MINKUS, L.: Bayadere (La) (La Scala, 2006)

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- (Disc 1)
La Bayadere
Ballet Company: Milan La Scala Ballet
Choreographer: Makarova, Natalia
Original Choreographer: Petipa, Marius

Magdaveya: Zeni, Mick
Solor's friend: Endicott, Matthew
The Bronze Idol: Sutera, Antonino
The High Brahmin: Hewison, Bryan
The Raja Dugmanta: Sedeno, Francisco

Corps de Ballet: Milan La Scala Ballet
Conductor: Coleman, David
Television Director: Protasoni, Tina
Lighting Designer: Read, John B.
Set/Stage Designer: Samaritani, Pierluigi
Costume Designer: Sonnabend, Yolanda

Date of Concert: 13-05-2006
Venue: Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Playing Time: 02:05:56
Catalogue Number: DVWW-BLLBSC
UPC: 824121002107

Natalia Makarova's version of La Bayadére, based on the original 1877 creation by the great master of Russian classical ballet, Marius Petipa has become the standard since the famous Kirov Company made it popular worldwide.

The plot around the dancing shades or “bayaderès“ has aroused erotic fantasies ever since Goethe paid tribute to what he imagined were Indian temple dancers with his ballad, Der Gott und die Bajadere, written in 1797. Ideas of dancing and singing beauties from the Hindu Kush have since overwhelmed European stages and influenced the perspective on Asia.

This was certainly true of Bayaderka, originally a ballet in four acts and seven tableaux with a concluding apotheosis that received its first performance at St Petersburg's Maryinsky Theatre in January 1877. The composer was Ludwig (Léon) Minkus (1826–1917) and the choreographer the then fifty-nine-year-old French ballet master, Marius Petipa, who by the late 1870s was at the very peak of his reputation as Russia's leading choreographer.

La Bayadère tells of a series of typically Romantic conflicts presented in an ancient Indian setting: love and jealousy, intrigue, murder and revenge. In the final climax, the temple dancer Nikiya and Solor, her warrior lover, are united forever in death and together they enter a paradisal world of eternal joy. The restless soul of a loving woman thus triumphs over all earthly torment and redeems her guilty lover from the ensnarement of the world. As such, the scenario is not so very different from that of Giselle.

La Bayadère's breakthrough in the West came with Nureyev’s 1963 production of the Kingdom of the Shades for the Royal Ballet in London. But it was only to be in the eighties that the complete ballet was performed in the West, now in three acts and including the original earthquake in the final scene and the finale. It was the American Ballet that led the way, and the choreographer was again Natalia Makarova, who revived this version of the work for the Royal Ballet in 1989 for the Ballet of La Scala, Milan, in 1992 and more recently for the Hamburg Ballet in 2002.

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