After an awful flu, this ballet was my first evening out after a long while. This show is different regarding the story, the costumes, the place where the action takes place, it seems so much different than the classical European works like The Swan Lake, Giselle, and so on. Just before the ballet started, I thought about how little of the Asian culture reaches Europe.
The story takes us in two acts through British India, where Nikia (Cristina Dijmaru), baiadera – a dancer in the temple – falls in love with Solor (Bogdan Cănilă), but the fate and the Great Brahman separate them. The rajah wants to reward Solor by giving his daughter’s hand in marriage, Gamzatti (Mihaela Soare), which he accepts, thus betraying Nikia.
Baiadera was written especially for Ekaterina Vazem (1848-1937), the first ballerina of the imperial theater in St Petersburg and the professor of the famous Anna Pavlova. The music composed by Ludwig Minkus is joyful, often shaped by a harp that somehow plays, in European sound – Indian music. Marius Petipa signed the choreography of this award-winning ballet at the Bolshoi Theater in St. Petersburg on February 4, 1877. The ballet from the last act gave serious problems to the choreographer, but the simplicity of the composition won the hearts and it became his most acclaimed opera. The Pas d’Action of the second act, which is sometimes interpreted as a separate fragment, is very well known.
I liked a lot the costumes of the dancers, they were nicely adapted for the stage and ballet, reminding us about the traditional Indian clothes in vibrant colors. I hope you’ll also notice the painted body of the exceptionally played Idol. And the scenography was very suggestive, simple, but well articulated.
I’m sure this ballet will enrich your senses, by all means.
Cast: Cristina Dijmaru, Bogdan Cănilă, Alexandra Gavrilescu, Mihaela Soare, Greta Niţă, Ada Gonzalez, Oscar Ward, Stefano Nappo, Kana Yamaguchi, Margaux Chesnais, Marina Gaspar, etc.
Date of the following performances: March 9, April 21.
Photos: National Opera Bucharest.