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Ballet in D.C.

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Imagine you have a chance to go to D.C. in the early/mid summer, You see that the Suzanne Farrell Ballet is in town in June (performing Donkey Shoot, aka: Don Quixote) and the Kirov makes an appearance in July (Le Corsaire). Highly subjective, but I'm curious - which one would *you* go to see and why?

Alexandra (or anyone else who lives in the city or frequents the ballet at the Kennedy Center) - how difficult do you think it's going to be to get tickets to a weekend performance?

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Hi Lisa! I couldn't choose. I'd go to both :)

I agree with greyhound on the tickets -- you can buy on line, and do so as early as possible. I would bet that the Kirov will sell out. The "Don Q" is more specialist fare, so it might be possible to get a late ticket. But it's hard to tell. The second week of ABT sold out -- "Swan Lake." But the first week, especially the weekends, you could have brought your entire extended family and gotten in ten minutes before curtain.

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Also keep in mind that the Opera House is a relatively small house--even last row of second tier is close, by my standards......If I have to go last minute, I always ask for second tier on the sides anad those seats are perfectly acceptable---especially for these large scale ballets....

Go to both.

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Farrell's Don Quixote is by Balanchine to a then-contemporary (60's) score by Nicolas Nabokov. It's a serious ballet, not the light-hearted traditional Don Q to Minkus, and was a love poem from Balanchine to Suzanne Farrell. It was performed only a few seasons by New York City Ballet. Balanchine was said to have been disappointed with the score, which has been knocked by more than one critic.

The Don is a major character in the ballet. In Balanchine's Complete Stories of the Great Ballets, a note says,

My interest in Don Quixote has always been in the hero's finding an ideal, something to live for and sacrifice for and serve...Every man wants an inspiration.  For the Don it was Dulcinea, a woman he sought in many guises.

Farrell has a part-year "pick-up" company, although she uses many dancers year after year. She knew she didn't have a big enough base for a ballet this big, and for this production, she'll be working with National Ballet of Canada, from which her two of her top ballerinas in the last two years have come.

There is a small excerpt of one of Farrell's solos in the documentary, Elusive Muse, but, unfortunately, no film of Farrell dancing to Balanchine's Don.

Le Corsaire should be traditional. I haven't read anywhere that this is, for example, a German Expressionist version set in the Warsaw Ghetto or anything else conceptual. If I'm missing a reason why this production is important, I hope someone will add to this thread.

Don Quixote is a very big deal, because it's being staged by the originator of the central woman's roles. (She appears in several guises and incarnations, not one character.) It has been a rarity. Many ballet goers have never had the opportunity to see the ballet. If you're planning a trip now, there's little way to let casting influence your decision. The Kirov will come back to the US with Le Corsaire, but this may be the only opportunity for decades -- or ever -- to see this version of Don Q. On the other hand, it's very possible that you won't like it at all, because reviews for the ballet were mixed.

It sounds like you're trying to decide which of two times to visit. If that's the case, and you are making one visit, I hope this helps to decide or raises other questions.

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Hello Alexandra and Juliet, believe me, I wish I could go to both! My little tragedy is that I'll be in D.C. at the end of March on business - and no ballet! So I managed to talk my way into *one* return trip in the late Spring, early Summer. For that trip, my cup runneth over. Feast or famine. Y' know? It's not a Solomon-like decision, but it's tough enough for a ballet lover from the ballet-starved provinces.

Greyhound, thanks for the tip. I'm going to sign up for that "remind me" service on the Kennedy Center's web site.

Hockeyfan thank you so much. Your info provides much food for thought. I trended towards the Kirov, because ... it's the Kirov, my favorite, and I think I'd enjoy Corsaire. But then again, I want to see SF Ballet when I have the chance. From what I've read, she's built something very interesting and intriguing, and I'd love to see Ms. Go. I get the feeling that Ms. Farrell's company is more elusive (pun not intended), in a "see it when you can" sense. I hope I'm wrong but maybe I shouldn't take the chance.

My ballet friend in D.C. hasn't yet weighed in on which one she would prefer, but since she goes to them all, I imagine she'll leave it up to me. *She'll* get to go to both!

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