It is one of the greatest ballets of the repertoire. Its choreography gathers a huge amount of dancers, including at least five highly virtuoso soloists. Premiered in 1877 at the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, La Bayadère was choreographed by Marius Petipa on a score by Leon Minkus. It was revised a few times – by Petipa himself, and then by other choreographers. A milestone of the Russian repertoire, the ballet stayed unknown in Western countries – until Rudolf Nureev created his 1992 choreography for the Paris Opera House. medici.tv now broadcasts this new scenic version by Yuri Grigorovich.
The story of La Bayadère is made up of tragic elements. In India, Solor (Vladislav Lantratov) and Nikiya (Svetlana Zakharova), the temple maiden, love each other purely. But their feelings are thwarted by the High Brahmin (Andrey Sitnikov), in love with Nikiya, and the daughter of the rajah (Alexey Loparevich) Gamzatti (Maria Alexandrova), consumed with love for Solor. Because of these very complicated relationships between the four people, La Bayadère becomes the settings for such various feelings as love, scorn, jealousy, treason and hatred. With a rare violence, the choreographer lets his persecuted bayadère die on stage, a victim of her powerful enemies, who was too noble to take advantage of the circumstances. Solor and Nikiya only meet at The Kingdom of the Shades, in an opiated vision of Solor. According to tales and legends, this is where lovers reconcile among the supreme opulence and order of the shades of other bayadères. Thus, the third act is a majestic white act in which love triumphs over vile feelings in an immaculate dream, as opposed to the gold and the shimmering colors of the two other acts.
Photo: Damir Yusupov
Rudolf Nureyev – Agnès Letestu (Odette), José Martinez (Siegfried) – Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
Alexei Ratmansky – Corps de Ballet of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia
Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasiliev… – Ballet du Bolshoï