La Bayadère by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa, music by Léon Minkus

Marianela Nuñez (Nikiya), Vadim Muntagirov (Solor), Natalia Osipova (Gamzatti), Gary Avis (the High Brahmin), Thomas Whitehead (Rajah) — Royal Ballet

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Natalia Makarova — Choreographer

Pier Luigi Samaritani — Set designer

Yolanda Sonnabend — Costumes

John B. Read — Lighting designer

Olga Evreinoff — Stage director

Marianela Núñez — Nikiya

Vadim Muntagirov — Solor

Natalia Osipova — Gamzatti

Gary Avis — High Brahmin

Thomas Whitehead — Rajah

Luca Acri — Magdaveya

Kristen McNally — Aya

Nicol Edmonds — Solor's friend

The Royal Ballet

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Program notes

A tale of doomed love between bayadère (temple dancer) Nikiya and warrior Solor, La Bayadère is one of the pillars of the ballet repertoire, sparkling with spectacular ensemble pieces and breathtaking solos. The exquisite Royal Ballet dancers, outfitted in opulent costumes by Yolanda Sonnabend amid Pier Luigi Samaritani's immersive sets, are led here by the magnificent Marianela Núñez and Vadim Muntagirov as Nikiya and Solor—with Natalia Osipova as the Rajah's daughter Gamzatti, Solor's betrothed, who conspires to eliminate her rival and pays a heavy price for her misdeeds...

An iconic 19th-century Russian ballet, La Bayadère was originally performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1877, and regularly seen by Soviet audiences throughout the 20th century. It remained largely unknown in the West, however, until the Kirov Ballet made the astonishingly beautiful "Kingdom of the Shades" scene part of their 1961 tour. The great Natalia Makarova saw La Bayadère as a child in Leningrad and created this legendary production in 1980, first performed by the Royal Ballet in 1989.

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