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Khachaturian - Spartacus / Lisa Pavane, Australian Ballet

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

'The Australian Ballet production is a Roman epic with many spectacular elements.' The Herald

A powerful and moving work, Spartacus shows episodes from an uprising of slaves in ancient Rome. The dramatic effects of this action are played out by those chiefly concerned: Spartacus, leader of the revolt; his wife Flavia; and Crassus, commander of the Roman army.

Featuring: Lisa Pavane, Steven Heathcote, Greg Horsman, Adam Marchant, Robert Marshall, Stephen Morgante, Ulrike, Fiona Tonkin

Music: Aram Khachaturian
Scenario, Choreography and Production by Laszlo Seregi
Guest Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins with the State Orchestra of Victoria


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Aram Khachaturian, Lisa Pavane, Steven Heathcote
  • Directors: Lindesay Dresdon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KULTUR VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017HEYBQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,882 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph L. Ponessa on November 22, 2008
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
When this disc arrived I saw Ross MacGibbon credited as the video producer, and cringed: Oh, no, not the man who demolished Swan Lake at the Mariinsky! My expectations rose a bit when I thought that Khachaturian's musical language and Grigorovich's dance language might lend itself to quick cutting better.
It turns out that MacGibbon clearly knows and loves the Spartacus ballet, and respects the flow of the music and dance. Ironically, his cutting is much more conservative with this modern piece. Still there are too many half shots, which are totally unnecessary when blu-ray lets the details be seen without close-up.
In a 2001 interview, MacGibbon insists that eight cameras are an absolute minimum for filming a ballet. (Having eight, of course, does not meaning having to use each of them all of the time.) Actually, if I may presume to differ, the absolute minimum is one camera. Wouldn't it be nice if a ballet disc used the "angle" feature and gave the option of viewing the entire stage through the whole program?
MacGibbon has filmed Carlos Acosta, the excellent visiting lead dancer, before, in the Nureyev production of Don Quixote at Covent Garden in 2001. The Russians principals and corps de ballet portray both slaves and patricians with just the right touch, but Acosta brings a different feel to the lead role. As a Cuban he brings out a different dimension of the tale and universalizes it. MacGibbon seems to understands what Acosta is aiming at and helps to liberate his concept.
Anyway, I am so glad that MacGibbon does not hate ballet after all. Maybe he just has no sympathy for swans.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
In April 2007 I wrote a very short comment on the ArtHouse DVD recorded at the Bolshoi Theater on 1990. I was then hoping for a new version with surround sound and High Definition. This time I got my wish and much more. This BluRay Disc was recorded with the Bolshoi dancers and the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta in Paris in 2008. The choreography and scenography are the same as the 1990 production but, new technology and the passionate dancing makes it this Disc a real work of art to be enjoyed by all. If you have seen any old and new versions of Spartacus films you will appreciate and enjoy this ballet even if you have never seen a ballet before.
This Grigorovich production is 40 years old. It was created under a totally different political oversight in the Soviet Union. Although the political landscape has changed, the same production is used today with the exceptional results you can see. This, may be, goes to show that art creation can not be subdued to one political will, even when the pressure is immense.
I strongly recommend this Disc to ballet connoisseurs and to first timers. The passion the dancers put into their dance and their acting is so strong, and the music so perfect and beautiful, you will be completely totally immersed in the performance.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first reviewer of this DVD, Hawkeye, essentially criticizes and condemns this Australian Ballet production of Spartacus for not being the Bolshoi production with choreography by Yuri Grigorovich. It uses, instead, a version created by Laszlo Seregi in 1968, which is interesting in part precisely because it is so different from the familiar Grigorovich. The Bolshoi version, like the Australian one, is based on a fictionalized account (the Bolshoi, on a novel by Rafaello Giovagnoli, the Australian on one by Howard Fast). However, the Bolshoi version makes the story somewhat abstract; the four principal characters dance monologues, and duets (Spartacus with Phrygia, Crassus with Aegina); otherwise, they are contrasted with groups, that they encourage, lead into battle (or lead in orgies), reluctantly dance with, or lose control of, but do not interact with. In addition, I would venture to say that the Bolshoi version by itself does not make important story elements very clear; you need to read the playnotes for that. The Australian-Seregi version, on the other hand, almost never allows Spartacus or Crassus to be alone; they are always interacting, Spartacus with his fellow rebel leaders and with Flavia, Crassus with his companions. (The story is also much clearer and, I would say, more engagingly conveyed.) At the same time, the Australian dancers do fine jobs as actors--whereas in the Russian version the acting tends to be a bit...one-toned...--and so the overall effect of the Australian performance is a dance version of the story that I personally find more compelling and dramatic. --The reviewer mentioned above reproaches the Australian-Seregi version for not incuding the climactic hand-to-hand between Spartacus and Crassus.Read more ›
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Format: Blu-ray
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.
Read more ›
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