Ballet in two acts and six scenes

Choreography Marius Petipa / Patrice Bart · Composer Ludwig Minkus

Thursday, 05. January 2006
07:30 pm – 10:05 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 35 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 07:30 pm - 08:40 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:40 pm - 09:10 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 09:10 pm - 10:05 pm )

To List of Performances


Marius Petipa
Patrice Bart
Bühne und Kostüme
Tomio Mohri
Maurizio Montobbio
Musikalische Einrichtung
Maria Babanina
Wolfgang Oberender

  • Soloists and corps de ballet of the Bavarian State Ballet
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
To List of Performances


To List of Performances

Learn more

La Bayadère was the first work in a series of successful reconstructions of 19th century repertory which has been completed with Paquita in December 2014. 

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.


read more

Act I

Scene One: In front of the temple
The Great Brahmin, his priests and the temple dancers, called Bayadères, assemble for the festivities of the Holy Fire. The last to appear is Nikiya, the noblest and holiest of the Bayadères. The Great Brahmin vows Love to her, but she refuses him. Solor, a rich and noble warrior of royal caste, is on his way to a hunt. While he sends on his friends he secretly awaits Nikiya. Solor and Nikiya confess their love. The Bayadère demands of him his vow of fidelity. The Great Brahmin who has witnessed the meeting of the lovers desperately swears revenge.

Scene Two: In the palace of the Rajah
The Rajah announces to his daughter Gamzatti that her wedding with Solor, to whom she has been betrothed since childhood, will soon take place. She is enchanted by Solor, but does not understand why he behave in such a restrained way towards her. After a few dancers presented some entertainment the Great Brahmin appears to confess a secret to the Rajah. He tells him of the forbidden love between Nikiya and Solor, hoping that the Rajah might dispose of Solor. Instead, to the dismay of the Great Brahmin, the Rajah in blind fury orders Nikiya`s death. Gamzatti has overheard the conversation and sends her servant Aiya to call the Bayadère. She asks Nikiya to abandon Solor, offers her jewels as a reward. Nikiya refuses and in her despair attacks Gamzatti with a dagger. Aiya stops her, she can escape, Gamzatti swears her death.

Scene Three: In the garden of the palace
The engagement festivities of Solor and Ganzatti. A grand procession opens the festivities during which Solor presents a tiger as bag. The Great Brahmin brings Nikiya as a temple dancer in honour of the ceremony. Nikiya is given a basket with flowers by Aiya, which she takes to be a secret sign of love by Solor. However, it is by the rajah and his daughter who had a snake hidden in it. When Nikiya continues to dance, embracing the small basket, the viper attacks her with a deadly bite. The Great Brahmin offers Nikiya an antidote if only she would accept his love. She refuses it and dies, urging Solor never to forget his vow of love.

Act II

Scene Four: The Kingdom of Shades

Solar, haunted by reminiscences of Nikiya, seeks oblivion in opium. He finds himself in the Kingdom of Shades, united with Nikiya who introduces him to the world of shades and reminds him of his vow of eternal fidelity. On awakening he sees his friends and the Rajah who wants to accompany him to his wedding.

Scene Five: In the temple
A ritual procession unites Gamzatti and Solor for their wedding ceremony. The dance of the lotus flowers with Solor`s friends and the dance of the Golden Idol are symbols of the good wishes for beauty and riches to the couple. In the ensuing dance of Solor with Gamzatti Nikiya shade takes part, visible only for Solor. Solor decides in favour of life, of Gamzatti. In the moment of the wedding oath to which the couple is summoned by the Great Brahmin there happens a earthquake. The temple falls in ruins and everybody is buried under them.

Scene Six: Apotheosis
In the world hereafter we see Solor, Nikiya and Gamzatti united in the picture of eternal light.

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.

To List of Performances


11. März 1818 – 14. Juli 1910

Der Name des vielleicht bedeutendsten Choreographen des 19. Jahrhunderts scheint so eng mit der russischen Tradition verbunden, dass man seine französische Nationalität darüber fast vergisst.

Marius Petipa wurde in Marseille geboren. Sein Vater und seine Brüder waren Tänzer. Vom Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brüssel bis nach Bordeaux, und dann in Nantes arbeitet Marius Petipa als Tänzer und Choreograph. Nach einem wenig glücklichen Versuch in New York (1839), einem Aufenthalt in Paris, wo er mit Auguste Vestris arbeitet, und in Spanien (1845), wird er 1847 in St. Petersburg als Erster Solist engagiert, beweist sich jedoch mit der Einstudierung von Joseph Maziliiers Paquita als Ballettmeister. 1850 assistiert er Jules Perrot bei Giselle und bringt 1858 sein erstes eigenes Ballett in Russland heraus: Un mariage sous la Régence. 1862 wird er zweiter Ballettmeister, tritt 1869 offiziell die Nachfolge von Arthur Saint-Léon als erster Ballettmeister an und arbeitet weiterhin als Choreograph. Er wird sich einen Namen machen als Schöpfer großer spektakulärer Ballette, mit denen es ihm gelingt, die aus Frankreich kommende Reinheit des klassischen Tanzes mit der italienischen Virtuosität zu verbinden: Eine akademische Form des Tanzes, die in der Einbeziehung von Charaktertänzen auch Volkstanztraditionen aufnimmt.

Petipas russisches Œuvre umfaßt nicht weniger als 50 Ballette, darunter La Fille du Pharaon (1856), La Belle du Libanon (1863), La Floride (1866), Le Roi Candaule (1868), Don Quijote (1869), Camargo (1872), Le Papillon (1874), Les Bandits (1875), La Bayadère (1877), Roxane und La belle Albanaise (1878), La Fille des Neiges und Madla (1879), Les Pilules magiques und L'Offrande à l'Amour (1886), Dornröschen (1890), Der Nusknacker (1892), Aschenputtel (1893), Schwanensee (zusammen mit Lev Ivanov, 1895), Raymonda (1898), Les Ruses d'Amour (mit Alexander Glasunow als Komponist, 1899) Les Saisons (mit Glasunow, 1900), und sein letztes Ballett Der Magische Spiegel (1903). Alternd und krank wollte der Meister seinen Lebensabend in milderem Klima verbringen und verließ 1907 St. Petersburg, um sich am Schwarzen Meer niederzulassen. Im Alter von 92 Jahren verstarb er in Gurzuf auf der Krim.

read more

To List of Performances


To List of Performances