24 August 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Quite unique for 'Don Quichot', but the energy, excitement and dazzle is still intact
'Don Quichot' may not be one of my favourites from the ballet genre, or among my favourites. There is a preference for the likes of the 3 Tchaikovsky ballets, 'Giselle', 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Coppelia', but while not always involving the story is still charming and fun and the music is wonderful.
The ballet is very well served on DVD, one of the best DVD competitions for any ballet actually. All the productions are very good to great, of the ones seen (which has got to be all of them, or almost) ranked from favourite to least they are Baryschnikov, Paris, Nureyev, Mariinsky and this. Where this production fares the least effective is in the sets, which lacked the elaborate and sumptuously coloured detail put into the costumes and the other productions available did a better job of giving a sense that the story was set in Spain and giving it an authenticity, here the sets are a touch too ordinary and drab.
Where it is much more interesting is in the choreography. It is busier than most productions of 'Don Quichot', with additions made to the story and some of the choreography is re-worked. This may worry some, but it comes off very well and instead of being distracting to the story or being pointless they add a good deal. There is so much energy and spirit, everything is exciting and the more intimate parts are not forgotten or any less dazzling. The dream sequence is magical and the Pas-De-Deux is exquisite, while the production maintains the traditional touch and choreographs in a way that still matches with the music.
Another interest point is the casting of Don Quichot and Sancho Panza. Casting two Dutch comedians in the roles initially sounds dubious, but again this was a touch that came over as incredibly entertaining and that the roles were much more elaborated upon and put more into the foreground made them more interesting. Peter de Jong and Karel Rooij come very close to stealing the show, particularly loved the touch of Rooij playing the violin on stage (apparently it is his own violin playing and if so he is quite the excellent violinist).
Musically, the production is superb, the sprightly energy, intimate nuances and rousing power all present in the orchestral playing while the conducting is sympathetic and alert, accommodating to the dancers' needs while keeping the drama of the story alive.
Equally impressive is the dancing, Anna Tysgankova is an enchanting, restrained, playful, charming and dazzlingly danced Kitri matched every step of the way by the powerful and equally tender Basilio of Matthew Golding. Their partnership can make or break a production of 'Don Quichot', as do many romantic partnerships of any ballet, and it's touchingly beautiful.
On a technical level, the DVD is good, with unobtrusive and expansive video directing while also showing the intricacies of the more intimate parts and the sound doesn't undermine the music or orchestral playing at all. Picture quality is occasionally a little blurry however.
In conclusion, unique but excellent production. 9/10 Bethany Cox