Don Quixote: A bravura classic with Spanish va-voom
An aging knight, two fiery lovers, some gypsies and a whole lot of fun
The Australian Ballet begins a year of masterpieces with a joyous, Spanish-flavoured ballet packed with tutus and lively dancing. Full of infectious charm and dynamic performances, Don Quixote is both a favourite of the dancers and perfect for families.
Don Quixote opens in Melbourne on 15 March at Arts Centre Melbourne, and then will travel to Sydney on 5 April.
Joining The Australian Ballet for the Melbourne season of Don Quixote are two of the world’s hottest names in ballet: Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, from St Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre. Having gained an international following in a few short years, these Russian superstars are particularly acclaimed for their performances in Don Quixote.
Osipova and Vasiliev will perform the lead roles of Kitri and Basilio for two special performances in Melbourne on 16 and 18 March*.
The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, says this is an opportunity to see a pair of dancers at the top of their game, performing their signature work.
“I’m so excited that Natalia and Ivan will be joining us for our Melbourne season of Don Quixote and that their first time dancing live in Australia will be with us. They are two of the most exciting dancers in the world and their Basilio and Kitri are world’s best.
“The fiery energy of Basilio and Kitri fills the stage with life and a series of show-stopping solos that will have the audience on the edge of their seats.
“What better way to start a year of masterpieces than with a crowd favourite. This is the perfect ballet for both life-long fans and first timers.”
Returning to the stage in the title role of the Don for both Melbourne and Sydney seasons is Steven Heathcote, a veteran of The Australian Ballet and a firm audience favourite. During an illustrious stage career spanning 25 years, Heathcote performed the role of Basilio many times.
Feisty, flirty Kitri is on the run from an arranged marriage, accompanied by her handsome but penniless lover, the barber Basilio. They encounter the Don, who helps them in their escapades, set against the backdrop of sun-drenched rural Spain. Comic moments are off-set by some of ballet’s most spectacular variations, including the thrilling boy-versus-girl coda of the third act grand pas de deux, where Kitri whips off the famous 32 fouettes and still looks like a dream.
The bravura dancing and toe-tapping score are matched by richly coloured and elaborate set pieces and exquisite costumes thatansport audiences to provincial Spain. Nureyev first danced with The Australian Ballet in 1964, which began his long and rich association with Australia. He returned six years later, armed with a revival of Don Quixote that he had originally created for the Vienna State Opera. The production opened in Adelaide in March 1970, and has since been performed by the company 374 times. Twenty years after Nureyev’s death in 1993, his Don Quixote has maintained an unwavering popularity with Australian audiences.
With its heady mix of Spanish dash and comedy, Don Quixote is the perfect feel-good ballet to kick off the year.
DON QUIXOTE (1869)
Choreography Rudolf Nureyev
after Marius Petipa
Music Ludwig Minkus
Orchestrated by John Lanchbery
Costume design Barry Kay
Set design Anne Fraser
Original lighting design Francis Croese
recreated by Graham Silver
15 – 26 March (13 performances)
Arts Centre Melbourne
with Orchestra Victoria
5 – 24 April (21 performances)
Sydney Opera House
Joan Sutherland Theatre
with Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
* for nightly casting, please visit The Australian Ballet’s website or call 1300 369 741