Nov 18 2010
La Bayadère is my new favorite ballet. I saw it this past weekend at the Boston Opera House and absolutely LOVED it! La Bayadère was first performed in 1877 by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Choreographed by Marius Petipa and composed by Ludwig Minkus, La Bayadère is a romantic ballet set in ancient India.
The first act begins with temple dancers, Bayadères, celebrating the Indian Ritual of Fire. During this ceremony, the High Brahmin declares his love for the most beautiful Bayadère, Nikiya. But Nikiya rejects him and instead meets secretly with Solor. They dance and swear eternal love over the Sacred Fire. The High Brahmin sees them together and in an act of jealousy, he vows to take revenge on Solor.
When the Rajah’s daughter Gamzatti and Solor are betrothed, the High Brahmin sees his opportunity and informs the Rajah of Nikiya, hoping that Solor will be punished. But the Rajah instead plans to kill Nikiya. In the second act, Nikiya is commanded to dance at Gamzatti and Solor’s wedding ceremony. She receives a basket from Gamzatti’s maid Aiya, with what Nikiya believes are flowers from Solor. While dancing, a poisonous snake that is hidden in the basket bites and kills her.
In the third act, Solor is destroyed by grief. He falls asleep and dreams of Nikiya. This dream is one of the most classic ballet scenes. The Indian jungle at dusk provides the background. Bluish lighting gives the stage a surreal effect. The music is soft. Ballerinas in white, gauzy tutus slowly descend on platforms. Nikiya forgives Solor, and they dance. When Nikiya leaves, Solor follows her to the Kingdom of Shades where they are reunited forever.
La Bayadère is no longer showing at the Boston Opera House, as this was the last weekend. But there are lots of other exciting options for the Boston Ballet 2010 – 2011 season. I recommend The Nutcracker. I see it almost every year, and it never loses its magic for me. Plus, you always get to see lots of cute little girls in poofy, pink dresses at intermission.
The American Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is opening November 20th. But it was open to members this same weekend, so after La Bayadère, it seemed appropriate to complete my day of theater and art at the MFA. There are four levels in the new wing, each dedicated to a different era of North, Central, and South American art. The lower level showcases ancient American, Native American, maritime, and very early colonial art. Level one features 18th century art of the Colonial Americas, and the next level focuses on 19th and early 20th century art. The upper level concludes with 20th century art through the mid-1970s.
The new wing exhibits ancient Colombian goldwork, Andean textiles, original colonial fashion and furniture, famous portraits of George Washington, Hassam’s Boston, American artists abroad, and a smattering of modern art. There is history, anthropology, art, and fashion. All together, the display provides a beautiful glimpse into the cultural heart of the Americas.Read more: Art & Architecture, Ballet, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Opera House, General, India, Museums, News, Theatre & Opera, Travel
Elissa recently graduated from college and has no idea what to do with her life. But she would like to continue traveling. Anywhere. Even the moon...