Opéra Bastille - from 17 November to 31 December 2015
2h50 with 2 intervals
In few words:
"The way to bring an old choreography to life is to rediscover a motivation for each movement; without that, there can be no truth."
- Rudolf Noureev
Rudolf Nureyev’s last ballet, La Bayadère is a magnificent oriental dream and the choreographic testament of an impassioned dancer. Although a masterpiece of the Russian repertoire, the ballet had never been presented in its entirety in France before its Paris Opera debut in 1992. The thwarted loves of the Hindu dancer Nikia and the noble warrior Solor, choreographed by Marius Petipa to music by Ludwig Minkus, were first revealed to European audiences in 1961 during a tour by the Kirov Ballet – the very tour during which Nureyev would exile himself for ever from his native land...
Until then, only the Kingdom of the Shades – an excerpt from Act III, considered to be one of ballet's crowning glories – had been performed on this side of the Iron Curtain.
Passed on by generations of dancers, La Bayadère underwent numerous adaptations before finally evolving into the work we know today. Drawing his inspiration from the version he himself had danced, Nureyev restructured the ballet to offer a performance in his own image: a brilliant and dazzling show of virtuosity enhanced by Ezio Frigerio’s lavish sets and Franca Squarciapino’s shimmering costumes, themselves inspired by visions of ancient Persia and an imaginary India. Always a resounding success at the Paris Opera, La Bayadère remains a feast for the eyes with its bravura pieces and its magnificent group movements.