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Which video "Don Quixote" do you recommend?

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I've just finished re-watching the Kirov Don Quixote (Terekhova, Ruzimatov) and also will be looking again at my copies of:

-- the State Perm Ballet ersion (Ananiashvili Fadeyetchev),

-- the ABT with Harvey and Baryshnikov,

-- and the Austrailian with Nureyev.

I have not seen the Bolshoi version with Nadezhda Pavlova and Gordeev.

Which of these performances do you like best --and which would your recommend to, for instance, someone who could purchase only one? Or are there any other's I've missed that would be worth including in this list? Are there, for instance, new performances in the works for the U.S. market?

A confession: This exercise is all about getting into shape for watching 3 or 4 performances of Miami's revival of the ballet, due next spring. For me, sitting in front of the computer watching this ballet one more time is turning out to be something of a chore, since the Petipa Don Quixote is a work I've never responded to with any genuine delight.

I really have tried over the years. I know that this ballet survives primarily as a vehicle for bravura dancing and for a kind of folklorico splash. How can one NOT respond to the astonishing steps, the simple-hearted mugging, the rustled skirts, the simulated castanettes, the fan work (or not, as in the Kirov version), the swagger, the jumps, the laboriously contrived silliness, and the obligatory formal Act III? Sometimes I wish Mark Morris would take this one one, as he did Nutcracker.

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which would your recommend to, for instance, someone who could purchase only one? Or are there any other's I've missed that would be worth including in this list? Are there, for instance, new performances in the works for the U.S. market?

Try Alonso's version. Remember that Spain is, as we Cubans calls it , the "mother land" . Hence, Don Quijote's Cuban version has all that Latin/Spanish hot blooded flavor this ballet requires by nature in order to be successful. I haven't got my DVD yet, but i saw it live maaaany many times, as is one of the most popular productions in Cuba. When it was staged, the famous flamenco dancer Antonio Gades flew to Havana to bring up the style to the ballet, and real bullfighters also came from Spain to train the dancers portraying them.

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I guess the Kirov for overall quality. I really like the ABT one but it is truncated. Cynthia Harvey is a wonderful dancer, but might be considered not virtuoso enough by today's standards. Still, she's very sweet in this and manages to hold her own a bit against Baryshnikov, who was known for this role. (Wasn't that one of the reasons he defected - he didn't want to have a doomed career of only dancing Basillo and never getting a chance at roles the Kirov did not believe he was suited?). Both the Kirov and ABT have excellent Dryad Queens - Makhalina and Jaffe.

The Perm one has the Bolshoi pair to recommend it, but the rest of the company pales in comparison. The Nureyev version - I've never warmed to it, frankly. Something about the production and the way it's filmed... I watched it once and haven't thought about it again.

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My vote is for the Kirov-Mariinsky as well. Terekhova is both a dynamite Kitri and an elegant Dulcinea, and the production includes elements that others don't, such as the puppet show and a rarely-seen variation in the last act. They are also the only company besides POB that can really fill out the corps in the dream sequence.

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Hans brings up another option. There's the POB one with Dupont. Again, I believe that's a Nureyev production. I love the dancers (Dupont, Legris and Gillot) -- excellent performances - but there's something airless about the video. I don't remember if it was taped during a performance or not. Perhaps it was recorded over several performances and that's why it sits oddly on me when watching it.

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Hans brings up another option. There's the POB one with Dupont. Again, I believe that's a Nureyev production. I love the dancers (Dupont, Legris and Gillot) -- excellent performances - but there's something airless about the video. I don't remember if it was taped during a performance or not. Perhaps it was recorded over several performances and that's why it sits oddly on me when watching it.

I wasn't going to say anything, since I only know this one, the Perm, and the ABT, but I like this POB one a lot, and know others have said they don't care so much for it. But I'm an Aurelie nut.

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Well, if someone could purchase only one, then it definetly had to be the Kirov one, for all the reasons mentioned above. Terekhova is amazing and I'd never thought of Ruzimatov in Don Quixote ( before I've seen it) but it works perfectly! It also looks more "complete" than the other vertions, if I can say that. It might be a little old, but I don't think it's affected by that.

The ABT version is colorful, pretty, I really like Cinthya Harvey dancing ( wish there were more videos on her ) and there's Baryshnikov! Jumping! Besides that, the role really fits him! And Patrick Bissel does a terrific "matador"!Somehow I think there's little dancing in this version. I always finish watching it wishing the corps had more to do!

Now, if only someone thought of pairing up Terekova and Baryshnikov.... :)

I can´t wait to see the cuban version! Have high expectations on it!!!

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I haven't watched the Kirov (Terekhova, Ruzimatov) yet, but out of the five DVDs that I watched in the past two weeks: ABT (Harvey, Baryshnikov), POB (Dupont, Legris), Bolshoi (Nadezhda Pavlova, Gordeev), Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet (Ananiashvili, Fadeyetchev), and National Ballet of Cuba (Valdes, Frometa), the National Ballet of Cuba version is the one that I feel I want to immediately re-watch it again. The Cuban performance, like the ABT version, is about 90 minutes long. Personally, I really enjoy watching Valdes playing the role of Kitri - unlike Ananiashvili who hurried through her fouettes in Act 3 and therefore had to pose before the music stopped (!) , Valdes never rushed but simply allowed herself to merge with the melody of the music.

The Bolshoi version (audio: mono, picture quality: so-so) has the most number of lifts being carried out, but what I like the most about this DVD is its bonus section - it has scenes (black and white) from Plisetskaya's Don Quixote!

I found myself yawning through the Prologue and the first 25 minutes of Act 1 in the POB version, but I did manage to stay put in front of my laptop and watched the rest of the performance. The cast was excellent but somehow the chemistry was really lacking in the first 30 minutes of the show.

So, if someone could only purchase one "Don Quixote", I'd recommend the Cuban version.

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Thanks, Katalina, for that review.

So, if someone could only purchase one "Don Quixote", I'd recommend the Cuban version.

I'm posting a link to a parallel thread on the availability of the Cuban dvd. But PLEASE, evereyone, keep posting your thoughts about comparative Don Q's on this thread.

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...c=27637&hl=

I've not seen the Cuban version, but my feeling based on snippets of other performances is that Alonso's company has the passion and the feeling for the material -- possibly, for the IDEA of the material, or even the profound cultural belief in "Spanish temperament," as expressed by the following icon: :FIREdevil:

Although I love the POB, for instance, they seem to be posing their way through roles fdor which they have little in the way of cultural affinity. The pure dance elements are, therefore, much more powerful than the attempts at character and mime. The Russian versions seem more authentic, somehow, although I suppose their cultural connection is to the imported, theatrical past.

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Thanks, Katalina, for that review.
So, if someone could only purchase one "Don Quixote", I'd recommend the Cuban version.

I'm posting a link to a parallel thread on the availability of the Cuban dvd. But PLEASE, everyone, keep posting your thoughts about comparative Don Q's on this thread.

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...c=27637&hl=

I've not seen the Cuban version, but my feeling based on snippets of other performances is that Alonso's company has the passion and the feeling for the material -- possibly, for the IDEA of the material, or even the profound cultural belief in "Spanish temperament," as expressed by the following icon: :FIREdevil:

It comes natural. We're all descendants from Spaniards-(and not that far, as Cuba was a Spanish colony up until my great grandparents times)-and hence, flamenco culture is very strong. There are lots of flamenco nightclubs and even a flamenco-based National Ballet Company, very strong and as helped by the government as NBC. Viengsay's last name is "Valdes", so she also comes from a Spanish family, as well as "Frometa", her partner. Also, Mme. Alonso's version wasn't done by her totally, but rather with equally two third parts of help from two of her legendary ballerinas from the 70's, Maria Elena Llorente-(the best Cuban Lissette of all times)-and Martha Garcia-(which always was the best to interpret those roles of Lorca's writings at CNB). Sarabita used to be great in the role of Basilio back then, and he even danced it with Valdes. That's why i can't wait to see him in Eddie's version.

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My apologies for being a little :FIREdevil: and focusing on the Cuba/Miami connection. I hope others will continue to chime in about the competing virtues of every Don Q available.

Maria Elena Llorente-(the best Cuban Lissette of all times)-and Martha Garcia-(which always was the best to interpret those roles of Lorca\'s writings at CNB).
Cristian, I'm not sure I understand the reference. Are there ballets based on Garcia Lorca's works in the CNB rep? If so, which ones? Also, do Cubans retain the concept of "duende" from the folk culture of southern Spain? Lorca wrote about it in a lecture entitled Teoria y Juego del Duende. It's something that can't be taught. It can't be controlled even by the greatest artist. It bursts out when the time is right, the material is brilliant, and the artist is in tune with the spirit of duende. Lorca quotes the flamenco singer El Lebrijano: "The days I sing with duende have nothing to do with me." An old gypsy dancer, La Malena, listened to Alexander Brailowsky playing a fragment of Bach: "Ole! That has duende!" (She'd been bored by his versions of Gluck, Brahms and Milhaud.) That suggests to me that Petipa can have duende, as can a Paris-based dancer or a Moscovite or even a Kitri from Queens -- if they are receptive and willing.
Sarabita used to be great in the role of Basilio back then, and he even danced it with Valdes. That's why i can't wait to see him in Eddie's version.
This will be the second season for the Miami Don Q. The first time around there were real problems of style. It was well done, but lacked the passion and quality of BELIEVING that you find in Russian and (I imagine) Cuban productions. The original Basilio -- Cuban born and trained -- was okay, but did not have the necessary personality, Nor did he have the bravura style which, with most Basilios, compensates for coming from a different culture.

The real hit of the production for me was the Gypsy leader, Daymel Sanchez, trained at the National School of Art in Havana, who previously had danced at National Ballet of Cuba and Ballet of Monterey. He danced and smoldered as if from another planet. He had duende. I wish you had been able to see him. (I believe he's returned to Ballet de Monterey, which MCB's Luis Serrano now heads.)

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I've just finished re-watching the Kirov Don Quixote (Terekhova, Ruzimatov) and also will be looking again at my copies of:

-- the State Perm Ballet ersion (Ananiashvili Fadeyetchev),

-- the ABT with Harvey and Baryshnikov,

-- and the Austrailian with Nureyev.

I have not seen the Bolshoi version with Nadezhda Pavlova and Gordeev.

Which of these performances do you like best --and which would your recommend to, for instance, someone who could purchase only one? Or are there any other's I've missed that would be worth including in this list? Are there, for instance, new performances in the works for the U.S. market?

None, I'd get Osipova and Vasiliev in the Bolshoi's version, staged by Alexei Fadeyechev.

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Is the Bolshoi going to release an Osipova/Vasiliev Don Q commercially?

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Cristian, I'm not sure I understand the reference. Are there ballets based on Garcia Lorca's works in the CNB rep? If so, which ones? Also, do Cubans retain the concept of "duende" from the folk culture of southern Spain? Lorca wrote about it in a lecture entitled Teoria y Juego del Duende.

Bart, you are right about this. “Duende" is a term often used in Spain to describe flamenco singers or dancers who have/transmit that untranslatable quality. The world stayed after Lorca spread it in Havana around the first half of the century. It defines a mixture of strength, rapture, rawness...It can be used in any other context by extension, to describe someone or something that has much depth and impact. Generally it’s applied to the darkest most dramatic side of the artistic process. Marta Garcia, one of the stagers of the ballet, has a deep knowledge of Lorca and its works-(she used to dance beautifully Alonso's version of "Blood Wedding"). Garcia's DQ definitely has “duende”, but then it also has “ache”-(if Spain is our mother land ,then Africa would be the father…Valdes and Frometa, with their typical racial mixed heritage, have lots of ache). Look up the word, as homework…It’s also very interesting.

And as we say...

"Ache pa'ti!" :lol:

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Thanks cristian, for that information and for the clarification about duende. I did not realize the extent to which the word suggests darkness and even a tragic component. (I thought that was just Lorca's personality.) "Blood Wedding," if it's faithful to the play, must be very DRAMATIC indeed.

The African influence you mention is one that it is easy for many of us up here in the north to forget or downplay.

Garcia's DQ definitely has “duende”, but then it also has “ache”-(if Spain is our mother land ,then Africa would be the father…Valdes and Frometa, with their typical racial mixed heritage, have lots of ache). Look up the word, as homework…It’s also very interesting.

I did so, and found many recordings, a restaurant in Barcelona, etc. etc. Quite a fascinating trail. Would it be cheating to provide other readers of this thread with a Link?

http://books.google.com/books?id=UD0cjQ82l...0&ct=result

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