La Bayadere may not be among my favourite ballets(my favourites could be seen as somewhat clichéd) but it is hard not to be entertained by it and Minkus' style is growing on me all the time. This production from the Royal Ballet is very good on the whole, though I do consider the one from the Paris Opera Ballet a superior performance. The costumes and sets here are pretty and easy on the eyes, Tetsuya Kumakawa's makeup in Dance of the Bronze Idol was amazing, though the Paris production is even more eye-catching. The production is well shot and recorded and is in reasonably good quality if not quite as sharp, experience-enhancing and clean as with Paris. Musically, it is mostly solid, if at times too brass-heavy and the solo violin's sound for my tastes was too much squeak and not enough smooth. The orchestra do generally though give a beautiful sound and show good style and a sense that they were well rehearsed, helped by the disciplined, sympathetic and clear conducting. The choreography is just wonderful, the Pas De Deux is lyrical and powerful, the variations are charming and delightful and the arabesques show a great deal of athletic skill. The Corps De Ballet dance impeccably, as do all the leads, making the choreography seem easy when in ballet it is anything but. Altyani Asylmuratova's scintillating Nikiya is for me the production's main attraction, though Darcey Bussell is the very definition of graceful and elegant, Anthony Dowell is powerful and masculine and Irek Mukhumedov is sincere with beautifully placed movements. Overall, very good and nicely done but I prefer Paris Opera Ballet's production of La Bayadere. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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