Music by Ludwig Minkus
La Bayadère was the first work in a series of successful reconstructions of 19th century repertory which has been – almost – completed in Munich. This splendid full-length gem of a true Russian classic by master choreographer Marius Petipa, focuses on the two characters of Nikija and Solor, caught in a complicated triangle relationship. Petipa stands for the great era of the Russian Imperial ballet at the Mariinsky Theater St. Petersburg. Most audiences today associate him with the famous and ever popular Tchaikovsky-ballets: The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake or Don Quixote with music by Ludwig Minkus.
Created in 1877, La Bayadère is a mixture of an exotic tale, a thriller and a celebration of virtuosity. At its center are the two lovers: the priestess, the Bayadère, Nikija and the soldier Solor. The latter however is promised in marriage to Gamzatti, the daughter of the Radja, whilst the Great Brahman has fallen in love with his priestess Nikija. Nikija falls victim to murder by her rival and Solor dreams himself into the 'Kingdom of Shades' in order to be reunited with his love. What follows is one of the most famous, magnificent white acts in ballet history.
The Bavarian State Ballet has worked on this version, together with the French choreographer Patrice Bart and the Japanese stage- and costume designer Tomio Mohri. The heart of the piece, the 'Kingdom of Shades' act, the betrothal celebration scene with it ceremonious line filing dance and some elaborate pantomime scenes can be seen in its original version.
The final act, lost in Russia since the beginning of the century, is part a new creation, part reconstruction.