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Don Quixote

Choreography Rudolf Nurejew

28. June 2023
Wednesday
2 intermissions
Pre-order tickets

Cast 28.06.2023

Musical Direction Robert Reimer
Choreography Rudolf Nurejew
Music Ludwig Minkus arrangiert von John Lanchbery
Scenery and Costume Design Nicholas Georgiadis
Lighting Design Marc Anrochte
Staging Florence Clerc

Details

Miguel de Cervantes’s famous epic about the tragic knight who sets off into the world with his servant Sancho Panza to fight the wrongs of society and mistook a windmill for a dangerous enemy or dreams of being swept off to a magic garden in the kingdom of the Dryads, was turned into a ballet by Marius Petipa in 1869 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

In 1966, Rudolf Nureyev chose to focus on the turbulent love story of Kitri and Basil – whom Don Quixote helps to unite despite her father’s resistance – in his Don Quixote in Vienna, creating an opulent story ballet with highly demanding dances, precise characterisation and colourful scenes full of Spanish flavour that succeeded in bringing together what were then two competing worlds of ballet: Soviet virtuosity was combined a story that was told in a coherent, dramaturgical form.

The ballet remained in the Vienna repertoire for almost 20 years, from its world premiere until 1985, with Nureyev himself regularly taking to role of Basil. In 2011, Manuel Legris, who had danced several roles in the production in Paris, brought it back to where it had been created in a scrupulously worked reconstruction. Now Nureyev’s comedy ballet, which is a calling card for any company with the extreme technical demands it makes of the dancers, can once again be seen with the Vienna State Ballet from 2023.


PROLOGUE

Don Quixote’s study

Don Quixote, a country gentleman, believes himself to be a valiant knight straight out of the country romances which are his favourite reading. As he dreams, Dulcinea, the heroine of these stories and his vision of the ideal woman, appears to him. But his neighbour Sancho Panza, chased by servants from whom he has stolen a chicken, enters and disturbs his day-dreams. Don Quixote decides to make Sancho Panza into his knightly companion, and together they leave to take on the world.

ACT 1

A public square in Barcelona

Kitri, the daughter of Lorenzo, the innkeeper, searches in the crowd for her beloved, Basil the barber. Her joyous dancing is interrupted by her father who, wanting her to marry the rich and noble Gamache, repulses Basil. Kitri determinedly refuses this proposed marriage, but the arrival of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza puts an end to their argument. Lorenzo offers his hospitality to the knight and invites him to his inn. Sancho Panza is a little too attentive to the girls and is teased and manhandled by the young people until Don Quixote comes to his rescue. When Don Quixote sees Kitri, he believes her to be his adored Dulcinea. Gallantly, he offers her his arm for a minuet. Gamache is furious. Kitri and Basil take advantage of the confusion to flee.

ACT 2

Scene 1: The gypsy camp

Basil and Kitri refuge in a windmill. They are discovered by a group of gypsies, who try to rob them. However, the gypsies soon realise the poverty of the young people, and decide to help them when they witness the arrival of Lorenzo and Gamache, followed by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, who eventually find their hiding place. The gypsies try to set Don Quixote against Lorenzo and Gamache. To this end, they install a puppet theatre where the story of the thwarted love of Basil and Kitri is played out. Caught up by the story, Don Quixote tries to come to the puppet lover’s aid, and destroys the theatre. Suddenly, he finds himself facing the windmill, which he attacks, believing him to be a gigantic enemy. He is caught up by the spokes of the windmill and thrown to the ground. The gypsies, disguised as ghosts, attempt to frighten the knight. Basil and Kitri manage once again to escape.

Scene 2: Don Quixote’s dream

Don Quixote, wounded and half fainted, dreams that he is transported to an enchanted garden as a reward for his courage and fidelity. The Queen of the Dryads takes him to Dulcinea, to whom he dares to declare his love. But the dream evaporates.

ACT 3

Scene 1: An Inn

Basil and Kitri, happy to have escaped their pursuers, celebrate their success with friends at an inn. Lorenzo, Gamache, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza lose no time, however, in rejoining them. Lorenzo is absolutely decided that Kitri should marry Gamache. In desperation, Basil resorts to subterfuge and pretends to commit suicide. Kitri implores Don Quixote to help them, and the knight obliges Lorenzo to allow Kitri to marry the “dying” Basil. But as soon as her father has given his blessing, Basil jumps up gaily. Provoked beyond endurance by the trick played upon him, Gamache challenges Don Quixote to a duel, and is beaten.

Scene 2: The Wedding

In the midst of the great rejoicing at the marriage of Kitri and Basil, Don Quixote and his faithful servant leave in search of new adventures.