Miguel de Cervantes’ early seventeenth century tale about the
adventures emanating from one man’s imagination is vividly brought to
life in the Joffrey Ballet’s lavishly produced world premiere of Don Quixote,filled
with gorgeous costumes, exquisite dancing, a larger-than-life puppet
horse, toreadors, lovers, and the fascinating world of the unlikely
hero, Don Quixote.
This ballet is beautifully choreographed by the former principal
dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, Yuri Possokhov (who also choreographed Bells in the Joffrey Ballet’s Rising Stars production
last spring). Valerie Robin, as Mercedes the street dancer, sizzles
with sensuality and excitement. The alluring dancing of Victoria
Jaiani, as Kitri, the young woman betrothed to one man but in love with
another, is a joy to watch. Dylan Gutierrez, as Basilio, Kitri’s lover
of choice, and Fabrice Calmels, as Espada, a famous toreador, bring
remarkable athleticism and appeal to their respective roles.
The story, music, dancing, and choreography come together to produce a
ballet filled with plenty of drama and passion, but also humor.
Derrick Agnoletti, as Don Quixote’s simple squire Sancho Panza,
provides many amusing moments, but Matthew Adamczyk, as Gamache, is,
without a doubt, the comedic highlight of the production. His
over-the-top interpretation of the bombastic, wealthy nobleman who is
betrothed to the unwilling Kitri is a humorous counterpoint to the
dramatic moments in the story.
Rocinante, Don Quixote’s faithful horse, is actually a larger-than-
life puppet, supported by two dancers and designed by Chicago’s
VonOrthol Puppets. The presence of the dreamer Don Quixote, the
simplistic Sancho, and the puppet horse together reminds the audience
that Quixote and his imagination and dreams of chivalry are the basis
for all of the fantastic tales unfolding on stage.
The costumes, designed by Travis Halsey, are simply stunning; even
the peasants’ costumes are attractive. Whether the focus is on one
costume, such as the gorgeous black and pink full-length dress of
Mercedes, or a stage full of alluring costumes during ensemble dances,
the effect is an aesthetically pleasing visual treat for the audience.
The musical score, performed by Chicago Sinfonietta and conducted by
Scott Speck, matches the pageantry of the performance on stage.
Don Quixote is
a beautifully produced ballet that delivers on every level. This
production continues at the Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress Parkway)
through Sunday, October 23, with 7:30pm performances Thursday through
Saturday and 2pm performances Saturday and Sunday. Click here to purchase tickets.
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