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The Last Act


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#16 Hans

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 03:23 PM

That excerpt from the libretto is helpful--it sounds as if Nikiya doesn't assign blame at all, perhaps thinking the snake just crawled into the flowers by accident.

By the way, I have a few other questions about the plot of La Bayadere, such as:

What actually happens during Solor's visit to the Kingdom of the Shades? Is it just dancing, with no plot at all? This seems a little unlikely, given that other Petipa dream sequences at least have some connection to the action besides "Solor smokes opium and has a vision."

Why exactly does the Rajah want Solor to marry Gamzatti so badly? Can he just not find anyone else in the right caste? Or perhaps because Solor and Nikiya are from different castes, they can't publicly declare their love?

#17 doug

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 04:44 PM

According to the 1877 libretto, Nikiya and Solor and a conversation during what is now the first pas de deux of the Shades scene. She showed him a castle in the sky that would be theirs if he didn't betray her. Probably by 1900, and possibly, earlier, this scene was replaced by the first pas de deux. I can't confirm this from the dance notations, however, because this first pas de deux is not notated. But that doesn't mean it wasn't danced.

Hope this bit helps.

#18 su-lian

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 01:28 AM

Apparently, during the Kingdom of shades scene, Nikiya tells Solor that if he doesn't betray her, her shade will be next to him to help him and to protect him and that his spirit will find peace in this kingdom when he dies. I suppose that this is related to the last act because he betrays Nikiya by marrying Gamzatti, and therefore they are all punished and at the end of the last act, once the temple is destroyed, the shade of Nikiya goes back up to the kingdom of shades looking down at Solor, so this probably means that he will not go there because he betrayed her.
Still according to the original Petipa notes, the Rajah wants Solor to marry Gamzatti because he was designed as her fiance when they were children, so he has the obligation to marry her.
About Solor and Nikiya, Nikiya is destined to the temple since she is a child and her duty is to it, she can't leave it or marry so Solor promises her to come and fetch her in a few days and escape, but then he has to marry Gamzatti, and he tries to escape from it by saying he needs a bit of time, but the Rajah answers he can't refuse and has to accept the marriage now.

#19 Hans

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 08:34 AM

Thank you both--that helps make more sense out of Kingdom of the Shades. A mime scene would make more sense there, but the pas de deux is also quite beautiful. Some believe that the pas de deux belongs in Act I for some reason, but the music it's danced to has exactly the same tune as the waltz preceding it, so I think it's in the right place.

By the way, I thought the final tableau was of Nikiya leading Solor up to heaven, and that the temple was destroyed just before the marriage took place...perhaps Makarova just changed that around a bit in her production. However, that's interesting--that Solor and Nikiya are not together in the end after all.

#20 doug

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 12:27 PM

I believe they were intended to be together in the end. The 1877 libretto states: "APOTHEOSIS: Through the rain the peaks of the Himalayas are visible. Nikia's shade glides through the air; she is triumphant, and tenderly looks at her beloved Solor, who is at her feet. THE END"

The creators dont'; seem to have been concerned with as much analysis and logic as we seem to be today.

#21 su-lian

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 01:24 PM

You're certainly right Doug, it's exactly what I read (except I don't have "she is triumphant"), except I interpreted it as 'he is at her feet, so he is not with her and isn't coming up' instead of 'he is at her feet following her'. But then how would he have been able to join her in the Kingdom of shades if he betrayed her (he was going to marry Gamzatti), unless the marriage isn't considered as a betrayal because he truly loves Nikiya and only was going to marry Gamzatti because he was forced to (but then why kill him and destroy everything?). I'm a bit confused now.

#22 John-Michael

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Posted 14 September 2003 - 05:26 PM

Do temple dancers take vows of chastisty, sort of like vestal virgins? If such were the case, could Nikyia be "sinful" for loving Solor and thus possibly prone to vengeance?

#23 doug

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Posted 14 September 2003 - 06:01 PM

I don't know the answer to that question, John-Michael, but it certainly is a very intriguing idea.

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 14 September 2003 - 06:04 PM

It is a good question -- I don't know if they did in India, but if memory serves (and it may not; this is going back to 9th grade) Roman ones were.

#25 rg

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 06:24 PM

beaumont has some pp. on 'le dieu et la bayadere' perhaps something there would help establish the vows of chasity (or not) for bayaderes.
as follows:
Le dieu et la bayadère.
Beaumont, Cyril William, 1891- Complete book of ballets. London [1956] p 88-94


Bayadère (Choreographic work : Deshayes)
Authority Note :Chor: André-Jean-Jacques Deshayes; mus: Daniel-François-Esprit Auber. First perf: London, King's Theatre, May 26, 1831, Marie Taglioni.
*MGTB (English) Guest, Ivor. The romantic ballet in England, 1954, p 57, 157. La bayadère is a "compressed version" of Le dieu et la bayadère and was danced in London in 1831 by Marie Taglioni.

#26 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 06:53 PM

Some writers have noticed the indebtedness to the drama Shakuntala by Kalidasa, the 3rd century playwright, in the libretto to La Bayadère. There are even some of the same characters - the Rajah and Gamzatti. In fact, Marius Petipa's brother Lucien had staged a "Saccountala" in Paris. The question of a temple dancer's chastity would have to depend on time and place. Some sects of Hinduism make a great deal out of chastity during a period of religious service, others don't. And what they did in the 3rd century, I just don't know. Besides, the original play was set in Ancient India - even before Kalidasa, so that's a fairly difficult question.

#27 olddude

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 06:01 PM

indeed, manhattnik! :( i thought of her as driven by that-which-must-be-done, like a wili who regardless of what her feelings would have been when alive, has to dance men to death.

I am coming to this (and other Bayadere) threads very late, but the music and the dancing have only recently come to fascinate me.

There have been several analogies made between Giselle and Nikaya along class lines. What I have not yet seen is the notion that Nikaya, as a temple dancer, is holy to the gods, maybe even equal to the Rajah's caste in a parallel religious caste structure. She is clearly the principal temple dancer, after all. In which case, the gods' vengeance makes a kind of sense whether or not she broke a vow of chastity.

#28 Nanarina

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:47 AM

Thinking of Nikiya, I do not find her other than betrayed and forsaken, I understood it was the revenge of the Gods, who brought down the temple after Gamzetti and Solor are married. He pledged over the sacred fire his love for the Temple Dancer, and pays the
final price for his actions. He dreams of the Kingdom of Shades in a drug invoked state, that Nikiya has forgiven him, does he awake from his dream, or is the destruction of the temple a premanition of what is to come?

#29 rg

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:04 PM

here's the post i've had trouble getting posted:

it's perhaps useful to remember that the opium-induced dream was a latter addition to the action of LA BAYADERE.
for the end of Act 3, sc. 4, entitled The Appearance of the Shade in Solor's room in the rajah's palace, the original 1877 libretto includes no opium; instead, it concludes as Solor falls unconscious on the divan. A dream comes over him and he falls asleep, never ceasing to think about the shade [of Nikiya who has appeared in his room].
The next scene, no. 5, The Kingdom of the Shades concludes with text that says: If you do not betray me,' Nikya continues, 'your spirit shall find rest here, in this kingdom of the shades.
Scene 6 is entitled Solor's awakening. - these libretto translations are taken from Roland John Wiley's A CENTURY OF RUSSIAN BALLET.

#30 ascballerina

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

Does anyone have any idea why the Bolshoi's version cuts out the wedding scene entirely, and just finishes with the Kingdom of the Shades?


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