La Bayadère

Ballet by Ludwig Minkus
World premiere on January 23, 1877 at Mariinsky Theatre
Premiere at the Estonian National Opera on May 16, 2013

La Bayadère” is a story of eternal love, vengeance, and justice. The ballet recounts the story of the impossible love between a temple dancer (bayadère) Nikiya and the noble warrior Solor. In a moment of forgetfulness, Solor becomes engaged to the Rajah’s daughter Gamzatti and in order to assure the young man’s love for Gamzatti, the Rajah decides to kill Nikiya… The first production of the ballet was a vast and vastly expensive production: Act 2 was conceived for 200 dancers and a stage elephant. “La Bayadère” is an important connection between the romantic and classical eras of ballet. Although a major work in Russian tradition, the ballet remained unknown for a long time in the West. It was only in 1961 in the course of a Kirov appearance at the Palais Garnier that a stunned public was able to discover its beauty. “La Bayadère” was the creation of the choreographer Marius Petipa, the renowned Premier maître de ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres. The music was written by the composer Ludwig Minkus, Petipa’s chief collaborator, who held the official post of Ballet Composer to the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres in 1872–1886. The most notable numbers in the ballet include the incredibly demanding men’s variation “The Golden Idol” and the scene of “The Kingdom of the Shades” that has become a symbol of ballet and is quite often performed on its own. It is this scene that inspired critics to write “If you don’t enjoy “La Bayadère”, you really don’t enjoy ballet!”

Staging team

  • Libretto and original choreography: Marius Petipa, Sergei Hudekov
  • Choreographer and Stage Director of the new redaction: Thomas Edur
  • Assistant to the Stage Director: Yevgeni Neff (Russia)
  • Conductors: Risto Joost, Lauri Sirp
  • Designer: Peter Docherty (England)
  • Lighting Designer: Tiit Urvik


  • Approx. running time 2 h, one intermission
  • Performances are cancelled until the end of the season. Tickets will be exchanged.
  • For more information, please call +372 683 1210 (Mon-Fri from 9AM to 5PM)


  • T, 5 May 2020 / 19:00

    Cancelled! Tickets will be exchanged.

  • S, 10 May 2020 / 19:00

    Cancelled! Tickets will be exchanged.



See Also

Coming soon