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American Ballet Theatre: Don Quixote 2013
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American Ballet Theatre: Don Quixote 2013

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American Ballet Theatre

Don Quixote 2013

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-Taylor, Manager of Press and Online Media

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 24, 2013

(Read More ABT Reviews)

Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins

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, Arron Scott as Sancho Panza, Xiomara Reyes as Kitri, Herman Cornejo as Basilio, Craig Salstein as Gamache, Roman Zhurbin as Lorenzo, Hee Seo as Mercedes, Alexandre Hammoudi as Espada, Yuriko Kajiya and Luciana Paris as Flower Girls, Simone Messmer and Joseph Phillips as Gypsy Couple, Hee Seo as Queen of the Dryads, Sarah Lane 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).

Don Quixote is a full-length comedic ballet with a ravishing dream sequence. This was Herman Cornejo’s and Xiomara Reyes’ 10th Anniversary celebration as Principal dancers, and, as they are longtime dance partners, they marked the date together. As Kitri and Basilio, Ms. Reyes and Mr. Cornejo are seasoned partners, so the challenge is always to add something new. In tonight’s performance, there seemed to be extra time for dancing, when they usually run and hide from Lorenzo, Kitri’s father, who wants to marry her “up” to the foolish nobleman, Gamache. Also, in a lift, when Basilio carries Kitri and walks about the stage, there was extra time added, with Ms. Reyes slapping her tambourine, as she was held above, on Mr. Cornejo’s arm. Ms. Reyes was gleaming throughout the evening, in her 32 fouettés, in her flirtatious pretend scene with Basilio, as he fakes death to trick Lorenzo into approving a near death marriage, in her dream sequence with Amour and the Dream Maidens, and, especially, in the Wedding. .

Herman Cornejo twisted his torso proudly in toreador motif, but, memorably, he was Basilio in pursuit of a bride. In the Wedding Scene, he danced with muscular prowess and intense speed and alacrity. His elevation is still astounding. Joseph Phillips and Simone Messmer, as the Gypsy couple, went wild, fitting for this Anniversary event, and the Gypsy Camp was never the same. Mr. Phillips catapulted in spins with bent knee and effusive energy. Hee Seo, as the hot, fiery Mercedes, a street dancer, was also the subdued and sublime Queen of the Dryads in the surreal moments. Ms. Seo certainly proved her versatility and talent here, with seasoned contrasts. In the Dream Scene, Sarah Lane, as Amour, seemed flat emotionally but sparkling choreographically. Hopefully she will soon mesh persona into performance. A star of the evening was Craig Salstein, as Gamache, a bumbling, foppish nobleman, who draws the eye, even during dervish dance elsewhere on the stage. Mr. Salstein has an operatic theatricality, truly camp and comic in this case.

Alexandre Hammoudi was Espada, the Matador, and he royally entertained with dark, exotic tones. His long limbs were perfect for the elegant, Spanish-styled choreography. Victor Barbee was the endearing, confused Don Quixote, who grabs the windmill and falls to the ground (a dummy replaces him here), to dream and to keep chasing his Dulcinea. His Sancho Panza, Arron Scott, dutifully added wit and balance to each scene. Yuriko Kajiya and Luciana Paris were enthused, engaging Flower Girls, both shining in the moment. Roman Zhurbin, as Kitri’s father, Lorenzo, was hugely witty in the money scenes with Gamache and the empty-pocketed Basilio. But, it was the Anniversary duo that stole the show, and confetti burst onstage at the curtain. The Cuban, Ms. Reyes and the Argentinean, Mr. Cornejo have an obvious dance chemistry and emotional closeness, that serve them well in every duo event. Ormsby Wilkins kept the Minkus score radiant and propulsive. Kudos to Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo.

Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo
in "Don Quixote"
Courtesy of MIRA

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