Carlos Acosta’s first venture directing one of ballet’s 19th century classics was eagerly anticipated, as was his own starring role in the production as Basilio, opposite the Argentinian Royal Ballet principal Marianela Nuñez (Kitri). Packed cinemas for the live relay, as well as sold-out houses for his performances, testified to the draw the great Cuban dancer still exerts—and the audiences were not disappointed. Still built on Petipa’s original choreography, Acosta’s clear dramatic structure and vivid stage action gave the “boy gets girl despite her father” story a more convincing air than usual, with Don Quixote’s parallelRead more obsession with Dulcinea-Kitri coherently woven into the plot. Acosta’s and Nuñez’s performances were peerless; Tim Hatley’s stage designs vivid and apposite; this production is surely destined to be a perennial Royal Ballet favorite.
Kitri – Marianela Nuñez
Basilio – Carlos Acosta
Don Quixote – Christopher Saunders
Sancho Panza – Philip Mosley
Lorenzo – Gary Avis
Gamache – Bennet Gartside
Espada – Ryoichi Hirano
Mercedes – Laura Morera
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Martin Yates, conductor
Carlos Acosta, director and choreographer (after Marius Petipa)
Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, October 2013
- Introduction to Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote
- Cast gallery
Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: LPCM Stereo 2.0 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 125 mins
No. of DVDs: 1
R E V I E W:
MINKUS Don Quixote & • Martin Yates, cond; Marianela Nuñez (Kitri); Carlos Acosta (Basilio); Christopher Saunders (Don Quixote); Philip Mosley (Sancho Panza); Ryoichi Hirano (Espada); Laura Morera (Mercedes); Bennet Gartside (Gamache); Gary Avis (Lorenzo); Christina Arestis (Dulcinea); Royal Op House O • OPUS ARTE 7143 (Blu-ray: 137.00) Live: London 10/2013
& Interviews: Cast and Crew; Introductions to acts II and III
Ludwig Minkus’s Don Quixote has held a place in the repertoire since its premiere at the Bolshoi Theater in 1869. The music is charming and well orchestrated, but persistently a little bland. There are plenty of melodies, but none of them are particularly distinctive. This is certainly not Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev. The poor boy meets rich girl love story interwoven with the fantastic adventures of Don Quixote has attracted the biggest names in ballet over the years, with Marius Petipa’s original classical production being followed by Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and George Balanchine. Now, it is Carlos Acosta’s turn. His choreography is based on Petipa, but he has modernized it with his trademark physicality, and some new unclassical sounds (clapping, vocal exclamations) from the corps de ballet on stage.
Ultimately, the success of Don Quixote depends on the two principals. Acosta and Marianela Nuñez are the ideal pair to light a fire in this production. Acosta’s charisma is well known, and Nuñez matches him step for step with her amazing leaps and twirls, and the two have remarkable stage chemistry. They really do sizzle as much as that is possible in a classical ballet. The best is saved for last with their exquisite and joyful final pas de deux. In fact, the whole supporting cast and corps de ballet seem to have been inspired by Acosta. Everyone appears to be having a grand good time, and this is clearly projected to the audience.
The sets are magnificent and the colorful costumes are dazzling on Blu-ray. Martin Yates’s arrangement and orchestration of the Minkus score matches the bright visuals, and his conducting is surprisingly dynamic. The music comes to life as I have never heard it do before, especially in the excellent surround sound. I have not seen any of the older versions of Don Quixote, but it is hard to imagine any of them matching this one, musically or technically. If you are a ballet fan, don’t hesitate to enjoy this sumptuous visual feast.
FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen Reviewing DVD version Read less
Works on This Recording
Don Quixoteby Léon Fyodorovich Minkus Conductor:
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1869; Russia
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
THE BEST OF THE ROYAL CONVENT GARDENSDecember 13, 2014By daniel abrahams (palm bay, FL)See All My Reviews"I RECOMMEND HIGHLY ONE OF THE BEST DON QUIXOTE ALL THE DANCERS ARE FANTASTIC A WINNER !!!!!"Report Abuse