With an army of dancers, lavish sets and costumes and high hopes, the Boston Ballet unveils a world premiere production of the classical masterpiece La Bayadère November 4-14, 2010 at The Boston Opera House this week. The production is choreographed by Florence Clerc, former étoile with Paris Opera Ballet, after Marius Petipa.
“La Bayadère is one of the most grand, exciting, and lavish story ballets of all time,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “It weaves a timeless story of love, fate, and revenge together with exquisite choreography. With gorgeous sets and new costumes, La Bayadère will come to life this week at The Boston Opera House, evoking the rich culture of India and transporting audiences.”
La Bayadère, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, is a vibrant classic and an important bridge between the romantic and classical eras of ballet. It was first performed by the Imperial Ballet at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1877. The original cast featured Imperial Ballet stars Ekaterina Vazem and Lev Ivanov. The ballet is set to music by Ludwig Minkus, one of Petipa’s chief collaborators, and is one of the most celebrated masterpieces of choreography. La Bayadère has been restaged and revived by various choreographers, most notably by Rudolph Nureyev and Natalia Makarova.
La Bayadère’s story is set in exotic India and features rich, lavish set design and production elements. The ballet is often noted as being created for Ekaterina Vazem, one of The Imperial Ballet’s most celebrated dancers. Other influences may have come in the form of touring companies of authentic Indian bayadères who visited Europe in the late 1830s. In 1961, Nureyev danced the role of Solor while on tour in Paris with The Kirov Ballet. It catapulted him into the international spotlight and influenced his decision to defect shortly after.
La Bayadère tells the story of young temple dancer, or bayadère, Nikiya, and a young warrior, Solor, who have fallen in love. The High Brahmin who is also in love with Nikiya is angered when he learns of her relationship with Solor and vows revenge. However, it is the Rajah, who selects Solor to be married to his daughter, Gamzatti, who begins to pull the young lovers apart. The High Brahmin, in an act of jealousy, tells the Rajah that Solor and Nikiya have vowed their love to one another. The Rajah decides that Nikiya must die, and Gamzatti, overhearing the conversation tries to intervene and speak with Nikiya. When a fight ensues between the two women, Gamzatti pledges to kill Nikiya as well.
The story continues at the betrothal celebrations between Gamzatti and Solor where Nikiya is asked to dance for the guests. She is given a basket of flowers which she believes are from Solor, but are from the Rajah and Gamzatti. The flowers conceal a poisonous snake which bites Nikiya. She chooses death over life without Solor. In Solor’s drug-induced grief he has a vision of Nikiya’s spirit in a scene famously known as The Kingdom of Shades. The monumental Kingdom of Shades scene is one of the finest works of academic classical ballet choreography and a cornerstone of this ballet. When Solor awakes, it is time for his wedding to Gamzatti. As the wedding begins, the Gods take revenge and destroy the temple and all the guests. Solor and Nikiya are reunited in death.
To learn more about Boston Ballet’s world premiere production of La Bayadère, visit Building La Bayadère to see rehearsal footage, costume sketches and more: http://www.bostonballet.org/building-bayadere.html
For ticket information, go to http://www.bostonballet.org/
All performances are held at The Boston Opera House.
La Bayadère – Schedule of Performances
Thursday, November 4, 7:00pm
Friday, November 5, 8:00pm
Saturday, November 6, 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, November 7, 2:00pm
Thursday, November 11, 7:00pm
Friday, November 12, 8:00pm
Saturday, November 13, 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, November 14, 2:00pm