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Don Quixote

José Carlos Martínez

A classical ballet in three acts.

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“The Don Quixote ballet by Marius Petipa was, together with Swan Lake, one of the most popular ballets in Russia, where it was created in 1896 upon a musical score by Ludwig Minkus. This colourful work broke with the world of supernatural and ethereal creatures that pervaded XIX Century classical ballet, replacing them with normal village people.

The libretto is based on an episode in the second volume of Cervantes’ Don Quixote (Chapter XXI, “In which Camacho’s wedding is continued, with other delightful incidents”). The action here centres more around Quiteria and Basilio’s stormy love affair than the adventures of Don Quijote and Sancho themselves.

I used as a base Marius Petipa’s original choreography, together with the various versions I have had the chance to dance (Nureyev, Baryshnikov, Gorski). It seemed to me important to maintain the ballet’s choreographic structure. But I also wanted to paint a more poetically nuanced Don Quijote in his quest for perfect love, embodied by Dulcinea. At the same time, I needed draw it all into the essence of our own dance. I think it is very important for a Spanish company production of Don Quixote, even if it is a version of a Franco-Russian classic, to be respectful with our culture and tradition.”
-José Carlos Martínez

Basilio loved Quiteria from his earliest years, and she responded to his passion with countless modest proofs of affection, so that the loves of the two children, Basilio and Quiteria, were the talk and the amusement of the town. As they grew up, the father of Quiteria made up his mind to refuse Basilio his wonted freedom of access to the house, and to relieve himself of constant doubts and suspicions, he arranged a match for his daughter with the rich Camacho, as he did not approve of marrying her to Basilio, who had not so large a share of the gifts of fortune as of nature; for if the truth be told ungrudgingly, he is the most agile youth we know, a mighty thrower of the bar, a first-rate wrestler, and a great ball-player; he runs like a deer, and leaps better than a goat, bowls over the nine-pins as if by magic, sings like a lark, plays the guitar so as to make it speak, and, above all, handles a sword as well as the best.
– For that excellence alone -said Don Quixote at this-, the youth deserves to marry, not merely the fair Quiteria, but Queen Guinevere herself, were she alive now, in spite of Launcelot and all who would try to prevent it.
– Say that to my wife! -said Sancho, who had until now listened in silence-, for she won’t hear of anything but each one marrying his equal, holding with the proverb ‘each ewe to her like’. What I would like is that this good Basilio, for I am beginning to take a fancy to him already, should marry this lady Quiteria; and a blessing and good luck, I meant to say the opposite, on people who would prevent those who love one another from marrying.
Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quijote de la Mancha, II -XIX

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