Choreographed by Marius Petipa
Starring Cast to be announced in January 2013
3 hrs 30 mins with two intermissions
Marius Petipa's seminal work La Bayadere was first performed at the Imperial Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1877 in a grandiose production portraying a mysterious India and the impossible love between the sacred dancer Nikiya and the warrior Solor. A scene from the ballet, known as The Kingdom of the Shades, is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet, and is consdered to be one of the first examples of abstract ballet. Although a major work in Russian tradition, the ballet remained unknown for a long time in the West.
Young warriors led by Solor are hunting. Before entering the forest, Solor sends a fakir to tell bayadère Nikiya (a temple dancer) that he will meet her later at night. When Nikiya and Solor meet, they swear eternal fidelity to each other. They are unaware that the High Brahmin also in love with Nikiya, overhears them and decides to take revenge. He rushes to reveal this secret to the Rajah who has selected Solor to be the fiancé of Gamzatti, his beloved daughter. Nikiya, unaware of the arrangement, agrees to dance at the couple's betrothal celebrations.
The jealous High Brahmin in an effort to have Solor killed and have Nikiya for himself tells the Rajah that the warrior has already vowed love to the bayadère over. But the Rajah, rather than becoming angry with Solor, vows that Nikiya must die. Gamzatti, who has eavesdropped on this exchange, summons Nikiya to the palace in an attempt to bribe her into giving up her beloved. As their rivalry intensifies, Nikiya picks up a dagger in a fit of rage and attempts to kill Gamzatti. Nikiya is stopped at the last moment and flees in horror at what she has almost done. As did her father, Gamzatti vows that the bayadère must die
A sumptuous feast is being held on the occasion of Solor and Gamzatti's engagement. Nikiya is supposed to entertain the guests with dances. It is impossible to hide her grief while she dances and her eyes are fixed on her beloved Solor.
Following Gamzatti's plan, the fakir presents Nikiya with a basket of flowers on behalf of Solor. Suddenly, the bayadere's dance is filled with happiness. As she joyfully dances for the guests, a snake crawls out of the flower basket and bites her fatally. Nikiya realizes that the Rajah's daughter Gamzatti is to blame for her death. The High Brahmin promises to save her life if she will love him. But Nikiya is faithful to her love for Solor, and she dies. Solor leaves the feast in utter despair.
Solor is inconsolable and filled with remorse. He asks the fakir to distract him from his grieving thoughts in bringing him opium to smoke. Solor peacefully sinks into the world of dreams, fascinated by sacred dance.
Shadows appear to him out of the darkness. They are descending from mountains in a seemingly endless file. Solor sees the fair Nikiya among them and they dance a beautiful pas de deux. There is no more reality for Solor. He follows in the shadow of his beloved Nikiya.
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