Ballet in three acts and twelve scenes - 1968

Choreography Yuri Grigorovich · Composer Aram Chatschaturjan · Libretto based on the novel by Raffaello Gionagnolli

Thursday, 22. December 2016
07:00 pm – 09:50 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 50 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 07:00 pm - 07:38 pm ) · Interval (est. 07:38 pm - 08:08 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 08:08 pm - 08:43 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:43 pm - 09:03 pm ) · 3. Akt (est. 09:03 pm - 09:48 pm )

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Premiere at 22. December 2016


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Karen Durgaryan
Yuri Grigorovich
Set Design
Simon Virsaladze
Aram Chatschaturjan

Erik Murzagaliyev
Osiel Gouneo
Ivy Amista
Natalia Osipova
  • Ensemble of the Bayerisches Staatsballett
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
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SPARTACUS: Bildergalerie

Spartacus: Jonah Cook (Crassus), Ensemble (Foto: © Wilfried...
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SPARTACUS: Bildergalerie

Spartacus: Ivy Amista (Phrygia) (Foto: © Wilfried Hösl) ...
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SPARTACUS: Bildergalerie

Spartacus: Maria Shirinkina (Phrygia) (Foto: © Wilfried...
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SPARTACUS: Bildergalerie

Spartacus: Osiel Gouneo (Spartacus) (Foto: © Wilfried Hösl) ...
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Spartacus: Jonah Cook (Crassus), Ensemble (Foto: © Wilfried...
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Spartacus: Osiel Gouneo (Spartacus) (Foto: © Wilfried Hösl) ...
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Spartacus: Ensemble (Foto: © Wilfried Hösl)
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Spartacus is about the Thracian gladiator Spartacus, who initiated a slave uprising in 71 BC, to fight against oppression and for their freedom. The political story is mingled with the love story of Spartacus and his wife Phrygia.

The Bayerische Staatsballett was the first Western European company to present Yuri Grigorovich’s Spartacus in 2016. With this piece, the company adds another production to its repertoire which set standards in ballet history even though its dance aesthetic is hardly known in Western Europe: the rhythms remember marches and underline the strong, energetic steps, which require not only in the solo parts the most brilliant technique and highest of condition.

The music from Aram Chatschaturjan is just as overwhelming as the topic of the epic itself. Schostakowitsch once said about the composition: “The most precious thing in this ballet is the expressiveness of the music, its persuasive power and agility.” The music was popular not only in theatres: The melody from the pas de deux of Spartacus and Phrygia (Adagio) was used by the BBC as theme melody for the TV series The Onedin Line.


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Act I
Scene 1

The military machine of imperial Rome, led by Crassus, wages a cruel campaign of conquest, destroying everything in its path. Among the chained prisoners, who are doomed to slavery, are Spartacus and Phrygia.

Spartacus's Monologue
Spartacus is in despair. Born a free man, he is now a slave in chains.

Scene 2
The Slave Market
Slave dealers separate the men and women prisoners for sale to rich Romans. Spartacus is parted from Phrygia.

Phrygia's Monologue
Phrygia is overcome with grief. She thinks with horror of the terrifying ordeals that lie ahead of her.

Scene 3
Orgy at Crassus's Palace
Mimes and courtesans entertain the guests, making fun of Phrygia, Crassus's new slave. Aegina draws Crassus into a frenzied, bacchanalian dance. Drunk with wine and passion, Crassus demands a spectacle. Two gladiators are to fight to death in helmets with closed visors, i.e. without seeing each other. The victor's helmet is removed. It is Spartacus.

Spartacus's Monologue
Against his will, Spartacus has been forced to murder a fellow man. His despair develops into anger and protest. He will no longer tolerate captivity. He has but one choice of action - to win back his freedom.

Scene 4
The Gladiators' Barracks
Spartacus incites the gladiators to revolt. They swear an oath of loyalty to him and, of one accord, break their manacles and flee from Rome.

Act II
Scene 5

The Appian Way
Having broken out of their captivity and finding themselves on Appian Way, surrounded by shepherds, Spartacus's followers call the latter to join the uprising. Shepherds and populace proclaim Spartacus as their leader.

Spartacus's Monologue
The thought of Phrygia's fate as a slave gives Spartacus no peace. He is haunted by memories of his loved one whom he thinks of day and night.

Scene 6
Crasuss's Villa
His search for Phrygia leads Spartacus to Crassus's villa. The two lovers are overjoyed at their reunion. But, due to the arrival of a procession of patricians, led by Aegina, they are forced to hide.

Aegina's Monologue
Aegina has long dreamed of seducing and gaining power over Crassus. Her goal is to win him and thereby gain legal admittance to the world of the Roman nobility.

Scene 7
Feast at Crasuss's Villa
Crassus celebrates his victories. The patricians sing his praises. The festivities are cut short by an alarming piece of news: Spartacus and his men have all but surrounded the villa. The panic-stricken guests disperse. Crassus and Aegina are also forced to flee. Spartacus breaks into the villa.

Spartacus's Monologue
Victory! It elates him and fills him with faith that the uprising will be successful. Victory!

Scene 8
Spartacus's Victory
Spartacus's men have taken Crassus prisoner and want to kill him, but Spartacus is not bent on revenge and suggests that they should engage in single-handed combat. Crassus accepts the challenge and suffers defeat: Spartacus knocks the sword out of his hand. Crassus makes ready demonstratively to meet his death, but Spartacus, with a gesture of contempt, let's him go. That all shall know of Crassus's dishonor is punishment enough. The jubilant insurgents praise the victory of Spartacus.

Scene 9

Crassus Takes His revenge
Crassus is tormented by his disgrace. Fanning his hurt pride, Aegina calls on him to take his revenge. There is only one way forward - death to the insurgents. Crassus summons his legions. Aegina sees him off to battle.

Aegina's Monologue
Spartacus is Aegina's enemy too. The defeat of Crassus will be her downfall. Aegina devises a perfidious plan - she will sew dissension in Spartacus's encampment.

Scene 10
Spartacus's Encampment
Spartacus and Phrygia are happy to be together. But suddenly his military commanders bring news that Crassus is on the move with a large army. Spartacus decides to give battle but, overcome by cowardice, some of his warriors desert their leader.

Scene 11
Aegina infiltrates the ranks of the traitors who, though they have abandoned Spartacus, might still be persuaded to go with him. Together with the courtesans she seduces the men with wine and erotic dances and, as a result, they throw all caution to the winds. Having lured the traitors into a trap, Aegina hands them over to Crassus.

Spartacus's Monologue
Crassus is consumed by the wish for revenge. Spartacus shall pay with his death for the humiliation that he, Crassus, was forced to undergo.

Scene 12
The Last Battle
Spartacus's forces are surrounded by the Roman legions. Spartacus's devoted friends perish in unequal combat. Spartacus fights on fearlessly right up to the bitter end but, closing in on the wounded hero, the Roman soldiers crucify him on their spears.

Phrygia retrieves Spartacus's body from the battle field. She mourns her beloved, her grief is inconsolable. Raising her arms skywards, Phrygia appeals to the heavens that the memory of Spartacus live forever...

The Bayerisches Staatsballett is the first Western European company to dance Yuri Grigorovich’s Spartacus, which he created in 1968 for the Bolshoi Ballet and is seen as historic milestone in the history of the Soviet ballet. The premier in Munich fits into the concept of presenting productions that set standards to ballet history.

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First Soloist

Erik Murzagaliyev was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He started training at the State Ballet School of Almaty. He was a trainee at the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet Almaty in the season 2007/2008. During 2009/2010 he was a member of the Cinevox Junior Company. In the season 2010/2011 he danced as a Trainee with the Bayerisches Staatsballett. From the 2011/2012 season until the 2015 he was Corps de ballet dancer with the Company. He was promoted to Soloist rank in the season 2015/2016, to First Soloist rank with the beginning of the season 2017/2018. With the end of the 2017/18 season Erik Murzagaliyev left the Bayerisches Staatsballett. (Information as of July 2018)

Debuts with the Bayerisches Staatsballett

Broken Fall (R. Maliphant)
BIPED (M. Cunningham)
Paris in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Spiral Pass (R. Maliphant)
Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream (J. Neumeier)
Lucien in Paquita (M. Petipa/A. Ratmansky)
Conrad in Le Corsaire (M. Petipa/I. Liška)
Soloist 1st movement in Symphony in C (G. Balanchine)
Adam is (A. Barton), creation
For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. A piece by Pina Bausch (P. Bausch)
Gladiator/Spartan with the stick in Spartacus (Y. Grigorovich)
Crassus in Spartacus (Y. Grigorovich)
White-Swan-Pas de deux from Swanlake (M. Petipa/L. Iwanow)
Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Solor in La Bayadère (M. Petipa/P. Bart)
Theseus / Oberon in A Midsummer Night´s Dream (J. Neumeier)
Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Alexej Karenin in Anna Karenina (C. Spuck)
Don Quijote in Don Quijote (R. Barra/L. Minkus)
Onegin in Onegin (J. Cranko)
Dancer in Kairos und Sunyata - Portrait Wayne McGregor (W. McGregor)
Retinue of Andreas II in Raymonda (R. Barra, M. Petipa)

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