Spartacus is the dramatic story of the leader of a band of slaves uprising against cruel Roman rule.


The military machine of imperial Rome, led by the Roman consul, Crassus, wages a cruel campaign of conquest, destroying everything in its path. Among the chained prisoners doomed to slavery are Thracian king, Spartacus and his wife, Phrygia. Spartacus is in despair. Born a free man, he is now a slave in chains.

At the slave market, the men and women prisoners are separated for sale to rich Romans and Spartacus is parted from a grief-stricken Phrygia, who is destined to join Crassus’ harem.

At Crassus’ palace, mimes and courtesans entertain the guests, making fun of new slave, Phrygia. Drunk with wine and passion, Crassus demands a spectacle. Two gladiators are forced to fight to the death in helmets with closed visors. When the victor’s helmet is removed, it is Spartacus, and he has killed his friend, Hermes.

In despair, Spartacus decides he will no longer tolerate captivity and incites the gladiators to revolt.

Bolshoi Ballet's Spartacus Act I


Having broken out of their captivity, Spartacus’ followers call the local shepherds to join the uprising. Spartacus is proclaimed their leader, however he is haunted by the thought of Phrygia’s fate as a slave and he is drawn back to Crassus’ villa to find her.

Crassus is at his villa, celebrating his victories, however the festivities are cut short when Spartacus and his men break into the villa. Spartacus engages Crassus in combat and is at the point of killing him when, with a gesture of contempt, Spartacus lets Crassus go.

Bolshoi Ballet's Spartacus Act II


Crassus is tormented by his disgrace. Fanning his hurt pride, his concubine, Aegina calls on him to take revenge.

Spartacus and Phrygia are happy to be together. But suddenly his military commanders bring the news that Crassus is on the move with a large army. Spartacus decides to go into battle but, overcome by cowardice, some of his warriors desert their leader. Spartacus’ forces are surrounded by the Roman legions. Spartacus’s devoted friends perish in unequal combat. Spartacus fights on fearlessly but, closing in on the wounded hero, the Roman soldiers crucify him on their spears. Phrygia retrieves Spartacus’ body from the battle field. She mourns her beloved and appeals to the heavens that the memory of Spartacus lives forever.

Bolshoi Ballet's Spartacus Act III

Libretto by Yuri Grigorovich
after the novel of the same name by Raffaello Giovagnolli,
ideas from the scenario by Nikolai Volkov
Choreographer: Yuri Grigorovich
Designer: Simon Virsaladze
Music Director: Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

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Queensland Government’s RAP Acknowledgment of Country