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Alexandra

Season Opener

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For Immediate Release

July 22, 2003

Boston Ballet Presents The Return of Rudolf Nureyev's Ballet Don Quixote

October 16-19 and October 30- November 2

WHAT: Boston Ballet's Don Quixote

WHEN: Thursday Oct. 16 @ 7p.m., Friday Oct. 17 @ 8p.m., Sat. Oct. 18 @ 2p.m.

& 8p.m., Sunday Oct.19 @ 2p.m., Thurs. Oct. 30 @ 7p.m., Friday Oct. 31 @

8p.m., Sat. Nov. 1 @ 2p.m. & 8p.m., Sunday Nov. 2 @ 2p.m.

WHERE: All performances at The Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont Street, Boston

TICKETS: available by phone through Telecharge at 800-447-7400, online at

www.telecharge.com, or in person at The Wang Theatre Box Office

(BOSTON, MA)- Boston Ballet's 40th Anniversary Season will open this fall

with the return of Rudolf Nureyev's celebrated production, Don Quixote, at

The Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. The original sets and

costumes have been fully refurbished for this exciting production, made

possible by a grant from the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.

"Nureyev's exuberant Don Quixote is perhaps the most significant work in

Boston Ballet's history, because this ballet first brought international

attention to the Company," said Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko

Nissinen. "It is charged with the quest for noble idealism, with bravura

dancing that has thrilled audiences here and around the world. Boston

Ballet has not performed this version since 1986, and we are especially

pleased to bring it back for our 40th Anniversary Season. This year will

also mark the 10th anniversary of the Nureyev's death."

This recreation of Miguel de Cervantes'17th century classic tale is staged

by Aleth Francillon, after choreography by Marius Petipa, set to the music

of Ludwig Minkus with score arrangement by John Lanchberry, lighting by

Pierre Lavoie, and scenery and costumes by Nicholas Georgiadis.

This full-length, three-act ballet is set in the heart of the Spanish

countryside, featuring chivalry, passion, and comical adventure. It is a

warm human tale with likeable characters like Alonso Quejana, an ordinary

Spanish country gentleman, who is in search of an idealistic, moral world.

He is an elderly and slightly delusional Spaniard, who, sitting amidst his

books of knights, squires and beautiful women, dreams of the fair lady,

Dulcinea. Declaring himself a knight by the name of Don Quixote de La

Mancha, he believes that he must save his fictional lady from peril, and

sets off on his adventures in search of the Dulcinea, with the aid of his

comical squire, Sancho Panza. As the Don approaches an inn in Barcelona

square, he assumes it is a grand castle, and the innkeepers daughter, Kitri,

to be his beloved Dulcinea, unbeknownst to Kitri. Kitri is in love with the

young barber, Basilio, but, her parent's are determined for her to marry the

nobleman, Gamache, despite her wishes. This intricate storyline is humorous

with silly twists and turns, and complete with some of the most technically

challenging roles in ballet repertoire, including the beautiful wedding pas

de deux, danced by Kitri and Basilio.

Choreographer Marius Petipa originally created Don Quixote for Moscow's

Bolshoi Ballet in 1869, and was first presented in the United States by the

Bolshoi Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, in 1966. Don

Quixote has significant history in Boston. Boston's first, "Don Q" was the

Rudolf Nureyev version which premiered in 1982 and received critical

acclaim. Nureyev not only choreographed the production, but he also starred

in it as Basilio. A 1972 film of Nureyev's Don Quixote was made with the

Australian Ballet, in which he starred and co-directed with Sir Robert

Helpmann.

In George Balanchine's and Frances Mason's 101 Stories of the Great Ballets,

Balanchine describes Don Quixote: "Every man has a Don Quixote in him.

Every man wants an inspiration. For the Don it was Dulcinea, a woman he

sought in many guises. I myself think that the same is true in life, that

everything a man does he does for his ideal woman. You live only one life

and you believe in something and I believe in that."

A Fond Farewell

Cherished by Boston audiences for almost 14 years, Principal Dancer Jennifer

Gelfand will dance her farewell performance during Don Quixote. Gelfand made

headlines in 1989 when she filled in for former Principal Dancer Laura

Young, the female lead, who fell injured on the stage during the first act.

Gelfand, recently accepted to the Joffrey Ballet, was in Boston as a special

guest artist, and was sitting in The Wang Theatre audience. She was asked to

finish the ballet in place of Young. Then Artistic Director, Bruce Marks,

was so impressed with her performance, that he offered Gelfand a soloist

position in the Company. *Gelfand's performance dates will be announced in

early October.

# # #

Tickets for Don Quixote go on sale September 4. Prices range from $38-$95.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Telecharge at 800-447-7400, or by

visiting Telecharge online at www.telecharge.com, or in person at The Wang

Theatre box office, located at 270 Tremont Street in Boston's Theatre

District. The Wang Theatre box office is open Monday-Saturday from 10a.m.-6

p.m. Discounted group tickets (15 or more) are available by calling Boston

Ballet's Group Sales Office at 617-456-6343. Student rush tickets are

available for $15. Full time students, 30 yrs. old and under; purchased 2

hours before curtain (cash preferred) in person at The Wang Theatre box

office on the day of a performance. Student identification must be presented

at time of purchase, limit one per student I.D.

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I love any and all DonQ performances. IMO it is really a perfect ballet for kids--in some ways much better than the Nutcracker.

Does anyone know

--How this DonQ is different from/similar to other productions?

In particular, it seems to me that BB has done DonQ in the past 5 years or so, but from the wording of the press release, they have not done the Nureyev DonQ since 1986.

--Who will be dancing Kitri? (A role tailor-made for Polyana Ribeiro IMO)

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I'm sure they did Don Q in the early 90's -- they brought it to the Kennedy Center. March of '93, I THINK. That was Holmes' production, but, as I remember it, it was very close to the Nureyev production, which is close to the Kirov one. (There's a video of Nureyev in his production for the Australian ballet, but it's filmed like a movie, not a stage performance, so there are things in it that you won't see on stage.)

It is a great ballet for kids, koshka. Several friends of mine with sons chose that as a first ballet for small boys and it was a big success.

I'm not privy to the casting, but no harm in posting one's favorite candidates :innocent: I hope you'll go and tell us about it. (Although October seems far away now.)

One thing I noted when doing the season's calendar is that the company will do a few performance of Don Q, then another program (a triple bill, I think, but that's from memory) and then another few performances of Don Q -- a good idea, I think. It will give the dancers more time, more chances, at the ballet, and also, from a box office point of view, it will give word of mouth some time to make the rounds. Often, when a ballet is done four times, and the review doesn't come out until the morning of the third performance, and there isn't enough time for friends to call friends, then the ballet is gone before people know it's there. This kind of split-scheduling is a good solution to that.

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Thanks for the info.

I still have a season subscription to Boston Ballet after being in DC nearly 9 years, so I will be going.

The new schedule is apparently the result of budget cuts. It is rather inconvenient for those of us coming from afar, but it might be better for the production and the dancers.

About DonQ for kids: in Russia/former Soviet Union, DonQ seems to be _the_ ballet for kids--it was on the matinee program at the Kirov / Mariinsky this fall, and I once attended a weekday kiddie matinee of it (hundres of schoolkids and...me) in Moldova. The latter was extra-hammy and especially entertaining.

The exception would be the Eifman version, whose asylum scenes could be scary to kids.

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"Cherished by Boston audiences for almost 14 years, Principal Dancer Jennifer

Gelfand will dance her farewell performance during Don Quixote. Gelfand made

headlines in 1989 when she filled in for former Principal Dancer Laura

Young, the female lead, who fell injured on the stage during the first act.

Gelfand, recently accepted to the Joffrey Ballet, was in Boston as a special

guest artist, and was sitting in The Wang Theatre audience. She was asked to

finish the ballet in place of Young. Then Artistic Director, Bruce Marks,

was so impressed with her performance, that he offered Gelfand a soloist

position in the Company. *Gelfand's performance dates will be announced in

early October. "

Actually the Publicity people haven't quite got it right. Jennifer had already been dancing with the Joffrey company. She made her first appearances with the Boston Ballet in March of 1989 as a special guest for the company's 25th anniversary gala, dancing the Don Quixote Pas de Deux with Daniel Meja, who had just joined the company in January. The full length Don Quixote was being done in May of 1989, and she and Daniel were one of the casts, and it is for that reason that she and her partner were in the audience watching Laura Young dance. By the time those performances were being done in May, however, contracts for the following year were already in place. Bruce did not offer her a contract based on that evening's inspiration. Their first performance was on May 16, 1989 at a school matinee, when they did the ballet without the second act. On May 17, 1989 they did the entire ballet for the first time. Laura Young retired at the end of the run with the last performance, dancing with Devon Carney.

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And you're right, Alexandra, they did four performances of Anna-Marie Holmes' production in the spring of 1993 at Kennedy Center. I believe the casts then were Larissa Ponomarenko and Polyana Ribeiro dancing with Victor Plotnikov (all four shows!). They also did a Boston run that spring.

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From what I've heard, Lorna Feijoo should make a crackerjack Kitri.

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Wow! I can't believe that Polyana Ribeiro has been dancing soloist/principal roles for 10 years now! Time flies!

Costumes: I am vaguely recalling that there was a BB production, likely DonQ, with really awful thong-bottom tutus in the first act. Eek! My ballet subscription buddy and I were _horrified_, even as we noted with a teensy bit of catty satifaction that it was clear that not even professional dancers all have "buns of steel". Sure hope this production's costumes are different. Eek. I am squirming just remembering it.

Mme. Hermine: in the gymnastics world, errors such as you mention are referred to as "obligatory gymnastics article mistake"--there always seems to be at least one.

Is Daniel Meja still dancing? If so, where?

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um, i don't recall any thong-bottom tutus.! :wacko: boston ballet has never had another production of don quixote other than this one. it might lead to misunderstandings in that as i understand it, the nureyev choreography, settings and stage direction is what they haven't done since 1986, but the physical properties are just being "spruced up" and are the same ones they've always had. maybe someone will let the board know?

daniel has retired; he is teaching now.

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About the scary tutus--maybe it was another ballet. It was definitely a BB production (maybe they were just badly cut and were riding up???) Whatever--happily, I never saw anything like it again, at BB or elsewhere. But we do still remember these costumes with a shudder.

If the scary costumes won't be there, perhaps we will consider taking my friend's 6-year old. She made it through the spring Balanchine program, so maybe she'll last through DonQ.

Thanks for the clarification on what will and won't be different, and for the update on my favorite Jester ever.

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:wub:

I just bought a dvd of the Paris Opera Ballet dancing Nureyev's "Don Q." It is great because it is so recent (April 2002, I believe.) The dancing is wonderful of course and yes there are some differences that I noticed when I thought back to the video I have of the Kirov (Terekhova and Ruzimatov.) Particularily with the musical orchestration. John Lanchberry arranged the music. There are even some excerpts from "La Bayadere," in Act II (or at least from Makarova's version.) But, the actual technical aspect of the dancing seems very difficult! However, it is danced beautifully by Aurelie Dupont and Manuel Legris.

Side note: When I was a student at the BBSchool back in 1993, I was a peasant in "Don Quixote." Opening night was danced by Jenifer Gelfand and Fernando Bujones. This was not the Nureyev version. Anna-Marie Holmes did in fact set it and then re set it in April of 2000. I also got to be one of the puppets in Act II. :o

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One more thing-

Daniel Meja is a big idol of mine! He was such an amazing dancer, but the best part was he was so nice! I remember one show of "Midsummer's Night Dream" in 1992 when he was supposed to have a publicity shot of himself. He came running into the childrens dressing room and wanted all of us to join him. (However, the stage manager had different opinions!) :wub:

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In the Spring of 2000 BB did Don Q--the same one that Joseph seemed to have done earlier-- students were urchins and marionettes. What was remarkable about this version was that a student (actually two students shared the role) danced the cupid solo (amour)--the cupid "corps" was also students. I seem to recall that a big deal was made of this--as it was supposedly an historically Russian casting choice but one that hadn't been done in Boston--I may be misremembering that bit! Choreographers listed as after Petipa/Gorsky, staging by Ms. Holmes among others.

As an aside, when I was in London last summer we went to the costume sale at the Royal Opera and acquired the Amour costume from RB's Nureyev's Don Q--which had literally just been performed( to not stellar reviews).

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Yes, JBlste, a student did dance the role of "Amour / Cupid." When I was in it, I remember Jenifer Gelfand and Pollyanna Riberio dancing this role. The students who were the "corps de cupids" were also students in the 1993 version. In the Nureyev version that I just bought there are no children in this scene (I think?!?!)

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I believe that Cupid was danced by students when I saw DonQ at the Kirov last October.

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Yes , manhattnik -- Lorna Feijoo should be a FABULOUS Kitri.... I would make the trip from NYC to Boston t see her do it if I could.

Feijoo was a wonderful Giselle, and a wonderful Swanilda, which we saw her dance here with the Cuban ballet -- very different in each, and a marvellous dance-actress in both.

her sister, Lorena Feijoo, who is now a ballerina in SF, danced the best Kitri I think I'll ever see, really in the tradition of Plisetskaya and Terekhova, blazing with joy, in Helgi Tomasson's new production here - -which may be the best thing he's ever done. I realize these are lots of superlatives, but I've never seen such pure academic dancing given such idiomatic flair, made into such an emblem of personal consciousness.... She was a real heroine, and when Don QUixote put his lance at her service, everything made sense....

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Can anyone point me to casting info for this weekend's performances?

Thanks.

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Koshka - I'm sorry, I have misplaced the cast list my daughter gave to me. However, I do know that Lorna and Yury are dancing this evening, Jose Manuel Carreno and Polly Ribiero tomorrow evening, and Larissa Ponomarenko and Nelson Madrigal at the Saturday matinee. I can't seem to remember the other shows. Hope that helps. By the way, my daughter says that each couple is wonderful. I asked her to choose a favorite and she couldn't because she said each has particular strengths. So, this crazy mom is seeing all three.

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All the casts sound great, it's true. :-)

My tickets are for Sun afternoon, so I'm still eager for a preview of the casting.

BTW there is nothing crazy at all about seeing multiple casts.

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Koshka and all, I hope you will give us VERY thorough reports on the show(s).....

In SFB's version, Elizabeth Miner danced Cupid and was just perfect -- it's a lovely role, with an enchanting variation-- I think it always goes to a short dancer.

There are a lot of good roles in his ballet(Mercedes, Espada, the street dancer, just to start)

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Koshka - I just found out that at the Sunday matinee Larissa and Nelson will be dancing the leads. I am not qualified to give a blow by blow description of the ballet last night, but I must say I was very impressed. Lorna Feijoo was, to sum it up, absolutely unbelievable. She was the right blend of young girl in love with just the right touch of sass. Her dancing was gorgeous. Yury Yanowsky was a perfect partner. Notable performances were given by Barbora Kohoutkova as Queen of the Dryads - beautiful and clean technique; Sarah Lamb as the Street Dancer; and Nelson Madrigal as Espada. Actually, I thought the whole company danced very well and everyone seemed to really be "in tune" with one another. Again, I am not a qualified critic, just a dancer mom, but I was really impressed to see such an opening performance. I would love to hear what others have to say.

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Many thanks for the casting info.

Might have to try to get a Sat eve ticket at HotTix just to see another cast--as before, they all seem so great. I'm betting that if Ponomarkenko and Madrigal are doing both the Sat and Sun matinees, there will be a different cast on Sat night.

I will try to take notes in the theater--that's the only way I'll have anything to report...

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Koshka - I just realized I made a mistake. Ribiero and Carreno will dance Sunday afternoon. Feijoo and Yanowsky dance Saturday evening. Ponamarenko and Madrigal are only doing one this weekend. If you can catch Feijoo, do so.

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To the contrary of all the newpaper reviewers and all the expectations of the previous posters, I must say this Don Quixote was underwhelming.

The good parts: Lorna Feijoo was wonderful - she must have nerves of steel or just not be bothered by the that which would scare the daylights out of normal people. She was funny, poised and technically impeccable. I would love to see her do other things. The soloists in the dream sequence were impressive as was the Street Dancer in the first act. These were places in the ballet where Nureyev left the Kirov's version alone for the most part.

The worst part (from which all the rest of the bad parts flow): Nureyev's choreography. Overladen with meaningless steps, body giggling, it was too much of a not-very-good thing. My 10 yr. old daughter counted 54 ronde de jambe en l'air in the first act before she gave up. I thought that maybe this style was fun for the dancers, but the dancers didn't look like they were having all that much fun. They looked busy, but not very invested. Maybe it was first night jitters. Maybe it was the sparse crowd (the Red Sox were playing the night game that was about to lose them the pennant). Yuri Yanowsky, who I think was fantastic as actor and dancer last season as Onegin and Romeo and Tybalt and the Prodigal Son - that was a great season!) partnered well, but seemed technically insecure in his solos and looked like he wished he were somewhere else.

The corps, to me again, looked uncommitted, particularly in the first act. In the second and third act there was more "story" to tell and the choreography for them was less in the way.

The music was "improved" by John Lanchbery, which in this case meant taking pleasant, simple ballet-tune stuff and overloading the orchestration and juicing up the harmony to the point where the rhythmic impulse was almost gone. So, then he added more percussion.

It's only my opinion, but if Nureyev didn't kill this ballet, he gravely injured it. I can understand that the artistic staff of the ballet didn't want to do the same old Don Q yet again. But this version didn't do the trick for me.

Edited by 4Ts

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I haven't seen it yet--I'm going Saturday afternoon.

I was a bit disappointed I must admit that BB decided to resurrect this version (although I understand why given its historical significance to the company). When I was in London the summer of 2002 the RB did Nureyev's Don Q choreography to very disapponting reviews--I didn't bother seeing it (choosing Coppelia instead).

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