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American Ballet Theatre

Don Quixote 2011
Metropolitan Opera House

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Alexei Ratmansky, Artist in Residence
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Clinton Luckett, Nancy Raffa
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
James Timm, Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Susan Morgan, Manager of Press and Online Media

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 20, 2011

(Read More ABT Reviews)

Conductor: David LaMarche

Don Quixote (1978): Choreography by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky, Staged by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones, Music by Ludwig Minkus, Arranged by Jack Everly, Scenery and costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Natasha Katz.

Performed by Victor Barbee as Don Quixote, Jeffrey Golladay as Sancho Panza, Alina Cojocaru as Kitri, Joe Manuel Carreño as Basilio, Julio Bragado-Young as Gamache, Isaac Stappas as Lorenzo, Maria Riccetto as Mercedes, Gennadi Saveliev as Espada, Sarah Lane and Isabella Boylston as Flower Girls, Simone Messmer and Joseph Phillips as Gypsy Couple, Maria Riccetto as Queen of the Dryads, Renata Pavam as Amour, and the Company as Waiter, Toreadors, Toreadors’ Companions, Sequidillas, Gypsies, Dream Maidens, Guests at the Wedding, Townspeople, Vendors, and Children.

Don Quixote entered ABT repertoire in 1978 at the Kennedy Center in Baryshnikov’s production. Vladimir Vasilev staged a different production in 1991, and the present production was performed in 1995 at the Met Opera House. (ABT Notes).

The plot centers on the adventures of Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, as they follow the vision of Dulcinea. In Sevilla, Kitri, daughter of Lorenzo, is in love with Basilio, a poor barber. Lorenzo wishes to marry his daughter off to Gamache, a nobleman. Don Quixote sees in Kitri the vision of Dulcinea, and all three men pursue Kitri. In a Gypsy Camp, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza see Kitri and Basilio, and Don Quixote attacks a Windmill that appears to be a monster and falls asleep, dreaming of Kitri and Dulcinea. When he awakens, he thwarts Lorenzo and Gamache’s search for Kitri and Basilio.

When Lorenzo “forces” Kitri to commit to Gamache, Basilio pretends to die, and Kitri tries to wed the “corpse”. The awakened corpse is affianced to Kitri, Gamache disappears, and the wedding takes place onstage. Don Quixote continues to search for Dulcinea. (ABT Notes).

Alina Cojocaru is the prize visiting artist this Season. Every moment that she’s onstage is a gift for the audience. Tonight she was Kitri, the village girl who’s in love with a barber, Basilio. Basilio was performed by Jose Manuel Carreño, in his farewell Don Quixote role, as he soon retires, end of June. There could be no finer partner for either of these masterful, monumental dancers. Considering that Ms. Cojocaru is a visiting Guest Artist, it’s astounding that their partnering was so bonded. I wouldn’t say this was unusual chemistry, but it was a professional duo maximizing each other’s talent. And, each has talent that’s essentially boundless. In the acting scenes, such as Basilio’s comical, feigned death, presumably at his own hand, the duo improvised on the moment, playfully flirting and touching like teens. In the final wedding scene, the carried lifts, Ms. Cojocaru’s instant spins against Mr. Carreño’s torso, and their ravishing leaps and fouettés were all breathtaking. In the dream scene, Ms. Cojocaru led the Dream Maidens in fanciful, transporting rapture.

In the secondary roles, Victor Barbee’s (as Don Q) stumbling, lumbering antics were delightful, especially in view of his inherent dance talent. This is an experienced master of theatricality. Jeffrey Golladay, as his Sancho Panza, added to the fantasy. One of the most mesmerizing dancers in the cast was Julio Bragado-Young, as Gamache, the rich nobleman whom Kitri’s father, Lorenzo, wants as his son-in-law. He was adorably klutzy, and Kitri was so very kind to him, regardless of his intrusion. Isaac Stappas was the blustering Lorenzo, angry, greedy, demanding, then accommodating in the watershed moment, acknowledging Kitri and Basilio’s bond. Maria Riccetto and Gennadi Saveliev were Mercedes, the street dancer, and Espada, a matador, two over-the-top Spanish entertainers with bravado, exoticism, and some electricity. Ms. Riccetto is often restrained in her dancing, but tonight, as Mercedes, she was stunning. Later, as Queen of the Dryads, she shone with elegance. Mr. Saveliev, as Espada, was totally in his element, loving the spotlight and athletic camp.

Sarah Lane and Isabella Boylston, as Flower Girls, are both artists to watch, although Ms. Lane is often too impish. Here they were charming and alluring, elements in the fantasy tale, as it unfolded. A high point tonight was the Gypsy dance, with Simone Messmer and Joseph Phillips as the Gypsy Couple. Both dancers seem under-utilized, with each possessing charisma, style, theatricality, and talent. I loved watching them seize the spotlight with pizzazz. Renata Pavam, as Amour, was delicate and dreamy, and Roddy Doble took two small roles as an Old Man and a Waiter. The Company shone throughout, especially the propulsive ensemble of six males in the wild Gypsy Dance. In the Company, Eric Tamm, Joseph Gorak, Melanie Hamrick, Nicole Graniero, and Skylar Brandt caught my eye. David LaMarche conducted with his usual ebullience, adding to tonight’s onstage drama, with this Mr. Carreño’s farewell Don Q. Minkus’ score was especially energized for this most energetic evening. At the curtain, Ms. Cojocaru laid her bouquet at Mr. Carreño’s feet, a show of class and generosity. Kudos to Ms. Cojocaru, and kudos to Mr. Carreño.

Alina Cojocaru in "Don Quixote"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Alina Cojocaru and Jose Manuel Carreño
in "Don Quixote"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at