SPARTACUS

Ballet in three acts and twelve scenes - 1968

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

Premiere at 22. December 2016

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.