Reviews of American Ballet Theatre's "Don Quixote."
Because ballet is an art form in which physical attributes matter, the ballerinas can also be sorted by size. Guest artist Maria Kochetkova has a bravura technique that allows her to change direction while performing "fouettés." She is so petite, however, that she all but vanishes in the Dream Scene (ditto Xiomara Reyes). Next to Kochetkova, Herman Cornejo stands tall. He lifts her easily, holding her overhead with one arm until she giggles and rattles her tambourine.
Yet before I go on with what will be a largely laudatory review, I have to get a somewhat grumpy opinion off my mind. This has nothing to do with the current Don Q staging by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones dating from 1995. Rather, my complaint is about the original libretto devised way back in 1740 for a production by the Austrian choreographer Franz Hilverding, which has continued to inform most of the productions that followed including the seminal work by Petipa in 1869. The ballet's story about the romance between Kitri and Basilio is based on two of the least compelling chapters in the seventeenth century novel by Miguel de Cervantes, which is a complex exploration of delusion and defeat that has been heralded as the birth of modern literature.