With Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of Don Quichot mounted on the breathtaking dancers of The Dutch National Ballet, story ballet lovers have a luscious new ballet to view online. The Russian choreographer, now Artist in Residence at American Ballet Theatre, took on the remake of the epic literary classic first realized as a ballet by Marius Petipa in 1869. Researching the original choreography and that of Alexander Gorsky’s versions yielded few clues to the original choreography, leaving Ratmansky free from having to hew to Petipa’s choreography step for step. Instead he drew inspiration from Petipa’s libretto, giving these dancers, who today have technical skills far beyond what dancers had 150 years ago, plenty to show off with.
The production too, gives it the luxuriant feel this big, travelogue of a story needs. The opening scene with Don Quichot in his library is a study in the art of stage lighting. Designed by James F. Ingalls, the sunny, clear side lighting venerates the Dutch painter Vermeer’s luminosity. Yet throughout the following scenes, the Spanish sun dominates, coating the atmosphere with the heat of the land of flamenco and toreadors. But the tinselly set design by Jérôme Kaplan for the Dream Paradise scene in Act 2 is my favorite, striking the right tone of frivolity.
Cupid, danced by Maia Makheteli, flits about throughout, and has one of the best solos in that scene. Lighthearted and faery-like, she inflects a bit of tomboyishness into her character. Anna Tsygankova as Kitri and Matthew Golding as Basilio play at love, even faking suicides to get to the altar and beyond. Actor Peter de Jong is the addlepated Don Quichot who moves well whether on foot or horsey. Renting it from iTunes might prompt you to want it for your collection.
Alexei Ratmansky’s production of Don Quichot performed by Dutch National Ballet is now available for rental/purchase in the US and Canada. Pricing is as follows: on iTunes in the US at $4.99 to rent and $19.99 to own in High Definition, $3.99 to rent and $14.99 to own in Standard Definition; iTunes in Canada at $5.99 to rent and $17.99 to own (for a limited time, regular price $24.99) in High Definition, $4.99 to rent and $14.99 to own (for a limited time, regular price $19.99) in Standard Definition; Amazon Instant Video in the US at $3.99 to rent and $14.99 to own; CinemaNow in the US at $3.99 to rent and $14.95 to own.