How is a prince to reconcile his duty to country with his love of a beautiful temple dancer? Such is the twisting plot of this sumptuous work performed by the Queensland Ballet.
It is India 1855. The armies of Cooch Behar and the British East India Company have been at war. The Maharajah of Cooch Behar and the Governor-General of India make peace with a treaty that includes the arranged marriage of the Maharajah’s son, Prince Sohor, to the Governor-General’s daughter, Edith.
Prince Sohor (Alexander Idaszak) and the beautiful Nikita (Lucy Green), a temple dancer (bayadere) at the Temple of the Golden Idol are in love. Idaszak and Green perform a wonderful pas de deux. They pledge to elope.
Then the prince is told of the arranged marriage. The Maharajah (danced with authority by D’Arcy Brazier) insists that the arranged marriage proceed for the sake of peace and the good of the country.
The lovers’ turmoil is intense. Idaszak and Green achieve a powerful chemistry in their dance though it does seem to falter a little in Act 2.
The action takes us through the exotica of opium dens and the mystic world of the Shades (bayaderes who died for love).
The wine maids add light relief with a delightful cameo from Teri Crilly.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nigel Gaynor performs the music of Ludwig Minkus movingly.
Love and war do not make for an easy dance.