Ludwig (or Léon) Minkus does not rank very high on anyone’s list of distinguished composers, but his music nonetheless survives thanks to the tuneful scores he turned out for the ballet, particularly for the choreographer Marius Petipa. And it is probably Don Quichotte that is the best-known today, closely followed by La Bayadère . Until the Russian ballet companies began touring the West in the 1950s and 60s, audiences knew only the pas de deux, which was a staple of many a touring company. But once the Kirov and Bolshoi showed us that there was considerably more to the work, productions began to proliferate. Rudolf Nureyev even made a full-length film of the ballet almost 50 years ago with the Australian Ballet Company, which allows us to see the captivating Lucette Aldous. He then went on to stage the piece for many other companies, including the Paris Opera. Aside from the fact that today we don’t know how much of Don Quichotte is actually the work of Petipa, as it was revived and revised by Alexander Gorsky, among a great many others, rendering meaningless the credit “based upon Marius Petipa,” what Nureyev gives us is his version of the ballet as danced by the Kirov during his time with that company.
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.
In this production from Teatro alla Scala the ballet Don Quixote is shown in the legendary choreography of Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev´s intention by fusing together the worlds of Commedia dell´Arte and classical ballet to create a visual feast for its audience, has made Don Quixote one of the most loved ballets world-wide. With its sparkling energy and the bright colours of the staging by Raffaele Del Savio and Anna Anni, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, transports audiences with freshness, joy and choreographic splendour to an enchanting Spain, with gypsy dances, fandangos, matadors, windmills and the airy candour of the Garden of the Dryads. The ballet of Teatro alla Scala and the classical ballet stars Natalia Osipova (principal dancer of the Royal Ballet in London and the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in St Petersburg) and Leonid Sarafanov (principal dancer of the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in St Petersburg) make this a breathtaking, and distinctive performance.
It is seldom these graceful, delightful pieces have such consummate musicianship lavished upon them. Few pianists today besides Stephen Hough could devise such a recital featuring his own compositions beside works by Liszt, Sibelius, Elgar, Mompou and many more. Such stuff is what dreams are made of.
The Dutch National Ballet take centre stage in this production of Minkus's opera recorded live at the Amsterdam Music Theatre in 2010. Former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky, has added his own choreography, while still retaining the flavour of Marius Pepita's 1869 original version. Performers include Anna Tsygankova, Matthew Golding, Peter de Jong and Karel de Rooij.
This unique collection celebrates the pas de deux: the steps for two or partner dances so central to ballets both modern and classical. It brings together 16 exceptional pas de deux from The Royal Ballet's unequalled repertory, in outstanding performances by Company dancers past and present. Representing The Royal Ballet's heritage works and recent creations, as well as 19th-century classics, Pas de Deux demonstrates the choreographic diversity, technical brilliance, show-stopping spectacle and artistry for which The Royal Ballet is acclaimed around the world. Included in this collection are Frederick Ashton's Voices of Spring and pas de deux from his La Fille mal gardée; from Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, Concerto, Elite Syncopations, Manon and Mayerling; from Wayne McGregor's Limen; from Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter's Tale; and from the 19th-century classics Giselle, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.