Spartacus (Bolshoi Ballet/Covent Garden) 21 July

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Ivan Vasiliev and Nina Kaptsova--they were jolly good

We certainly enjoyed our visit to ‘Spartacus’, with some extremely impressive, energetic and manly dancing from Ivan Vasiliev as Spartacus and some extremely camp Roman soldiers as well.  Nina Kaptsova was also very touching as Phrygia, but in expectation of extended passages of manly dancing from er, men, the hall was about 80% occupied by women, and quite young ones at that–the girls in the row behind us even got interested enough to give over their conversation after a while in favour of following the action.

We got to hear Khachaturian’s big tune quite enough times to have it firmly imprinted on our memory, while my companion wanted to know why the evil music for the evil Romans was vaguely Oriental in character.  I suppose that for an Armenian ‘evil’ must have suggested ‘Turkish’.  The orchestra (conductor Pavel Sorokin) played very well and, most importantly, as though they believed in the music.

This performance certainly impressed me a great deal more than the only other time I’d seen the ballet, which must have been on a previous Bolshoi appearance in London–I think that Vasiliev was a great deal more impressive than whoever was Spartacus then, and also rather less encumbered by clothing.

Afterwards I heard from a friend who had also been at this performance, and she thought it had been ‘rather long (3 x 45 min)’–can’t say that I agree, but then I wasn’t standing!

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