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Bolshoi Ballet

May 24, 2012

Don Quixote

Reviewed May 23, 2012

NAC Southam Hall, Ottawa

(Playing until May 26 inclusive: contact NAC for details)

From the opening bar of the Bolshoi Ballet’s Don Quixote, this spectacular two-hour, three-act story ballet is rife with energy and verve. It’s a performance not to be missed, not only because this famed ballet company from Moscow hasn’t come to Canada since 1979, but also because this revived version of a ballet that was first staged as a four-act performance for the Bolshoi in 1869 by the highly influential 19th century French choreographer Marius Petipa is the core of classical ballet, the brilliant technique that was forged in the era of 19th-century Romanticism and carries all the grace and romance you expect from traditional Russian theatre.

The star of the show Wednesday was Ekaterina Krysanova as the innkeeper’s beautiful and flirtatious daughter Kitri and Quixote’s fantasy lady, Dulcinea.

Taken from Miguel de Cervantes’ famous novel, Don Quixote de la Mancha, the ballet story follows the delusional antiquated knight and his sidekick squire Sancho Panza through a Spanish village square bursting with warm, burnt and earthy colours, a merry tavern washed in deep wine tones, a vibrant gipsy encampment in a field of windmills, a luminous fairytale forest and the ostentatious lace, frills and sparkle of the castle of a duke.

It’s the stuff of sumptuous sets, a resplendent wardrobe, and, because it’s the Bolshoi, impressive choreographic pyrotechnics.


Ekaterina Krysanova, Photograph by Damir Yusupov

Krysanova is pure classical ballerina extraordinaire, technically outstanding, positively groundless, nearly a super hero, and stunning to watch. The audience Wednesday couldn’t get enough of her. While her partner, Vyacheslav Lopatin, as her barber love interest is especially a spark to be reckoned with in the last act, the connection between him and Krysanova, that would have made the story all the more sizzling, isn’t there. Nevertheless, as a soloist, he literally flies and floats above the stage like a feather.

Alexey Loparevich is a classy Quixote and Sergey Minakov a caricature writ large.

The company as a whole is very good-looking, highly expressive and flawless in their technique. From toreadors in rich red velvet, splashed with gold glitter, and street dancers swishing black and golden fans and shaking tambourines, the dancers’ costumes are glamorous and stunning.

The bold and colourful ballet features a voluminous cast of characters who perform full out and always play wholly to the audience. The sheer volume of dancers on stage animates the presentation from beginning to end.

Overall, the Bolshoi Ballet’s Don Quixote is an example of the glorious and thrilling classical dance that can come out of Moscow. A major symbol of Russian culture and the country’s main national theatre, the Bolshoi has been presenting traditional ballet since 1776. Only since 1956 has the West been able to experience the virtuosity and dramatic intensity of the Soviet choreographic style.

Overseeing the company’s more than 200 dancers is the 41-year-old international classical ballet star Sergey Filin — People’s Artist of Russia — appointed artistic director in March 2011. He is enriching the ballet’s repertoire and is the first director to open the Bolshoi’s doors to international talent. Under his leadership, the ballet troupe has become one of Russia’s best.


From → Ballet

  1. Wow, nice website you have here. I hope you will
    keep updating. Regards TJ

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