Friday, 27 September 2013

Spartacus (ballet)

I managed to almost have my cake and eat it over the weekend by finding a 2008 YouTube of the Bolshoi performing Spartacus so I no longer have the dilemma of choosing between this ballet and the Royal Opera House's Don Quixote which are both at Cineworld in the same week. The 2008 isn't exactly the same production and, obviously, watching it on a small laptop screen doesn't impart the same atmosphere but it does star the wonderful Carlos Acosta as Spartacus alongside Alexander Volchkov as Crassus.

A triumphal procession marks the return to Rome of the consul Crassus. Among his chained prisoners are Spartacus and his wife Phrygia, both of whom are condemned to slavery. Spartacus is taken off to become a gladiator and subsequently forced to kill a man in combat. Disgusted, he foments a rebellion and the gladiators escape to freedom. But Spartacus cannot bear the thought of Phrygia as one of Crassus's concubines and leads an attack to rescue the slave women.

I wasn't convinced by the dancing soldiers but the slaves were very movingly portrayed and I can see why Spartacus has become a classic. Khachaturian's most famous ballet was first performed by the Bolshoi back in 1958, but it was Yuri Grigorovich's choreography for the 1968 production that sealed the ballet's reputation as one of the greatest works in the Bolshoi's repertoire. The broadcast has a 12A certificate.

Cineworld, Sun 20th Oct, 16:00.
Tickets £16.11 adults, £12.78 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.