Other Sellers on Amazon
+ £1.26 UK delivery
+ £1.26 UK delivery
Minkus: La Bayadere (Teatro Scala) (Arthaus: 107301) [DVD]  [NTSC]
Get £1 Off Amazon Video*
Frequently Bought Together
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
In their series of classical ballet productions from La Scala Arthaus releases a DVD recording of La Bayadére in the choreography by Natalia Makarova. Her version, based on the original 1877 creation by the great master of Russian classical ballet, Marius Petipa has become the standard since the famous Kirov Company made it popular worldwide. It was filmed at the May 2006 revival of Makarovas 1992 production for La Scala, Milan, and features two of international ballets star dancers Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle. The Bayadère Nikiya is created by Svetlana Zakharova, a Ukrainian dancer, who grew up in the tradition of St Petersburgs Maryinsky Ballet and is now one of the youngest ballerinas at Moscows Bolshoi Ballet and Roberto Bolle, the primo ballerino étoile in the Corpo di ballo del Teatro alla Scala, dances Solor, a brave, young nobleman. The filming for this DVD recreates the atmosphere of a night at the wonderful La Scala opera house, while providing the viewer with a closer look at the dancers, their interpretation and their artistic endeavours.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
The corps of ballet has done a good job, probably stimulated by the presence of such protagonists, and of Natalia Makarova that after the representation, always very beautiful, she also picked up the deserved endless applauses.
Very positive the test, even though short because the short role, of the gold idol, Antonino Sutera.
Excellent as used is David Coleman as guest director of Orchestra of Scala of Milan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As always, Zakharova performs wonderfully, executing the role of the Temple Dancer Nikiya to perfection. As Nikiya's inconstant lover, Bolle mostly does well, too, although he occasionally seems tentative as Solor, ill at ease. Maybe he senses something's not entirely balanced in this production.
All the elements, in fact, are not in balance. In addition to the two main roles, La Bayadère needs a third lead to play Gamzatti -- the Amneris to Nikiya's Aïda. Sadly, Isabelle Brusson lacks the stage presence to match Zakharova and Bolle, and the absence of a third star is noticeable. For comparison, watch the sparks fly between Zakharova and Maria Alexandrova in the Bolshoi's 2013 La Bayadère Minkus: La Bayadere (Blu Ray) [Blu-ray].
But the worst is yet to come -- the seemingly ill-prepared La Scala corps de ballet, which performed so outstandingly in Swan Lake and Giselle. What should be the hypnotic centerpiece of the show, the Kingdom of the Shades, looks more like a rehearsal here than a performance. Perhaps the filming was rushed. In that case, everyone should have waited and taken whatever time was necessary to do it right.
If the Kingdom of the Shades flops, La Bayadère flops. La Scala's flops.
Describing the performance history of La Bayadère as problematic understates the matter. Originally staged in St. Petersburg in 1877 in four acts and an apotheosis with music by court composer Ludwig Minkus, La Bayadère was one of the great successes of ballet master Marius Petipa, who spent six months preparing the premiere. Its celebrated Kingdom of the Shades scene was made even more memorable in Petipa's 1900 revival of the production.
By the time La Bayadère finally became known outside Russia in 1961, however, many hands had fiddled with the ballet's structure and choreography, and Minkus' original score had been lost. So when Makarova staged her own choreographed, three-act version of La Bayadère for the Royal Ballet in 1989, the music was re-orchestrated (or recomposed) by conductor Lanchbery, who was referred to in some circles as a "musical butcher."
In 1991, Rudolf Nureyev, then director of the Paris Opera Ballet, began putting together his own version of La Bayadère, which was presented at the Palais Garnier in 1992, with scenes arranged in a different order from Makarova's (omitting the scene of the destruction of the temple) but retaining Lanchberry's hack-job music score. Nureyev's lavish production, on which the Paris Opera Ballet spared no cost, added significantly to the fame of the Kingdom of the Shades.
But the original ballet seemed out of reach -- until 2000, when the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet began a reconstruction of Petipa's 1900 revival. As much of Petipa's original choreography as possible was restored, including the long-lost fourth act with its Dance of the Lotus Blossoms and the Grand Pas d'action that various productions had moved to other slots. Moreover, Minkus' complete, hand-written score had been located in the depths of the Mariinsky library and carefully put back together.
The new Kirov/Mariinsky version of the "old" La Bayadère was presented in 2002 -- to a controversial reception. The entrenched, conservative world of ballet does not seem to like change, even when (or perhaps especially when) it restores an original work that differs from what has become the accepted norm.
Until the Mariinsky can be persuaded to bring its reconstruction of La Bayadère out of mothballs, we'll have to settle for one or another adaptation for a hint of how spectacular this ballet could be. The Bolshoi recording mentioned above, which does not use Lanchbery's "orchestration," does a much better job of that than La Scala's.
I bought all three to have records of Svetlana in them. She is best in Bayadere. I also recommend La Fille de Pharaon and not only for her performance. It's a humdinger of a ballet. Her dancing reminds me of La Divine Sylvie Guillem who was also pilloried for "head-banging", and inspired numerous imitators who missed the essential point, that it wasn't what she did but how. What was true of La Divine Sylvie is true of Svetlana. I saw Sylvie in Bayadere and she was nothing less than brilliant. So I can compare the two easily. Svetlana's Nikiya is human, warm and passionate and despairing in Act I; in Acts II and III, she transcends those emotions, becoming an other-worldly vision for Solor, the voice of his conscience speaking to him alone. By itself, that is a huge achievement and rendered even greater as she was given no help at all.
Unlike many who may read this, I was actually in the Met Opera House on the night of the first performance of Natasha's version. I've now lost count of the number of times I saw American Ballet Theatre perform it, and have seen the Royal do so at Covent Garden. I've also seen the Paris Opera Ballet perform Rudolf's version in Paris, New York and Washington. As a result, I take considerable exception to the reviewer who said Nathasha's is inferior. Her last act is chilling. Act I, Scene 2 involves a real cat fight that could have come from a silent movie, in the right hands it's not a ballet version of a cat fight, but the real thing and is one of the high points of the ballet. I have characterized this ballet as Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, because Solor pledges his troth to Nikiya, but isn't averse to bedding Gamzati. The Shades Act is his opium dream. The god's destruction of his temple provides the rocks and in the twinkling of an eye the apotheosis becomes everything a nirvana should be. It's easy to praise the Maryinski corps in the Shades Act, but for ABT's to achieve their stunning level of perfection is far more praiseworthy given the struggle the girls had to make to create a similar style of dancing from their wildly disparate backgrounds. I never saw the POB come anywhere close to the level of commitment and interpretation that ABT and the Royal brought to the ballet. As they are the greatest company in the world, I had to wonder why, but then they'd not had the years spent dancing it. I cannot find it in my heart to lament the cuts Natasha made, the story flows more smoothly as does the betrothal scene. I've got the Komleva version and was distinctly underwhelmed. Of course, that's largely her fault but everyone else lent her a helping hand. So what we do know from Komleva's is that Natasha and Rudolf were working from the same script and the devil is in the details. Natasha wins on points. From the dance perspective, Natasha, la divine Sylvie, Elizabeth Platel, Altynai and Svetlana far outshine everybody else I've ever seen as Nikiya. What's truly sad is that only the last two are available on videos.
The bottom line here is that Natasha's version makes the story live and that Svetlana is magnificence personified. La Bayadere is musically and choreographically well ahead of the pack in general and Svetlana is the icing on the cake.