Sunday, 21 April 2013

'La Bayadere': Just Another Ineffable Experience At The Ballet

by Isabel Stark

A tale of love, hatred, betrayal and murder, it was just another ineffable experience at the ballet. 

Gamzatti (Lauren Cuthbertson) and Nikiya (Roberta Marquez)
I was graced to see the exotic La Bayadère. It was not just any performance, I was to see Roberta Marquez and Steven Mcrae dance with each other, it was a dream, I had fallen in love after watching Sir Fredrick Ashton’s delightful La Fille Mal Gardee set in the “leafy pastoral of eternal spring in Suffolk.”  Within the 3 hours I found my self being entangled in the emotion and swept along by the current of Ludwig Minkus and John Lanchberry’s music. The opulence of the costumes and set were a masterpiece within their own right. Set in an ancient India Natalia Makarova’s production was a feast.

Nikiya, is a beautiful enslaved temple dancer; the petite and charming Roberta Marquez effortlessly portrayed the timid and romantic bayadère. From the first step onto the stage in a glistening white dress and veil the audience were bewitched by her fragility. Marquez has a natural aura, an enrapturing beauty that captures the hearts of anyone who sees her artistry. Solor the dashing warrior, Steven Mcrae, and Nikiya swear their forbidden and eternal love to each other in the scared fire- an enchanting sight. But he is dazzled by the stunning Maharajahs daughter Gamzatti and forgets his vows to Nikiya, Yuhui Choe replaced an injured Laura Morera to the disappointment of a few but I couldn’t help but feel secretly smug.  Morera is a talent but in the Nutcracker I failed to enjoy her Waltz of the Flowers however after seeing Swan Lake and Choe’s delicate and light Pas de Trois I wanted to watch her dance again, it was a well timed and high beneficial coincidence. Gamezetti’s entrance (much like Nikiya) established the icy stunning character dressed in gold as an untouchable object of desire that will do anything to gain Solor.
Nikiya (Roberta Marquez)
Nikiya would prefer to accept the fate bestowed by the ruthless princess on her than live without the love of Solor so succumbs to a bite from a well-concealed poisonous snake in a basket of flowers.  Solor confused and hurt smokes opium, the music crescendos and Mcrae’s chaîné turns lead us dizzily in to the transcendent beauty of the Kingdom of Shades; the slow continuous entrance of the corps de ballet is haunting. Solor is in a euphoric state when he sees visions of Nikiya and they reconcile with a moving Pas de Deux. Much our disappointment, Solor wakes though not before he performs one of the hardest variations for any male dancer -it is filled with large jumps mainly cabrioles and an amazing manege. At the Temple during the wedding ceremony Solor continues to see visions of Nikiya and struggles to complete his vows, the Gods are angered by the arrangement dramatically bring Temple down crushing everyone inside in. Then the curtain rises, and reunited in eternal love are the shades of Nikiya and Solor.

A night at the ballet is an experience that is timeless; the excitement never grows old. The countdown, picking your outfit, collecting the tickets, finding your seat, the overture, curtain up, it’s a sequence of events that bestows joy to a monumental proportion. Tickets are priced from £5 upwards, it is a truly accessible for all you can even watch certain ballets and operas live in your local Vue cinema (Live Cinema Season.) It will add a slight air of Imperial Russia to your life, which is needed within everyone. I ask, I beg for everyone to experience The Royal Opera House at least once in their lifetime, it will not disappoint. 
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  1. I love ballet :) I am sure I would like this performance, it seems so lovely!

  2. Beatrix stark 7y13 January 2014 at 14:22

    Hi Izzy I went to the sme performance as you roberta and steven are truly the dream team ! I look for ward to seeing roberta marquez soon for my birthday treat .From your sister Beatrix


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