Ludwig Minkus

La Bayadère

Ballet in Two Acts

Libretto by Nina Ananiashvili after Sergei Khudekov and Marius Petipa
Choreography by Marius Petipa
Excerpts from Vakhtang Chabukiani’s choreography (Pas d'Action) 
Choreographic version and staging by Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeechev

The world premiere of the ballet took place on 23 January 1877 in St. Petersburg
Premiere performance in Tbilisi was held on November 14, 2023

Nikiya -  Maria Kochetkova   

Solor  - Efe Burak

Hamzatti -  Mariam Eloshvili

Staging Conductor: Papuna Gvaberidze
Sets by David Monavardisashvili
Costumes by Cyrille Gassilline
Costume Design Advisor: Alexandre Vassiliev
Lighting Designer: Steen Bjarke
Assistant Choreographers: Tatyana Rastorgueva, Ekaterina Shavliashvili
Assistant Costume Designer: Nino Ochiauri

Tbilsi Opera and Ballet State Theatre Orchestra
Conductor: Papuna Gvaberidze

Director of the company: Nina Ananiashvili




Scene I

The young Kshatriya warriors of rajah Dugmanta, and Solor, the bravest amongst them, are hunting a man-eating tiger in surroundings of the temple of Lord Chandra, the God of Moon, where the Goddess Rākā is worshipped during the ceremony of consecration.

Fakir Madhavaya delivers the message of Solor to the beautiful bayadère Nikiya.

The doors of the temple open, and from the temple the Great Brahmin emerges, followed by munis -monastic wise men, rsi - seers, bramacarins - priests.The Great Brahmin orders Nikiya and other devadasi to be called. He is desperately in love with the bayadère. Despite his vow of celibacy the Great Brahmin offers to Nikiya all the treasures he possesses in return for her love. Nikiya rejects the Great Brahmin’s advances, and reminds him, that she is a bayadère and is dedicated to Gods.

Night falls upon the temple.

Solor and Nikiya, who are in love, meet each other in front of the temple. Solor vows his eternal love to Nikiya on the Sacred Fire, and begs her to run away with him. The Great Brahmin appears in the doors of the temple. He sees the lovers embracing. In a burst of jealousy and wrath he calls on the Gods as witness to his future horrible vengeance.


Scene II

A magnificent hall in the palace of the rajah Dugmanta.

Dugmanta tells his beautiful daughter Hamzatti that the day of her wedding to the brave warrior Solor will be set. In a few moments Solor appears. The rajah presents Hamzatti to him, and lets Solor know that he will marry her soon. Solor is thunderstruck recalling his beloved bayadère, to whom he has sworn eternal love, but not being able to disobey the rajah’s command, and charmed by Hamzatti’s beauty, he is forced to give in.

Nikiya and the devadasi come to congratulate Hamzatti with her betrothal. Nikiya presents Hamzatti with the shawl.

Enters the Great Brahmin. Looking at Solor with hatred he asks Dugmanta to send everyone off. He reveals a great secret to the rajah: Solor does not love Hamsatti, but adores the bayadère Nikiya with whom he is seen every night, and wants to run away with her. Furious at what he has learned, the rajah tells the Great Brahmin of his intention to destroy the bayadère. The Brahmin, wishing only Solor’s death, is frightened at the thought of the serious danger to his beloved bayadère, and begs the rajah to have mercy upon Nikiya, but Dugmanta is adamant.

Hamsatti, who has heard everything accidentally, wants to see the bayadère, and sends her servant Aya to fetch her. Nikiya arrives, and bowing approaches the rajah’s daughter. Hamsatti insists that Nikiya renounces Solor, offers to the bayadère the jewelry, but Nikiya refuses. Hamzatti humiliates Nikiya: tells her that she is just a servant, a temple dancer. With these words Nikiya takes a dagger rushes at her rival. Aya defends her mistress with her body. Nikiya disappears from the palace.

Hamsatti gets up and says: “Now she must die!”


Scene III

Opulent gardenin front of the rajah’s palace. The great procession is in progress. Hamzatti and Solor are on the throne. The rajah commands the beautiful Nikiya to come in, and orders her to entertain the newlyweds. He also orders Aya to present a basket with flowers to Nikiya as if the basket is from Solor. Suddenly a snake crawls out of the basket and strikes the bayadère with the deadly bite. The Great Brahmin offers the dancer an antidote in exchange for her love. But Nikiya refuses the flagon and prefers to die.



Scene I

Solor is inconsolable. He is walking around in wild haste. The fakir Madhavaya lights a hookah, and persuades him to lie down on the bed. Solor, half-conscious, agrees. A figure appears; it’s the Moon Goddess Rākā herself. She invites Solor to the world of spirits, where he can see his beloved Nikia…

Raja Dugmanta, Hamzati, the Chief Brahmin and their retinue finally find Solor in the Palace garden. Solor approaches his bride, and Chief Brahmin blesses them. Suddenly there is thunder and lightning flashes. The Gods are angry. They kill everyone.

Appears the Goddess Rākā, and she takes spirits of Solor and Nikia to the Heavenly realm…