Time for Heroes

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 yesterday’s opening performance of Spartacus, they are here to show off their characteristically big and bold style of ballet. Spartacus is a spectacle of grand scale, a thrilling combination of physical power and drama. Last seen in London in 2007, when Carlos Acosta guested with the company in the leading role, this larger than life Soviet warhorse needs an explosive performance at its core. Now with 21 year-old Ivan Vasiliev the company has found someone who can soar through the stage in impressive leaps but also pack an intense emotional punch.

Ivan Vasiliev as Spartacus. Photo: Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theatre ©

Spartacus is the balletic equivalent of a big Hollywood epic. Think Gladiatorial rings, orgies and bloody battles danced to Khachaturian’s grand cinematic score. It demands from its dancers not only solid technique but a clear understanding of drama and narrative through dance. The lead Vasiliev knows this and creates a slave hero that incites his followers and audiences alike. We feel Spartacus’s journey, the iconic freedom fighter becomes real, his struggle and determination expressed through an infinite sequence of jaw-dropping jumps. Vasiliev is well matched in Alexander Volchkov‘s narcissistic Crassus, who contrasted Vasiliev’s vigour and muscle with elegant lines. Nina Kaptsova‘s Phrygia, the hero’s suffering wife gave a vivid performance, full of pathos and fragility [...]

Read the full review at Bachtrack

Her favourite ballets feel like good books – one can see them 1,000 times and they always feel fresh. Linda loves Giselle, all full-length MacMillan plus Song of the Earth, Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering, Balanchine’s Serenade and Agon, Ashton’s Scènes de Ballet and Symphonic Variations.


  • August 9, 2010

    Bolshoi in London Roundup

    [...] Spartacus (Vasiliev/Kaptsova/Allash) [...]

  • July 27, 2010


    We sympathise as we also had to revise our tickets when the cast changes were announced. In my case I actually had to stay put with my tickets, as there was no way I could afford additional ones given the availability. Unfortunately Russian companies are known for doing these sort of last minute u-turns and definitely when touring, they should give additional consideration to foreign audiences who are paying £60 or more per ticket to see a specific cast.

  • July 26, 2010

    clive burton

    Greatly enjoying the Bolshoi season this year, but at £100 ticket am perturbed to see that the latest cast changes are making it less than likely we shall see Vasiliev
    in performancs we booked months ago to ensure we did! I appreciate the vicissitudes of casting caused by injury etc but, nonetheless, this is an expensive way to be penalised for early booking. And, of course, demand is such that there is now little hope of obtaining a ticket for his revised dates.

  • July 23, 2010

    Fell in Love with a Girl

    [...] of thirties success Laurencia (more on that later) and now the Bolshoi follows their opener Spartacus with something, in my opinion, far more interesting and entertaining: Sergei Vikharev’s [...]