Spartacus (ballet)

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Ivan Vasiliev in a Spartacus performance at the Bolshoi Theater on October 28, 2011

Spartacus (Scenes from Roman Life) is a full-length ballet by the Soviet - Armenian composer Aram Chatschaturjan .

Work and reception

The ballet originally consisted of four acts and nine pictures. The libretto is by Nikolai Volkov . Spartakus was premiered on December 27, 1956 by the ballet of the Kirov Theater in Leningrad , at today's Mariinsky Theater , in the choreography by Leonid Jakobson . A three-act version was choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich for the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow in 1968 . This version became generally accepted.

The ballet is based on the life of the Thracian gladiator Spartacus , whose slave revolt in 71 BC. In the south of the Italian peninsula and who was executed by crucifixion along with about 6000 other rebellious slaves. The love story between Spartacus and his wife Phrygia is interwoven with the political events. Another historical person appears as Spartacus' counterpart, the Roman general Crassus . He and his lover Aegina form the counterpart to Spartacus and Phrygia.

Spartacus is considered one of the most successful Soviet ballets. Shostakovich put Chatschaturjan's music on Spartakus above that of his other successful ballet Gayaneh : "The most valuable thing in this ballet is the tremendous expressiveness of the music, its persuasiveness and movement." (Translated by Eberhard Rebling ) . The music of the Pas de deux by Spartacus and Phrygia (Adagio) from the third act became particularly popular . The BBC used it as the theme music for the television series The Onedin Line .

Storyline (Bolshoi version from 1968)

first act

  1. introduction
  2. March of the gladiators
  3. Egyptian dancer
  4. Dance of the phrygia; separation
  5. Dance of the Greek slaves
  6. Scene and dance with the Crotales
  7. Etruscan dance
  8. Variation of Aegina and Bacchanal
  9. Battle of the androbats
  10. Death of the gladiator
  11. Revolt of the slaves
  12. Phrygias cheers

Second act

  1. Via Appia
  2. Dance of the Shepherd and the Shepherdess
  3. Variation of the slaves
  4. Dance on the shields
  5. Arrival of Spartacus and his report
  6. Farewell to Spartacus and Phrygia
  7. Introduction and nymph dance
  8. Aegina's dance
  9. Pas des deux: Aegina and Crassus
  10. adagio
  11. Crassus' dance
  12. Dance of the Gadinite girls and Spartacus' victory
  13. Battle of Spartacus against Crassus

Third act

  1. Scene Crassus and Aegina
  2. circus
  3. Pas des deux: Spartacus and Phrygia (Adagio)
  4. scene
  5. Enter Spartacus
  6. Enter the merchants
  7. Aegina's dance
  8. Dance together
  9. Controversy and betrayal of Harmodius
  10. Final fight
  11. Run of the Spartacus
  12. Spartacus' Death and Requiem