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Genevieve PM Roy
La BayadèreFrom February 20th to the 22nd, La Bayadère - an epic classical ballet that tells the tragic tale of Nikiya the bayadere, or temple dancer was presented for the first time in Montreal in its full-length version by the Kiev Ballet.
From February 20th to the 22nd, La Bayadère - an epic classical ballet that tells the tragic tale of Nikiya the bayadere, or temple dancer was presented for the first time in Montreal in its full-length version by the Kiev Ballet.
Complete with grand choreography, colorful exotic sets and a costume line so flamboyant that it would make any rival production slightly jealous; this completely mesmerizing performance took Montreal’s Salle Wilfrid Pelletier by storm with almost all of the hall’s 2982 seats filled to capacity.
In Petipa’s La Bayadère, Nikiya and the warrior Solor have made an oath of eternal love over the sacred fire. However their happiness is short lived when the jealous High Brahmin goes to the Rajah Dugmanta and informs him of the couple’s oath. The Rajah proclaims that Nikiya must die as he has already selected Solor to be the fiancé of his daughter Gamzatti.
Nikiya, unaware of the arrangement, agrees to dance at the future royal couple's betrothal celebrations. Gamzatti attempts to bribe the bayadère into giving up Solor, but a fight ensues and Nikiya almost plunges a dagger into Gamzatti’s heart. Mortified by her actions, she flees and the princess vows revenge.
At the betrothal celebration Nikiya performs a solemn dance. She is given a basket from the Rajah and Gamzatti in which is concealed a venomous snake that attacks her. The Dying Nikiya refuses an antidote from the High Brahmin as she refuses life without Solor.
In the next scene, the ballet notably boasts one of the most celebrated and most enduring sequences in all of classical ballet repertoire: Known as The Kingdom of the Shades, the excerpt initially made famous by Rudolf Nureyev in Paris, is mesmerizing and dream-like with 32 ballerinas gracefully descending a ramp. This lovely sequence for the corps de ballet, which reflects Solor’s opium - fuelled hallucination of Nikiya demands absolute synchronization and is an ultimate test for the dancers.
In the Shades sequence, the lovers reconcile in the form of a charming pas de deux. When Solor awakes, preparations are underway for his wedding to Gamzatti at the temple.
During the ceremony, the shade of Nikiya haunts Solor during his dance with Gamzatti. The moment the High Brahmin joins the couple in marriage, Nikiya’s murder is avenged by the Gods who subsequently destroys the temple and all its occupants.
In the final act, the shades of both Nikiya and Solor are reunited and spirited away.
The Kiev Ballet’s production of La Bayadère was spectacular and exuberant in that it offered several expositional roles for company stars and soloists such as Natalia Matsak; one of the top stars of the Ukrainian ballet scene as well as one of the two principal dancers who performed the demanding role of Nikiya.
With large detailed back decors, enchanting music, exotic costumes and skilled dancers, the Montreal premiere of La Bayadère by the Kiev Ballet was a memorable performance.
The Bayadère ran from February 20th to the 22nd in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of La Place des Arts.
For information regarding prices, categories and ticket availability for up-coming shows at Les Grands Ballets such as RODIN & CLAUDEL in March and MARIE- ANTOINETTE in April, please visit:
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens