Royal Opera House
EXOTIC DANCERS, sacred fires, a dead tiger and a drug-induced vision of myriad beautiful women… yes, Natalia Makarova’s production of La Bayadere back at the Royal Opera House. The original ballet was first performed in 1877, when there was a growing fascination with all things from India and the Far East. The choreography is a curious mix of oriental gestures — upturned hands and hand-to-head obeisance — with pure classical dance. The ballet reaches its apogee in the famous Kingdom of the Shades scene, when the warrior Solor, seeking solace in opium, sees a vision of his beloved Nikiya, multiplied again and again.
On the opening night, the Royal Ballet’s corps de ballet drew cheers for the seamless quality of their dancing. Filling the stage with arabesque after arabesque, the dancers moved in perfect unison — breathtaking.
Vadim Muntagirov as Solor and Marianela Nunez as Nikiya. first, the music, by Ludwig Minkus, may not appear oriental enough for the story, but it is so melodic and hummable that it really doesn’t matter. Natalia Makarova received her own ovation at the end, and rightly so.
A live performance will be broadcast at selected
cinemas on November 13