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  1. It's far too late to be writing on the forum but I still haven't come down from seeing the first performance of Spartacus tonight (or rather, last night!) It was superb. It's a long while since I saw it (with Irek Mukhemadov in the nineties) and this production seemed very different. I was expecting to be dazzled by the quality of the dancing but was surprised at how moving it was. Denis Rodkin was not only bold, brave and athletic but also tragic and convincing in his love for Phrygia, played with vulnerability and passion by Anastasia Denisova (of whom I've not heard before). Belyakov enacted Crassus in an appropriately bombastic manner, and took full advantage of being able to snog Svetlana Zakharova at every opportunity Zakharova was just wonderful. I always think of her as rather sweet, dignified and virginal (as in her Aurora) but here she embodied a cruel and cunning courtesan with every well-honed muscle. She was probably the oldest dancer on stage but also the most lithe. Of course, this ballet is a typical Bolshoi warhorse and suits their style perfectly. The production is ageing well - I think Virsaladze's design still looks fresh (whereas his Swan Lake could do with an update maybe). The orchestra was seriously good. Every male dancer looked extraordinarily handsome - especially Denis Rodkin! And he seemed to enjoy his time on stage so much. He was captivating. The whole evening was beautiful and worth the ticket price (£180 something pounds!) as I will remember it for the rest of my life.
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