“A Magnificent Realization”
Spartacus 1979 - Ballet in 4 Acts - Running time: 2:17:46
Composer: Aram Khachaturian Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich
Production Designer: Simon Virsaladze Conductor: Algis Zhuraitis
Performers: Spartacus (captive King of Thrace) Vladimir Vasiliev
Phrygia (Spartacus’ wife) Ekaterina Maximova Aegina (concubine to Crassus) Tatiana Golikova
Crassus (Roman consul) Mikhail Gabovich
Russian dancer, choreographer and director who dominated the Russian ballet for 30 years. Grigorovich was born into a family connected with the Imperial Russian Ballet.
Grigorovich was artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet from 1964 - 1995.
Maximova was born in Moscow, Soviet Union. Maximova performed with the Bolshoi Ballet from 1958 until 1980, often performing opposite her husband Vladimir Vasiliev. Maximova enjoyed her greatest successes in Giselle, Spartacus, Don Quixote, Cinderella and The Nutcracker.
Aram Il'yich Khachaturian (6 June 1903 – 1 May 1978) was a Soviet Armenian composer and conductor. He is considered one of the leading Soviet composers and the most renowned Armenian composer of the 20th century.
Spartacus, with its storming athleticism, bold story and passionate music, is considered a signature ballet of the Bolshoi Ballet. The gladiator Spartacus is probably the most physically demanding male role ever created in ballet, full of phenomenal jumps, dramatic solos and melting love duets, including acrobatic lifts never before seen in ballet.
The theme of revolt by underdogs against the imperial oppressor had a particular resonance in Soviet times when Yuri Grigorovich created it in 1968, but the ballet’s popularity to this day is testament to the theatricality of his choreography and exciting characters.
In imperial Rome, vividly designed by Simon Virsaladze, the cruel emperor Crassus parades his conquered slaves, among them Spartacus and Phrygia. Crassus seizes Phrygia for his pleasure, to the fury of his mistress Aegina.
Spartacus inspires the Roman people to join him in overthrowing the dictator. As the rebels gain the upper hand, Aegina uses her seductive wiles to intoxicate Spartacus’s troops and betray him. He dies a spectacular death as Phrygia mourns on behalf of all those who fight for freedom.
This 1979 live performance film, digitally restored and remastered to HD quality, is a precious document of the fabulous Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova returning to their original roles as Spartacus and Phrygia. Mikhail Gabovich is Crassus, and Tatiana Golikova the wily Aegina. Algis Zhuraytis conducts Khachaturian’s famous score.
Don’t just take our word for these amazing performances, please see these totally independent reviews.