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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carlos Acosta - Spartacas, 9 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I bought this DVD because I saw Carlos Acosta perform this live at the London Coliseum. Anyone who was there that night and experienced the standing ovation at the end of the performance cannot fail to wish to capture the magic of that night. I am a ballet goer of (too) many seasons and this was the most phenomenal male performance I have ever seen.

DVD will never capture the live performance and you have to accept that. However, this is as good as you are going to get in terms of capturing Carlos's physical power. I have seen him in many Royal Ballet performances, but Spartacus surpassed them all.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus reinvented, 3 Jan. 2009
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Marc Haegeman "Marc Haegeman" (Gent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
In recent years Yuri Grigorovich's 1968 "Spartacus" had become something of a problem child in the Bolshoi Ballet's repertory. Ever since Irek Mukhamedov stopped dancing the title role, they had a hard time finding somebody to tackle it in a satisfactory way. With guest star Carlos Acosta they finally did.

Cuban-born Carlos Acosta learned the role in 2007 with legendary Spartacus interpreter Mikhail Lavrovsky and danced it to great success in Moscow before he conquered the London Coliseum as well as the Palais Garnier in Paris (where this film was shot) with it. By the dynamism of his dancing Acosta gives the ballet its vitality back, by the sincerity of his acting he invests the character with a meaning again, and by his technical brilliance he upgrades Grigorovich's choreography. It's been some time since we saw a Spartacus so full of anger and hatred, putting his whole being into his leap for freedom. Although differently, Acosta gives sense to the choreography just as much as it first interpreters did. "Spartacus" has long since ceased to be the Soviet propaganda piece it once could be taken for and although its interpreters continue to move on this same outsized, superhuman scale, an artist like Acosta remains above all a very human Spartacus with whom we, today, anywhere in the world, can completely associate with. As a performance it is utterly exciting as well as profoundly moving, and it's great to have it preserved on video.

"Spartacus" isn't completely saved, though, because Alexander Volchkov's Crassus remains far too meek and gentle to portray the unbalanced Roman despot who mercilessly crushes the rebels. On the other hand, the female leads of Phrygia and Aegina are still in safe hands with the current crop of Bolshoi ballerinas. The petite Nina Kaptsova is an excellent Phrygia, fragile and expressive, while Maria Allash is in her element as Aegina. The Bolshoi company performs for the rest with plenty of energy and conviction.

Filmed live in Paris at the Palais Garnier in January 2008, it's a shame that the Bolshoi's own orchestra wasn't used for this release. Pavel Klinichev conducts the Orchestra Colonne, which lacks conviction and energy and cannot hide its unfamiliarity with Khatchaturian's score.

Directed by Ross MacGibbon and shot by the French Bel Air Media team, close-ups are sparingly used and aren't too distracting. Bonus features include clips of studio rehearsals and interviews with Acosta, his co-stars Kaptsova, Allash and Volchkov, choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Alexei Ratmansky, and the Paris Opera Ballet's Brigitte Lefèvre. Acosta talks about his beginnings in Havana and his personal affinity with the role of the Thracian rebel.

All in all a fine new release. Collectors owning previous versions of the ballet with Vladimir Vasiliev and Irek Mukhamedov, can safely invest in it, as Acosta is a completely different Spartacus and on his own well worth the admission price.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus inherited, 19 Feb. 2009
By 
Jose Brito (Estoril,Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
When Grigorovich took the challenge of choreographing Khachaturian's Spartacus - who had searched the story of this rebelled slave in Appian and Plutarch,more than in Giovaniolli's novel as basis for his ballet score -he would be the third coreographer to do so,after Yakobson in 1956 and Moiseev,in 58.
In 1963 he finally staged this 3rd productin of Spartacus,for Bolshoi.The leading role does demand an exceptional physically gifted dancer in order to give life to the extremely violent choreography with its "jetés" and leap sequences,not to mention strength.Mikhail Lavrovsky,Vladimir Vasiliev and Irek Mukhamedov became legendary interpreters of Grigorovich's Spartacus.Two dancers,young Ivan Vasiliev - possibly one exceptional Spartacus to be - and cuban Carlos Acosta have the courage to dance the part,nowadays.
Carlos Acosta,internationally recognised ballet dancer,even foot injured,gives,live from Palais Garnier,an accurate interpretation of this demanding role,after Moscow and London.His generosity,his inner capability of giving the rebelious slave a soul through dancing,is absolutely remarkable,and technically too,though injured as I previously said.
His partenaire Kaptsova is neither Semenyaka nor Bessmertnova but portrays a fragile,tender Phrygia.
Allash's Aegina,quite convincing,follows Bilova's steps who danced the two Mukhamedov versions.The weakest part is Volshkov's Crassus,for far from being a cruel despot the role requires, is galaxies away from Vetrov's or Taranda's energic,violent dancing.The orchestra plays proficiently.The Bolshoi corps,alas,does not bear the masculine quality male Bolshoi dancers used to have...I did think of majorettes,once or twice.
The filming is excellent,the blu-ray DVD image exceptional.Still,Vasiliev and Mukhamedov remain unsurpassed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 4 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
As he said in his interview, Carlos Acosta put his life, his hardships and his experiences into Spartacus. He was a slave and he was driven to bring freedom to his fellow slaves. He was 35 when he danced the part and probably at the peak of his emotional and physical abilities. I thought his portrayal of Spartacus so human and so moving and when he smiles we feel blessed. I found the portrayal of Crassus clever. He showed his rages and his madness. Allash was a magnificent Aegina, proud, sexy but never crossed the line. For me the weekness was Kaptsova as Phrygia. She maybe a beautiful dancer but her fault was that she could not bare to touch the sweaty body of Acosta. She always carefully placed her hand on his body taking away any show of passion for him. Altogether it was an outstanding production with a corp de ballet to match.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely splendid. The most exciting performance of 'Spartacus' I've ever seen., 29 May 2014
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P. Eaves "writer" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This DVD held me spellbound throughout. Acosta is Spartacus, his dancing is superb, as are all the other performers. Altogether a wonderful production which I shall watch again and again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate in MEN DANCING!, 11 Aug. 2011
By 
Cherry Radford (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
The ultimate in men dancing! And that's what you need to be for this incredibly arduous lead role: a MAN (I read somewhere that it has them vomiting in the wings). I saw young Ivan Vasiliev as Spartacus - stunning. But Carlos is also superb, bringing something personal to the role.

Passionate dancing, an exciting and heartrending story, Khachaturian's divine music: a fabulous night in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My preferred ballet!!, 18 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
The ballet company performance is just breathtaking! It is a beautiful performance.
I like costumes, decors, everything is perfect. The story is clear and easy to follow.
Great job!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent production, 9 Jan. 2015
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Andy B (Wellington, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Excellent production values and extras on DVD made this a great choice in lieu of seeing the star himself perform live.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus, 3 Mar. 2011
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J. Staveley "Madbard" (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Absolutely brilliant - Carlos Acosta the perfect Spartacus and supported by the wonderful Bolshoi. I will definitely be watching this again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Acosta is superb, 23 Aug. 2014
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Mrs. D. King - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
A magnificent ballet and perfect for Carlos Acosta. Glad I have it in my collection.
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Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008]
Spartacus: The Bolshoi Ballet [DVD] [2008] by Khachaturian (DVD - 2008)
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