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14.1.09

See Also: Don Quixote



Don Quixote (choreography by Alexander Gorsky after Marius Petipa; music by Ludwig Minkus)
Mariinsky Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

Petipa's libretto is centered on Kitri, the daughter of a Barcelona innkeeper, a transmutation of Aldonza Lorenzo, the farm girl whom Don Quixote exalts as the legendary love of his life, Dulcinea, in the 1606 novel by Cervantes. The character of el ingenioso hidalgo is relegated mostly to the sidelines, a wistful observer of the love triangle (Kitri, her lover Basil, and Gamache, the man her father wants her to marry) that is the motivating crisis of the plot. It would be difficult to choreograph the character of Don Quixote in any other way, and Petipa does incorporate a couple of the novel's classic scenarios, including Sancho Panza being bounced on a blanket by ruffians, Quixote attacking the windmill, and his mistaking the puppet show for reality.

What filled the Kennedy Center Opera House last night was the chance to see prima ballerina Diana Vishneva (pictured), who was extraordinary as Kitri. In a bright red costume in Act I, she showed a dramatic, long line en pointe. Her leaps and extensions were smooth and rounded with athletic grace, and her pirouettes aligned on a nearly perfect vertical axis. She was not quite matched by her Basil, Evgeny Ivanchenko, whose lifts began to look a bit shaky by the end of the first act, but his fake suicide in the third act was appropriately way over the top.
Mariinsky Ballet Tilts at Windmills (DCist, January 14)

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