American Ballet Theatre
Ballet in Three Acts
Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 25, 2005
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Don Quixote (1978): Choreography by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky, Staged by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones, Music by Ludwig Minkus, Arranged by Jack Everly, Scenery and costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Natasha Katz, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Guillaume Graffin as Don Quixote, Flavio Salazar as Sancho Panza, Xiomara Reyes as Kitri, Julio Bocca as Basilio, Julio Bragado-Young as Gamache, Buck Collins as Lorenzo, Carmen Corella as Mercedes, Sascha Radetsky as Espada, Yuriko Kajiya and Misty Copeland as Flower Girls, Luciana Paris and Carlos Lopez as Gypsy Couple, Stella Abrera as Queen of the Dryads, Anne Milewski as Amour, and the Company as Waiter, Toreadors, Toreadors' Companions, Sequidillas, Gypsies, Dream Maidens, Guests at the Wedding, Townspeople, Vendors, and Children.
Don Quixote entered ABT repertoire in 1978 at the Kennedy Center in Baryshnikov's production. Vladimir Vasilev staged a different production in 1991, and the present production was performed in 1995 at the Met Opera House. (ABT Notes).
The plot centers on the adventures of Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, as they follow the vision of Dulcinea. In Sevilla, Kitri, daughter of Lorenzo, is in love with Basilio, a poor barber. Lorenzo wishes to marry his daughter off to Gamache, a nobleman. Don Quixote sees in Kitri the vision of Dulcinea, and all three men pursue Kitri. In a Gypsy Camp, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza see Kitri and Basilio, and Don Quixote attacks a Windmill that appears to be a monster and falls asleep, dreaming of Kitri and Dulcinea. When he awakens, he thwarts Lorenzo and Gamache's search for Kitri and Basilio.
When Lorenzo "forces" Kitri to commit to Gamache, Basilio pretends to die, and Kitri tries to wed the "corpse". The awakened corpse is affianced to Kitri, Gamache disappears, and the wedding takes place onstage. Don Quixote continues to search for Dulcinea. (ABT Notes).
In the dance drama that only ABT can create, Julio Bocca performed his final Basilio in Don Quixote (a small farewell, but not a retirement) in brilliant form, to endless, energized curtain calls, replete with a horseshoe floral arrangement from Artistic Director, Kevin McKenzie, and dozens of roses streaming to his feet from the upper Met Opera House boxes. He proudly partnered the dazzling and daring Xiomara Reyes as Kitri, the darling of his eye, and, for that matter, the darling of Don Quixote's (a theatrical Guillaume Graffin) dreams and the darling of Gamache's (a foolish, foppish Julio Bragado-Young) dunce-like desire.
Flavio Salazar, in a new corps role, was a stylized Sancho Panza, and Buck Collins had the presence to pull off the obsequious and obsessed Lorenzo, Kitri's social-climbing father. Luciana Paris and Carlos Lopez, as lead Gypsy dancers, plus Carmen Corella and Sascha Radetsky, as Mercedes and Espada, the Matador, among Gypsies, Toreadors, Toreadors' Companions, and Sequidillas, captured the electricity in the Opera House with astounding bravura displays of spins, leaps, and en air gymnastics, to Spanish dance motifs in punctuated percussion. Stella Abrera, as Queen of the Dryads, together with Anne Milewski as Amour and a corps of Dream Maidens, were an ethereal vision in Don Quixote's impressionistic fantasy.
Kitri's Act III wedding scene brought the House to a roar, with Mr. Bocca's splendid solos and pas de deux with the equally inspired Ms. Reyes. Mr. Bocca should not retire anytime soon. He exudes the attentive chemistry of partnering, with aerobic power and presence, found only in the rare premier danseur. Ballet Theatre is extremely lucky to still have him as an active and sought after onstage presence in some of its full-length repertoire (such as Swan Lake). Kudos to Julio Bocca, and kudos to Xiomara Reyes for a most memorable evening at ABT.