(2012 Boston Ballet based on Nureyev staging)
This was my first full production of Don Quixote. I’m very familiar with the wedding pas de deux, and I love Kitri’s fan variation. So, I was definitely excited to see a full version of this ballet. I’m about as familiar with Cervantes’s story as anyone who saw the Don Quixote episode of Wishbone. Thus, I knew I’d be relying pretty strongly on the synopsis to know what was going on. As usual, the orchestra was great, the costumes were superb, and Kathleen Breen Combes (Kitri) received a well deserved standing ovation. She pretty much carried the entire production, and did it effortlessly.
As story ballets go, the story part of Don Quixote is pretty thin. Or, it could be that because pantomime is Boston Ballet’s weakness, the story didn’t get the support it needed. Boston Ballet’s strength is the modern works it puts on, and in short interpretational ballets. The dancers are excellent when it comes to late 20th century choreography, or when they need to express pure emotion. Unfortunately, the specific pantomime and grande style that a story ballet requires doesn’t come naturally from a modern moving dancer. Boston Ballet needs to either modify the classical stagings to suit their modern aesthetic or they need to hone their pantomime and acting skills.
I’ve been getting season tickets for the past three years, and the company keeps getting better and better. I think because they get some things down so well, it really highlights where they’re lacking. I’ll be interested to see just how they work out the kinks when it comes to the corps de ballet and pantomime.