Magazine article Musical Opinion

Spartacus

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Spartacus

Article excerpt

First staged in 1968, Yuri Grigorovich's spectacular ballet, Spartacus, has for the last thirty years been the calling card of the bolshoi Ballet and it proved to be as exciting as ever on 22 July.

Set to Khachaturian's grandiose and bombastic score the work relates a simple story of the conflict between good and evil as demonstrated by the epic struggle of the escaped Spartacus and his faithful fellow slaves and Crassus and his Roman hordes. Grigorovich's Bolshoi style acrobatic choreography relentlessly swept the stage with wave after wave of tall male dancers goose-stepping or stamping from one side to the other. His manipulation of these huge forces as. they strut and conquer in ever more violent scenes of battle was quite mesmerising. As a direct contrast to this overpowering display of dancing, Grigorovich cleverly introduces a series of inner monologues in which the four leading characters express their feelings in dramatic solos, set to the quieter passages of Khachaturian's a score.

The role of Spartacus was taken with evident relish by Andrei Uvarov, a strong dancer with a big physical presence in the manner of Vasiliev and Mukhamedov. He was superb in the split jumps, which held the house spellbound, and not only did he perform six jumps in the First Act but repeated them to even greater effect in the last. He pulled out all the stops in his response to the difficulties of the choreography and, in his lyrical duet with his beloved Phrygia, danced with immaculate line and tenderness by Inna Petrova, he bore her aloft with a one-handed lift as if she were made of thistledown. …

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