene in Act II is one of the ballet's highlights, in which a series of arabesques across the moonlit stage demonstrates the strength of the corps de ballet and the beauty of Marius Petipa's choreography. The ballet also contains roles of very different styles for two ballerinas in Nikiya and Gamzatti, a spectacular virtuoso solo for the Bronze Idol, and stunning pas de deux for Solor with both Nikiya and Gamzatti.

Credits

Choreography

Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa

Music

Ludwig Minkus

Orchestration

John Lanchbery

Production

Natalia Makarova

Set designer

Pier Luigi Samaritani

Costume designer

Yolanda Sonnabend

Lighting designer

John B. Read

Projection design

59 Productions

Performers

Conductor
Boris Gruzin
Nikiya
Marianela Nuñez
Solor
Vadim Muntagirov
Gamzatti
Natalia Osipova
Orchestra
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Rajah
Thomas Whitehead
Concert Master
Sergey Levitin
The High Brahmin
Gary Avis
Magdaveya
Luca Acri
Aya
Kristen McNally
Solor's Friend
Nicol Edmonds
D'jampée dancers
Pas d'action dancers
Shades
The Bronze Idol
Alexander Campbell

Cast sheets

Cast sheets are available as PDFs

News and features

To find out more visit the La Bayadère production page.