Don Quixote

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Don Quixote opened at the Royal Opera House on Monday evening with a gala performance.  Principal Carlos Acosta produced and choreographed this superb ballet.

Don Quixote follows the tale of an old gentleman who is deluded with the idea he is the successor to the medieval knights.  He also has a vision of a beautiful lady, Dulcinea, who he must find.  Don Quixote has a funny little man servant, Sancho Panza.  Together they set off on a quest to fulfil Don Quixote’s dreams.

Meanwhile, a courtship is beginning to take place between two bright young things: Kitri and Basilio.  Alas, Kitri’s father would prefer her to marry Gamache, a very camp nobleman.  Don Quixote too is quite stuck with Kitiri believing her to to be his Dulcinea.  As with all young lover they flee to get married.  Don Quixote and Gamache follow in pursuit.

As the young lovers arrive at a gypsy camp Don Quixote catches up with them.  As they sit round the campfire and are entertained by their hosts Don Quixote hallucinates that the windmill is a monster and is after him.  As he sleeps he enters a magical world – the garden of the Dryads – where his beloved Dulcinea is.

The final acts sees the young lovers back in the town square preparing for their wedding.  Kitri’s father is still none too keen.  Basilio pretends to kill himself which leads to the match being blessed.  It’s good to end on a happy note.

This is a very colourful ballet.  The costumes, lighting and set all jump out from the stage.  The feathers in Gamache’s hat could not have been a better blue for this rather camp chap about town.  He sparkled in his gold pantaloons.  I just loved him.  The gold and the red of the matadors outfits was a pleasure to see.  The costume design really was a highlight.

As was the set.  The windmill in the beautifully lit sunset of the gypsy camp made you want to go there.  It looked so warm and comforting.  But the prop that caused a murmur from the audience as it trotted onto stage – definitely an approving (and impressed) murmur – was the mechanical horse that Don Quixote rode into town on.  Although mounted on wheels its legs still moved so realistically.

This is a really enjoyable ballet that I would urge you to go and see.  Although the newspaper critics have not rated it highly it is a stunning production that should be seen and enjoyed.  It is on at the Royal Opera House until 6 November.  Tickets can be bought online or day tickets are available from the box office on the day from 10am.

Reviews online: Guardian, Telegraph

Sarah Southern