La Bayadere A two-act ballet by music by Ludwig Minkus

Goethe Ballad "God and the Bayer" inspired by the ancient Indian drama "In Acknowledgment to Shakuntala" by Kalidasa


Production and directing


Set design


Costume Designer


Assistant Ballet Master


Assistant Director




The ballet Bayadera was created by the French choreographer Marius Petipa and the Russian librettist Sergey Khudekov based on music by Ludwig Minkus. The original work is in four acts and seven paintings and is based on Goethe's ballad "God and the Bayer", which in turn is inspired by Kalidasa's ancient Indian drama "In Acknowledgment to Shakuntala." Taking advantage of the popularity of ballets on romantic subjects, such as "Sylphide" and "Giselle," Petipa creates a special benefit performance for the primacy of Imperial Russian Ballet Ekaterina Vazem.

The Bayader's premiere is performed by the Imperial Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Stone Theater in St. Petersburg on February 4 (January 23, old style) 1877. Even at its first performance, the ballet was enthusiastically applauded by the audience (the applause after the end of the performance did not subside for more than half an hour), and by critics declaring it one of the supreme masterpieces of the choreographer Petipa, with the stage of the show being particularly emblematic. Тhe work is known as The Kingdom of the Shadows (inspired by Gustave Dore's illustrations, by the way)

to Dante Alighieri's Paradise) - it becomes one of the most famous and iconic ballet scenes in the ballet and classical ballet in general. In fact, from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, the Kingdom of the Shadows is too often performed as a stand-alone, independent work, outside the full version of Bayadere - not only because it is considered an ingenious, but also because of its huge resource (minimum 32 ballerinas only in the Shadow Stage, as in the original), which the title requires.

Almost all modern versions of Bayadarka are based on the production of the Kirov Ballet from 1941 for the St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) Mariinsky Theater, whose strict editing and stage version was the work of Vakhtang Chabukiani and Vladimir Ponomaryov.

Bayader's first staging outside Russia was in London on July 4, 1961, during a tour of the Kirov Ballet in the British capital. It is an interesting fact that it is on this tour that one of the cult ballet dancers and choreographers of the 20th century Rudolf Nureyev chooses not to return to his totalitarian country at that time and stay in the West. Two years later, Nureyev placed only The Kingdom of the Shadows on the stage of the Royal English Ballet.

The full version of Bayaderka, set in 1980 by Natalia Makarova for the American Ballet Theater, also follows the 1941 edition of Chabukiani and Ponomaryov.

In Bulgaria, Bayadere was first put on the stage of the Sofia Opera and Ballet in 2012, with the next few performances being shortened versions or only the third act.



NIKIA, Bayadare (Indian temple dancer)

SOLOR, a noble warrior of the kshatriya caste (second in importance - after

Brahmins - a stratum of ancient Indian society consisting of the wealthy

and noble warriors)


GAMZATI, his daughter




Gamzati's SERVICE

Solor friends, brahmins, Sudras (servants of the raja), warriors, fakirs, kayakers,

Indian people, shadows.

The action takes place in ancient India.


First action

      In the evening. The noblest warrior, Solor, accompanied by his friends, is hunting in the Sacred Forest - followed by a tiger. Very close is the temple where his beloved, the bayadere Nikia lives and serves. Solor and his faithful fakir Magadaveya lag behind other hunters. The young man orders Magadaveya to tell Nikiya that he will be waiting for her at the shrine tonight.

      At the same time, the temple is preparing to commemorate the Feast of Fire. The solemn appearance of the Great Brahmin, surrounded by priests and kayakers serving in the holy cloister, marks the opening of the celebration. The culmination of the sacral event is the sacred dance performed by the Nyakia kayaker. Even more

his gaze falls on the beautiful dancer, the Brahmin remains as struck by a thunder: captivated by a passionate love for Nikia, he completely forgets both his sacred duty and his vow of celibacy. Ignoring the vows to which the high priestly caste commands to remain faithful, Brahmin promises to the kayaker all the treasures of India in return for her love - but in vain - Nikia remains steadfast in the face of his ardent love affirmation: her heart belongs solely to Solor, or none threats could not dissuade her or change this.

      The night comes, the ritual ends and the sacred procession returns to the temple. Niki is eagerly awaiting her meeting with her beloved, which the Magadaveya fakir had previously reported to her. In fact, it is Magadaveya who will guard the secret rendezvous of the young lovers.

      Solor offers Niki an escape - far from these places where no one will know them and they will be able to be happy together. Above the holy fire, he gives her an oath that his heart belongs only to her and will be eternally loyal to her. Nobody happily agrees with her beloved's plan. However, for the evil fate, the Great Brahmin sees the current plans for a common future in love and, mad with jealousy and rage, decides to take revenge on them.

      With the approach of the morning not far from the temple, a hunting troupe with the slain tiger appears, and with them - the kayakers who set out for holy water. Solor leaves with the hunters.

      Raja Dugman's Palace. The raja informs his beloved daughter Gamzati that he intends to marry her to the high-ranking warrior Solor. Gamzati is overflowing with happiness, but Solor, though too impressed with the beauty of the noble girl, is unable to forget her kayak, which he has sworn to eternal allegiance. The young man is confused - despite Nikia, nevertheless, he does not find the audacity and courage to give up his high honor to become the husband of the daughter of the rajah himself. It is time to perform the ritual of Gamzati's initiation as a bride. Nikki is invited to the palace and the Great Brahmin is coming. The latter, in his frantic desire to get rid of his rival, tells the raja about the secret love between Solor and Nikia. Although angry, Dugmanta remains adamant - Solor will become the husband of his daughter, and Nikia ... Nikia will have to die! The great Brahmin did not expect such a final decision - in an attempt to save the captive mind and his maiden heart, he warns the raja that the gods would surely take revenge if the bayonet was destroyed - so the dancer belonged to Vishnu himself, insisting that it was not her but Solor must be killed ... Nothing - alas! - unable to dissuade Dugmant.

      Gamzati overhears her father's conversation with Brahmin and immediately orders her maid to bring Nikiya. Raja's daughter announces to the bayadere about her upcoming wedding, invites her to dance at the event and even shows her the portrait of her fiance, Solor. Poor Nikia is shocked, beyond despair - because Solor loves only her, he has sworn an oath of eternal faith to her! ... The proud Gamzati tries to stand by her rival to give up her lover and leave India. offers her the most exquisite jewelry and all kinds of riches. However, the bayadere is ready to even say goodbye to life, but not to part with Solor. In her rage, Nikia rushes to Gamzati with a dagger and only the faithful handmaid saves the daughter of the raja from certain doom. The bayadere manages to escape. Angry Gamzati swears: Nikiya will die!

      A lavish celebration commemorating the engagement of Gamzati and Solor begins in the garden in front of the Raja's palace. Nyakia's kayaker is supposed to entertain guests with dancing, but the broken girl is not in a position to hide her grief - her broken look constantly follows Solor. During the ritual dance, a basket of flowers is served by the order of the bridegroom's bride. Nikiya takes a breathtaking gift and continues to dance boldly. Unexpectedly, a poisonous snake crawls out of the flowers and deathly bites the bayadere - this is Gamzati's revenge! ... The great Brahmin at Nikki's lie to save her - if he responds to his feelings, he will give her an antidote. But, true to her love, she repels him and rushes to Solor's arms with great force. 

Dying Nikia says goodbye to her beloved and with her last breath reminds him of the oath ... Solor, mad with grief and despair, runs away. Raja Dugmanta and Gamzati celebrate.


Second action

      Unconcerned with his suffering, Solor is nowhere to find rest. It is constantly bitterly remorseful, torn by the remorse and endless sorrow of his dead beloved. The faithful Magadaveya tries in every way to distract the young man from the black thoughts. The fakir carries opium and а snake tamer. Under the sounds of his flute, the stunned Solor sinks into the world of visions. In his opium delirium, he ends up in the Shadow Kingdom. Dancing shadows of the dead swirl vigorously toward him and surround him. A delicate image of the late Nikia is gently distinguished between them. The bayadere gently calls Solor ... Warriors enter the rooms of the noble youth - they have come to help him prepare for the upcoming wedding. But they also fail to tear him away from visions ...

    Solor and Gamzati wedding ceremony at the temple. At the foot of the Buddha statue, the Golden God dances, the bayaderes crucially twist bodies in the rhythm of the ritual dance. The ghostly image of Cage Nikia reappears before the young man's eyes. As soon as the Great Brahmin completes the wedding ritual, it is as if the whole earth is broken by an indescribable earthquake - the angry gods destroy the temple where Solor is located. Under the ruins of the sanctuary, all those present at the marriage ceremony find their doom. And the souls of Solor and Nikia are reunited in heaven ...