Don Quijote had only two castings. On Friday night and Sunday matinée Mary Carmen Catoya was given the Kitri and Renato Panteado Basilio. Jennifer Kronemberg and Carlos Guerra were Mercedes/Espada Friday and Sunday, Ernesto Quenedit and Amanda Weingarten-(please Liebling correct me if I’m wrong on this, cause I didn’t get Mercedes' substitution, but she looked to me like Weingarten )-the second night. On Saturday night my heart was stolen by Jeanette Delgado’s Quiteria, which was paired with Guerra’s Basilio . Amor had Tricia Albertson on Friday and Saturday night. Today Jeanette carried the platinum short wig-(hate that thing). Trouper Deanna Seay danced Queen of Dryads the three days.
I need to start with the fact that I truly loved both Catoya and Delgado in the role. It’s been many years since I saw my last Quijote live-(Havana), and I should confess I avoided seeing the production here last time they did it, out of some XIX Century-grieving process I was going thru after my last unsuccessful Giselle experience with the Company.
But hey, this was a very very different story. The whole thing was happy, energetic, vital.
First things first. The winner of this season is without a doubt Jeanette Delgado. Oooh, what a beauty, what grace. I can’t really describe it. Right at the very second she stomped out to the stage, she BECAME Quiteria. I hadn’t seen such power and “salsa” in a long, long time-(sorry, I can’t come out with a proper translation). If this helps a little, just think of the similar approach of that of Viengsay Valdes-(Don Quijote DVD, CNB). It’s just that they really have that extra “something” that makes one really believe in this flirty, RADIANT, spicy hot blooded girl-(well, at the end, THEY REALLY ARE!)
The other Quiteria, Mary Carmen Catoya, only proved one more time that it will be a tough game to try to get the “Top Company Star” title out of her petite hands. Catoya’s portray was different, but as magnetic as Delgado. Catoya is more shy, but this shyness gives her Kitri a little more edgy look. I had the sense as if she was a teen trying to sneak out of her sheltered life to be with her first love. Delgado tells the story of a more experienced young woman, one that goes right where she wants when she wants. Both were exquisite, and both received ovations. For some reason Catoya, unlike Delgado, decided to make a substitution in her Act III harp variation: instead of the diagonal of spring points-(or “la escalera” as it is known in Cuba)-she came out with a diagonal of pirouettes/chainees series, which was great, but didn’t do it to me as the folk/flavored “escalera”.
Ok, So Renato Panteado did GREEEEEEEEEEAT too as Basilio. Beautiful jumps, exquisite tours en l’air, impressive one hand lifts. Guerra’s Espada was all virility, his cape handling beautifully done, his Mercedes-(Kronemberg)-looking adorable as ever. Newbie Carlos Quenedit showed knowledge in the role-(he had done it in the demanding Alonso’s production right before defecting from Cuba, and this really shows). His Mercedes-(Weingarten?)-was fresh, musical…very pretty. Tricia Albertson’s Amor could have been more vivacious, with more accents. That hideous platinum wig needs to go. Deanna Seay looked very elegant as the Queen of Dryads. Jeremy Cox’s unique personality did the best of his Gamache.
If anything, I just have to say that Eddie’s Company could have handled a more complex/technically demanding choreography, both to the principals and the Corps-(The gypsy scene the best example). I was also a little confused with the dream scene, as in Cuba Amor’s variation is danced with what I saw here as Kitri’s Dulcinea. (I had never seen the one was done). As per Kitri’s role here, I missed the longer dancing sequence that Alonso gives her, along with the Adagio danced by her and the Don, with that great jetes-permeated coda. Also Alonso’s version goes more into the “ballet blanc” spirit…the Dryads tutus are long, white and the poses are more romantic-inspired. Another miss that I noticed is the way they showed the Dulcinea/Kitri ordeal in this scene. For someone who’s not that used to the ballet it would have been kind of hard to understand what was going on-(Alonso’s version has Dulcinea appears, just to suddenly disappear with Kitri standing in her place with the same dress in a shorter version). Then one realizes that this change has happened in the Don’s confused eyes-(or mind).
Many details, and I could go on and on forever, as this is a ballet that I got to see a lot and love a great deal-(it is played every single year in Cuba, like Giselle and SL), but I really have to say that the whole Company danced with a lot of brio and passion. Orchestra is gone, and economical challenges are affecting its running, but the boys and girls really did a great job. Congratulations to all!!!