World premiere: 23 Jan 1877 Bolshoi Theatre, St Petersburg
Premiere of this production: 23 Jan 1877
The performance has 2 intermissions
Running time: 2 hours 55 minutes
, the treasure of the Russian Classical Ballet, form the basis of the ballet repertoire of the Mariinsky Theater together with the Swan Lake
: more than a hundred years ago, they were choreographed by Marius Petipa
and are considered to be a hallmark of the Mariinsky Ballet.
Music: Ludwig Minkus
Choreography: Marius Petipa (1877)
Revised choreography: Vladimir Ponomarev and Vakhtang Chabukiani (1941)
Libretto: Marius Petipa, Sergei Khudekov
Set design: Mikhail Shishliannikov (after set designs by Adolf Kvapp, Konstantin Ivanov, Pyotr Lambin and Orest Allegri (for the Mariinsky Theatre 1900 production))
Costumes: Yevgeny Ponomarev (for the production of 1900 in the Mariinsky Theatre)
Premiere: 1877, Bolshoi Theatre, St Petersburg
Photos - © 2000-2005 Marc Haegeman. All rights reserved.
Set in the Royal India of the past, La Bayadere is a story of eternal love, mystery, fate, vengeance, and justice. The ballet relates the drama of a temple dancer (bayadиre), Nikiya, who is loved by Solor, a noble warrior. She is also loved by the High Brahmin, but does not love him in return, as she does Solor.
Outside Temple in the Sacred Forest: The High Brahmin, priests, and temple dancers are celebrating the Indian Ritual of Fire. Nikiya, the most beautiful of the bayadиres, has been chosen to be consecrated the lead temple dancer. The High Brahmin declares his love for Nikiya, but is rejected by her. Nikiya meets secretly with Solor later than evening. They dance together and swear eternal love over the Sacred Fire, but are discovered by the jealous High Brahmin, who vows to kill Solor.
A Room in the Palace: The Rajah has decided to reward Solor’s valor and decrees that the warrior will marry his daughter, Gamzatti. Gamzatti falls in love with Solor’s portrait, and when they meet, he is overwhelmed by her beauty. Even though he has sworn eternal love to Nikiya, he cannot defy the wishes of the Rajah and agrees to marry Gamzatti. The High Brahmin informs the Rajah of Nikiya and Solor’s secret love, hoping that the Rajah will do away with Solor. Instead, the Rajah decides to kill Nikiya. The conversation is overhead by Gamzatti, who summons Nikiya to her rooms and attempts to bribe Nikiya to give up Solor. Refusing, Nikiya frantically attempts to kill Gamzatti. Nikiya flees and Gamzatti swears to destroy her.
The Garden of the Palace: At the betrothal of Solor and Gamzatti, Nikiya is commanded to dance. Gamzatti presents her with a basket of flowers which Nikiya believes to be from Solor, and which conceals a deadly snake. Nikiya is bitten, and when Solor leaves with Gamzatti, she refuses the proffered antidote and dies.
The Tent of Solor: Solor, grief stricken and under the influence of opium, dreams of being reunited with Nikiya in the Kingdom of the Shades. Awakening, he realizes that he must prepare to marry Gamzatti.
The Temple: The vision of Nikiya remains with Solor as the wedding ceremony begins at the Sacred Temple. As Solor and Gamzatti say their vows and are blessed by the High Brahmin, the vengeance of the gods is unleashed, and the temple and all the celebrants are destroyed. Nikiya and Solor are once again united in eternal love.