6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good production by Nureyev,
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This review is from: Rudolf Nureyev's La Bayadere [DVD]  (DVD)
This is a very enjoyable production of the 19th century masterpiece of Orientalism. It is a version choreographed and staged by Rudolf Nureyev for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1992, based on a traditional Soviet era/Russian version. (Nureyev died in the following year.) As with the Russian version, Act 4 (the Wedding Scene when the temple is destroyed by angry gods) is omitted.
The dancing by the Paris Opera Ballet - the three leading "etoiles", in particular - is exemplary. Isabelle Guerin, an attractive and delicate-looking Nikiya, is excellent in the title role of "la bayadere" (the temple dancer). Laurent Hilaire (Solor), a handsome "danseur noble", has a superb technique. He is very good in variations (solo dances) in the Betrothal Scene in Act 2 and in the pas de deux in the Kingdom of the Shades scene in Act 3. Elisabeth Platel is an elegant Gamsatti.
The supporting soloists are all excellent, showing their impeccable training in Paris. Finally, the corps de ballet is impressive in the Kingdom of the Shades scene, unanimously responding to the trance-like music at the beginning of the scene.
My only reservations are the dancers' costumes and the colourful stage set. All the costumes are gaudy, and the interior of the Rajah's palace is decorated in gold. This apparently reflects Nureyev's taste. The set designer, Ezio Frigerio, justifies it by saying "La Bayadere is fundamentally nothing other than the expression of a taste for exoticism - India seen through European eyes." Yes, indeed, but this reviewer still feels that they are over the top.
On balance, however, one perhaps should not be too critical about the gaudy design when the dancing by this great ballet company is superb, and particularly when there is currently no DVD film by the Kirov or the Bolshoi available.