Information

Ballet in three acts and twelve scenes - 1968

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

Sunday, 07. March 2021
06:00 pm – 08:50 pm
Nationaltheater

from the age of 12 years up

Duration est. 2 hours 50 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 06:00 pm - 06:40 pm ) · Interval (est. 06:40 pm - 07:10 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 07:10 pm - 07:45 pm ) · Interval (est. 07:45 pm - 08:05 pm ) · 3. Akt (est. 08:05 pm - 08:50 pm )

Family Performance · Children's Introductory Event: 05:15 PM

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Prices H , € 88 / 77 / 63 / 50 / 35 / 23 / 11 / 8

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Premiere at 22. December 2016

#BSBspartacus

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Cast

Choreography
Yuri Grigorovich
Conductor
Karen Durgaryan
Set Design
Simon Virsaladze

Spartacus
N.N.
Crassus
N.N.
Phrygia
N.N.
Aegina
N.N.
Gladiator
N.N.
  • Soloists and corps de ballet of the Bavarian State Ballet
  • 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: Bildergalerie

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

Spartacus: Osiel Gouneo (Spartacus) (Foto: © Wilfried Hösl) ...
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SPARTACUS: Bildergalerie

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

Invasion
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.

Act III
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
Dissension
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.

Requiem
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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Biographies

Yuri Grigorovichs ballets dominate the repertory of contemporary works, and his stagings of the classic ballets reflect his personal taste arid his often-stated conviction that drama must always infuse and be expressed through dancing.

Yuri Nikolaievich Grigorovich was born in what was then Leningrad on January 2nd, 1927. His uncle George Rozai, was a character dancer who appeared with Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes and his mother, Klaudia Rozai, trained at the ballet school with Semvonova. Many of his family were circus artists and young Yuri was fascinated by the world of the circus, but soon lost his heart to the dance. He describes it as "a love affair that has lasted all my life."

He trained at the Leningrad Choreographic School and along with the other pupils was evacuated to Perm during World War II. He tried to run away (by canoe!) to get to the front but was brought back and eventually graduated in 1946. He joined the Kirov Ballet where he excelled in character roles. His favorite was that of the virtuoso warrior leader Nurali, who can be so sensational in the last act of The Fountain of Bakhchisarai.

But he was already, in his formative years, keen to try his hand at choreography and in 1956 was allowed to arrange a ballet to Glinka‘s Valse-Fantasie for a graduation performance at the Kirov School.

His first major work, undertaken despite the fact that another version already existed in Moscow, was The Stone Flower, to the Prokofiev score which was first performed at the Kirov on April 27, 1957. It marked the first collaboration between Grigorovich and the artist Simon Virsaladze, a man of great culture from Tbilisi, who was to design all his subsequent ballets. In addition to their working partnership they also were the greatest of friends, a relationship that was only broken by Virsaladze‘s death in 1989, at the age of eighty.

Grigorovich was named ballet master at the Kirov in 1962 but subsequently transferred to Moscow and to the Bolshoi in 1964. Grigorovich was Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet for the following 30 years, a tenure in ballet rivaled only by the founding director of the New York City Ballet, George Balanchine and Germany’s John Neumeier, who indeed reigns now more than 40 years. During Grigorovich‘s term at the Bolshoi, he staged Spartacus by Khachaturian (1968), Ivan the Terrible by Prokofiev (Moscow, 1975; Paris, 1977), Angara by Eshpai (1976), Romeo and Juliet bv Prokofiev (Paris, 1978; Moscow, 1979), The Golden Age by Shostakovich (1982). Yuri Grigorovich revised classical masterpieces for the Bolshoi Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty (1963), The Nutcracker (1966), Swan Lake (1969) by Tchaikovsky; Raymonda by Glazunov (1984), La Bayadere (1991), La Fille Mal Gardee (1993) by Hertel, Don Quixote (1995) by Minkus.

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