La Bayadère at Cairo Opera House

01-05-2018 11:57 PM

Nader Shukry

Cairo Opera Ballet Company will perform for the first time “La Bayadère”; composed by the Russian Austrian Ludwig Minkus to a story by Sergei Hodikov; and choreography by Marius Petipa and Valentin Bartes. Artistic director Erminia Kamel will manage the performance which will be accompanied by the Cairo Opera Orchestra conducted by Nayer Nagui. Performances will run for six days in Cairo and Alexandria: on 3, 4, 5 and 6 May in the Main Hall of the Cairo Opera House, and on 12 and 13 May at the Sayed Darwish Theatre known as the Alexandria Opera.

La Bayadère is one of the masterpieces of 19th-century Russian ballet, a brilliant example of a grand spectacular production with huge crowd scenes, colourful costumes and handsome sets.

Nikiya is a bayadère, or temple dancer. She is in love with a warrior named Solor, but he ends up in an arranged marriage with the lovely Princess Gamzatti. The Princess sees Nikiya as a threat, so she must die. The wedding of Solor and Gamzatti ends in chaos, as the enraged gods intervene.

The best-known scene in La Byadère is the Kingdom of Shadows, where Solor has a vision of the dead Nikiya, multiplied by the corps de ballet. This lovely and entrancing scene is often performed separately.

Cairo Opera Ballet Company was established in 1966 and associated to the Higher Ballet Institute (Academy of Arts). The company’s members were coached by Soviet experts. The Ballet Company added great classical ballets to its repertoire, among them Giselle, The Nutcracker, Pakhita, Swan Lake and Don Quixote. Later, it also took up contemporary ballets created by Egyptian composers and choreographers such as Osiris featuring the legend of Isis and Osiris and El Nil ballet.

Since 1973, the company has performed outside Egypt starting in Moscow and Leningrad, then in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, France, Italy, USA, Tunisia, Korea, and China. In 1991, the Cairo Opera Ballet Company was integrated into the National Cultural Centre, directed by Dr Abdel Moneim Kamel who added to the repertoire of the company his own version of Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Cinderella, Le Corsaire, Carmina Burana, Bolero, Hamlet, Malgré Tout, Zorba, Danses qu’on Croise, and The Rites of Spring.

Watani International

1 May 2018

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