On 29 and 30 April Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre shall present its brand new ballet premiere – Ludwig Alois Minkus’ “Don Quixote”. The new production of this classical ballet is being prepared by a Russian creative team: choreographer Vasily Medvedev, set designer Andrei Voytenko, costume designer Yelena Zaitseva. Music director of “Don Quixote” is Martynas Staškus.
The premiere will fit all traditions and requirements of classical ballet: it shall be colourful, full of temperamental dance and mesmerize the audience with the same gorgeous splendour that could be seen during the premieres of “Don Quixote” in 1869 and 1871 at the “Bolshoi” theatre (Moscow) and the Imperial Theatre of Saint Petersburg.
“Don Quixote” is one of the few definitive classical ballets. It was created in the second half of the 19th century by French ballet master Marius Petipa and Austrian composer Ludwig Alois Minkus, who both worked in Russia.
The ballet uses Miguel de Cervantes’ novel of the same name as a background for its storyline. However, in this case Don Quixote, the Knight of the Sad Countenance, turns into a secondary character, giving way to the love story between Kitri and Basilio, which blossoms amidst the sparkling festival of the city.
Scintillating, vivacious music of Minkus inspired Petipa to create a unique score – it is exceptionally lively, encrusted with Spanish and gipsy dances. Naturally, all dances that are used (including bolero and Espada’s performance) are stylized versions of the authentic exotic dances of Spain.
In 1871 Petipa presented new edition of “Don Quixote”, intended for the stage of the Imperial Theatre in Saint Petersburg. And yet, the most important turn in the story of this ballet came in 1900, along with new “Don Quixote” presented at the “Bolshoi” theatre in Moscow – it was a production created by ballet master Alexander Gorsky, after the scheme of Petipa. It was this version that for a very long time was the most popular one when it came to different productions of “Don Quixote”. Vladimir Vasiliev, who presented his “Don Quixote” in 1994 in Vilnius, also used the Gorsky version.
The choreographer of the present, sixth production of “Don Quixote” on Lithuanian stage, is Vasily Medvedev from Saint Petersburg. His main goal was to create an authentic vision of “Don Quixote”; thus, he returned to the first version of the ballet by Marius Petipa. By the way, in 2016 V. Medvedev established the Petipa Legacy Fund and became its president.
The roles in the new premiere are being prepared by many ballet soloists of the LNOBT, among which are Anastasija Čumakova, Kristina Gudžiūnaitė and Haruka Ohno (Kitri), Romas Ceizaris, Stanislavas Semianiura and Genadijus Žukovskis (Don Basilio), Greta Gylytė, Aleksandra Ivanova and Olga Konošenko (Mercedes, street dancer), Kipras Chlebinskas, Martynas Rimeikis and S. Semianiura (Espada), Ernestas Barčaitis and Aleksandras Molodovas (Don Quixote), Tomas Ceizaris, Davidas Santos and Andrius Žužžalkinas (Sancho Panza), Nailia Adigamova, Maja Dolidzė, H. Ohno, Karolina Matačinaitė, Gohar Mkrtchyan and Julija Turkina (female friends), Ignas Armalis, Isaacas Evansas, Jeronimas Krivickas, Jonas Laucius, Miguelis Lozano and D. Santos (male friends), Igoris Zaripovas (Lorenzo), Valerijus Fadejevas (Innkeeper) and other dancers.
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