Music- Ludwig Minkus
Libretto by Marius Petipa, based on Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha
Choreography- Marius Petipa, Alexander Gorsky
Adapted by Valentin Grishchenko
Costumes designer- Yulia Zhuravlyova
Stage designer- Maksim Ushakov
Light designer- Maksim Kuroshou
Ballet in two acts.
Running Time: 2 hours (1 intermission).
Premiere: December 14, 1869, Bolshoi Theater, Moscow.
In 1869, choreographer Marius Petipa approached composer Ludwig Minkus with a proposal to create the musical accompaniment for a new ballet, Don Quixote. Despite the name of the ballet, Don Quixote himself is a supporting character. Petipa envisioned the scenario as an adaption of chapters 18 and 19 of the second volume of Miguel de Cervantes’s novel, which describe the might-have-been wedding of wealthy Gamache and the beautiful Kitri, who was in love with Basilio, a country boy.
Ludwig Minkus was a renowned ballet composer, a true master of his trade. His leg-shaking, ear-pleasing music sparkled like champagne. Petipa seized upon the mood of his music and brought that cheerfulness to life in various Spanish and Gypsy dances, which he adapted to classic ballet. The ballet was first staged on December 14, 1869 at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater.
Don Quixote is a bright, festive production that has become a true ballet classic. A captivating plot, rousing music, passionate national dances, the formidable classical steps of the main characters, the grandiose set, and sumptuous costumes will impress viewers of any age.
Inspired by chivalry novels, Don Quixote decides to go roaming to glorify the name of Dulcinea, his ideal woman, with incredible feats. He chooses his servant Sancho Panza, a sober and hardheaded man, as his squire, and sets off on his adventure.
People are making merry at Lorenzo’s inn in a Spanish town square. Kitri, the beautiful daughter of the innkeeper, is flirting with the barber Basilio, who is in love with her. Having spotted the couple together, Lorenzo drives Basilio away, as he is convinced that barber is no match for his daughter. He wants Kitri to marry the wealthy nobleman Gamache instead.
The crowd greets a street dancer and Espada, a toreador. But what creates commotion in the crowd is the appearance of Don Quixote and his squire at the square. Don Quixote notices Lorenzo and takes him for the lord of a castle, so he greets Lorenzo respectfully. The innkeeper returns the greeting and invites Don Quixote to dine. Left at the square, chubby Sancho is surrounded by women that make fun of him. When Don Quixote sees Kitri, he takes her for Dulcinea and falls into an enchanted sleep. He dreams that he is in a fantastic garden and Dulcinea, his ideal woman, is encircled by dryads and cupids. Sancho finds his master and wakes Don Quixote, who is deep in his dreams. A gypsy woman dances around them.
Meanwhile, the merriment in the square continues, but Kitri has escaped hand in hand with Basilio. Lorenzo, Gamache, and Don Quixote pursue them.
Young adults make merry in the tavern. Kitri and Basilio are among them, and they are found by Lorenzo, Gamache, and Don Quixote. Lorenzo insists that Kitri accept Gamache’s marriage proposal. But Basilio fakes his own suicide, leaving Kitri sobbing over the “corpse” of her beloved. Don Quixote accuses Lorenzo of cruelty, and, threatening him with his sword, forces him to give his consent to the marriage of Kitri and the “late” barber. Suddenly, Basilio comes back to life – there’s no reason to pretend any longer.
The town celebrates Kitri and Basilio’s wedding. The townspeople make merry and dance, challenging each other in their dexterity and beauty. Kitri and Basilio perform their dance with grace, charm, and love.
Don Quixote congratulates the couple. He and Sancho Panza bid farewell to all and they depart for new adventures.