Bolshoi tour features the classicsLike the name “Bolshoi,” which means “big” in Russian, the Bolshoi Ballet wowed Seoul with a large-scale production of “Spartacus” when they first came to Korea in 1992.
Expectations are high for their return performance next week as the Bolshoi puts up the masculine masterpiece again at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. Russian dancer Dmitri Belogolovtsev will perform the character of Spartacus.
Aram Khachaturyan’s “Spartacus” is about an uprising in Rome in the 1st century B.C. A slave named Spartacus organizes a rebellion with other slave gladiators after he and his wife, Phrygia, are forcibly separated at a slave market. However, he faces a dramatic death, as a Roman general Crassus defeats Spartacus and his fellow gladiators.
The performance has several critically acclaimed scenes including the march of the Roman army, the orgy at Crassus’s palace and the tragic death of Spartacus as his body is hoisted into the air while multiple spears attack him at once.
The dance Spartacus and Phrygia do together is graceful, while a dance by Aegina, who is Crassus’s young mistress, hints at a rather languid sensuality.
The last Bolshoi performance here 13 years ago changed the popular conception among Koreans about ballet. In the performance of “Spartacus”, dozens of male dancers moved powerfully on stage, spurting with an energy that shattered the common notion that ballet is feminine and unfolds slowly.
However, the Bolshoi Ballet will open this Seoul tour with Adolphe Adam’s decidedly feminine “Giselle” on Oct. 5, and perform “Spartacus” later in the series.
“Giselle” is a romantic classic among ballet performances. It features a young girl named Giselle who falls in love with a handsome man. There is a mime scene in the first act to express the complicated feelings she goes through as she dates him. Then she is crushed upon the discovery that the man has betrayed her.
The second act features one of the most common ballet steps called “Pas de bourree,” in which the dancers make a series of tiny steps that give the impression of them gliding across the floor. “Giselle” was the first ballet to make these steps known.
Svetlana Zakharova, principal ballerina of the Bolshoi will perform the character of Giselle.
by Lee Min-a
“Giselle” will play from Oct. 5 to 7, and “Spartacus” on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. Tickets cost from 50,000 won ($49) to 250,000 won ($241). Reservations can be made at: 1588-7890.