Our review of a thrilling first night with the Bolshoi Ballet, Spartacus and the mighty Ivan Vasiliev, which we wrote for Classical Music website Bachtrack:
The Bolshoi are back in town and, judging from yesterdayâ€™s openingÂ performance of Spartacus, they are here to show off their characteristicallyÂ big and bold style of ballet. Spartacus is a spectacle of grand scale, aÂ thrilling combination of physical power and drama. Last seen in London inÂ 2007, when Carlos Acosta guested with the company in the leading role, thisÂ larger than life Soviet warhorse needs an explosive performance at its core.Â Now with 21 year-old Ivan Vasiliev the company has found someone who canÂ soar through the stage in impressive leaps but also pack an intenseÂ emotional punch.
Spartacus is the balletic equivalent of a big Hollywood epic. ThinkÂ Gladiatorial rings, orgies and bloody battles danced to Khachaturianâ€™s grandÂ cinematic score. It demands from its dancers not only solid technique but aÂ clear understanding of drama and narrative through dance. The lead VasilievÂ knows this and creates a slave hero that incites his followers and audiencesÂ alike. We feel Spartacusâ€™s journey, the iconic freedom fighter becomes real,Â his struggle and determination expressed through an infinite sequence ofÂ jaw-dropping jumps. Vasiliev is well matched in Alexander Volchkov‘sÂ narcissistic Crassus, who contrasted Vasiliev’s vigour and muscle withÂ elegant lines. Nina Kaptsova‘s Phrygia, the hero’s suffering wife gave aÂ vivid performance, full of pathos and fragility [...]
Read the full review at Bachtrack