Don Quichotte Marius Petipa en Alexander Gorski/Alexei Ratmansky
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There’s no better ballet for chasing away the winter blues than Don Quichotte. Dutch National Ballet is dancing this work filled with virtuosity, high spirits and Spanish temperament in the version created especially for the company by Alexei Ratmansky in 2010.
Prominent foreign companies like the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre have triumphed for many years with Don Quichotte, based on the masterpiece of the same name by Miguel de Cervantes and set to music by Ludwig Minkus. Previously, Dutch National Ballet danced only the famous Grand Pas de Deux from the ballet, and this version by leading Russian choreographer Ratmansky was the first full-length Don Quichotte ballet to be staged in the Netherlands. Since then, the production has received acclaim as far afield as China, and the dancers of the leading roles have been nominated for many major dance awards.
Alexei Ratmansky trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. He danced with the Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. .
As with all Ratmansky’s productions, his Don Quichotte shows great respect for tradition. The former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, who is currently resident choreographer with American Ballet Theatre, based his interpretation on the libretto for the first version of the ballet created by Marius Petipa in 1869, as well as on the adaptation made by Alexander Gorski around thirty years later. However, Ratmansky added his own elements and new choreography, and directed the whole with unbridled passion and precision. Whereas other versions sometimes tend to look a little corny in their surfeit of spectacle and humour, Ratmansky has added an extremely stylish and chic touch to his Don Quichotte, alongside the spectacle and humour. This is enhanced by the beautiful, extremely elegant and colourful sets and costumes, designed by the Frenchman Jérôme Kaplan.
Besides its dazzling leaps, dizzying pirouettes and crisp pointework, Don Quichotte gives the new generation of Dutch National Ballet principals every opportunity to show off their technical prowess. But at the same time, Ratmansky’s production makes strong demands on their acting abilities. The roles of Don Quichotte and Sancho Panza – performed splendidly by Peter de Jong and Karel de Rooy (Mini & Maxi) in 2010 – will once again be interpreted by this famous duo.
Marius Petipa and
Production and additional choreography
Set and costume design
James F. Ingalls
Cervantes – Don Quijote de la Mancha
Last year marked the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of Miquel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616). The Spanish author’s reputation as the founder of the modern novel was established with Don Quixote de la Mancha, the story of the ingenious nobleman. Generations of writers and thinkers took inspiration from the adventures of the knight errant and his squire, as did many famous painters, graphic artists, theatre makers and composers. For choreographers, too, Cervantes’ novel was a rich source of inspiration. As far as we know, the first ballet version was created in 1740, by Franz Hilverding, ballet master at the Viennese court. In this and later ballet versions, the ‘knight with the sorrowful face’ played the main role. In the nineteenth century, however, the focus of most ballets turned to an excerpt from the second part of the novel, which tells of the comical intrigues surrounding the lovers Quiteria (Kitri in the ballet) and Basilio, and the rich fool Camacho (Gamache).
Ludwig Minkus – Don Quichotte
Dutch Ballet Orchestra conducted by Marzio Conti
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality.
Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters.
The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.
‘The new staging of Don Quichotte by Alexei Ratmansky has been thought out, balanced and directed down to the last detail.’
‘It’s a pleasure to see how the theatre slowly but surely comes ablaze with spectacular dance (..).The production created by Alexei Ratmansky is the best version of this classical ballet around’.