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Don Quixote 2015

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The revival of Alexei Ratmansky's "Don Quixote," first and last seen in 2012, will open on Friday January 30, with two extra non-subscription performances the second weekend. Here is the press release:

Don Quixote

January 30 – February 8, 2015
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center
Seattle, WA 98109

January 30 & 31, February 5, 6, & 7 at 7:30 pm
January 31, February 7 & 8 at 1:00 pm
February 8 at 7:00 pm

Music: Ludwig Minkus (1869), with additional music by Anton Simon, Vladimir Shiskov, Cesare Pugni, Yuli Gerber, Eduard Napravnik, Riccardo Drigo
Choreography: Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky, with additional choreography by Alexei Ratmansky
Staging: Sandrine Leroy, Judy Maelor-Thomas, Sonja Marchiolli
Scenic & Costume Design: Jérôme Kaplan
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Original Production Premiere: December 14, 1869; Imperial Ballet, Moscow, choreography by Marius Petipa; revived November 9, 1871, Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg
Gorsky Production Premiere: December 6, 1900, Imperial Ballet, Moscow choreography by Alexander Gorsky (after Marius Petipa); restaged January 20, 1902, Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg
Ratmansky Production Premiere: February 13, 2010; Dutch National Ballet (Amsterdam)
American Premiere: February 3, 2012; Pacific Northwest Ballet
Running Time: 2 hours and 55 minutes (including two intermissions)

SEATTLE, WA –Pacific Northwest Ballet is delighted to present the return of Alexei Ratmansky’s spectacular, rousing Don Quixote. One of the most opulent productions ever presented in PNB’s history, Don Q runs for nine performances only, from January 30 through February 8 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30 and may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org

Alexei Ratmansky's genius for revitalizing classic ballets is the talk of the dance world. America had its first look at his staging of Don Quixote when PNB premiered it to great acclaim in 2012. Vast in every sense —from Jérôme Kaplan’s colossal sun-bleached sets and vibrant costumes, to the expansive sweep of the choreography — Don Q is informed by Ratmansky’s technical fluency punctuated by carefree humor, brimming with wit and romance. The story follows Spain’s legendary hero Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, to the famed city of Barcelona on a quest for his dream lover, Dulcinea. Instead, he becomes entangled in the affairs of the high-spirited Kitri whose father would rather she marry a rich fool than the penniless but dashing Basilio. The young couple takes flight and their adventures, reflected by the Don’s visions, fill the stage with teaming street life, the cadence of castanets and tambourines, flashing fans, and whirling matadors. Bravura dancing, captivating characters and stunning stagecraft combine with Ludwig Minkus’ rousing score to deliver a tremendous theater experience for audiences of all ages.

Award-winning actor Tom Skerritt (“Picket Fences,” “Cheers,” “The West Wing,” “Brothers & Sisters”) – who, in addition to roles in such film classics as Top Gun, M*A*S*H, Alien and Steel Magnolias, played a former ballet dancer in the hit film The Turning Point – returns to PNB in the lead role of Don Quixote. His devoted squire, Sancho Panza, will once again be played by Allen Galli, familiar to Seattle audiences from over 30 years of appearances with every major local theatre company, including a previous stint as Sancho Panza in Village Theatre’s Man of La Mancha. (The roles of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza will be played by PNB ballet master Otto Neubert and principal dancer Jonathan Porretta, respectively, at select performances. Visit the Don Q casting page at PNB.org for more info.)

Don Quixote is one of the most sumptuous productions in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s history. The ballet originally cost Dutch National Ballet $3 million to build:

  • Don Q is so expansive that it requires 2,200 square feet of dancing space on stage; most of PNB’s story ballets require just 1,700 – 1,800 square feet.
  • Eight shipping containers were required to transport the elaborate sets and costumes from Amsterdam to Seattle.
  • More lumber and other building materials were used to construct the ballet than were used to create PNB’s Coppélia, Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty, combined.
  • The production utilizes 280 costumes and props, including 47 wigs and hairpieces, requiring the work of eight hair and make-up artists at each performance. (PNB’s company is about half the size of Dutch National Ballet: Some dancers will change costumes up to five times in one performance.)
  • The hats worn by the Torreadors are authentic matador hats made in Madrid.
  • The masks for the six monsters in Don Q were made by a company that worked on the Lord of the Rings movies.
  • The shipping costs alone to bring Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote from Dutch National Ballet to PNB amount to $120,000.

That’s quite a tab for transportation. Patrons can help PNB get this vibrant ballet to the stage of McCaw Hall by joining the Don Q Fan Club. The Fan Club offers a host of benefits to bring donors behind the scenes of the production. For more information about joining the Don Q Fan Club, please contact Lilah Helton in PNB’s Development Office at 206.441.3594 or lhelton@PNB.org.

(For full Don Q program notes, click here or visit PNB.org.)


Born in St. Petersburg, Alexei Ratmansky trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. He was a principal dancer with the Ukrainian National Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet. As a choreographer, Mr. Ratmansky has created ballets for Dutch National Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the State Ballet of Georgia. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2003, Mr. Ratmansky was invited to mount a full-length ballet, The Bright Stream, at the Bolshoi Theatre, a production which would win for him the appointment of Bolshoi Theatre artistic director in 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he also choreographed full-length productions of The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Mr. Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream. In 2005, Mr. Ratmansky was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for Royal Danish Ballet, and in 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. During his Bolshoi tenureship, Mr. Ratmansky also created works for New York City Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. Since joining American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in 2009, Mr. Ratmansky has created On the Dnieper, Waltz Masquerade, Seven Sonatas, Dumbarton, and a new full length The Nutcracker for that company. Recent premieres include Psyché for Paris Opera Ballet, The Firebird at ABT, and a new Romeo and Juliet for National Ballet of Canada.


Tickets to Don Q ($30-$184) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:
Phone - 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
In Person - 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
Online - PNB.org (24/7)
Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall.


Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call 206.441.2416, email juliej@PNB.org or use PNB’s Online Group Builder at PNB.org.

All Thursday and Friday performances: January 30, February 5 & 6 at 7:30 pm
One ticket for $15 or two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for January 30, February 5 & 6 performances only. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid ID upon ticket retrieval.

PNB is a proud participant of Teen Tix. Young Teen Tix members (13 to 19 years old) can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit TeenTix.org.

Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with valid ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.

# # #

Principal support for the 2012 U.S. premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Don Quixote was provided by Glenn Kawasaki and Dan & Pam Baty. The production is also made possible by supporting sponsor Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation and Opening Night Dinner sponsor Regence BlueShield. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2014-2015 Season is proudly sponsored by ArtsFund and Microsoft Corporation. Season-long support also provided by Dilettante Chocolates.

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Special activities for children and families – including crafts and dance classes – begin one hour before all matinee performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Friday, January 23, 6:00 pm
The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street

Join us for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring PNB dancers rehearsing excerpts from Don Q. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Tickets are $12 each. (These events sell out in advance.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.

Saturday, January 24 at 3:00 pm
The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street

Join a panel discussion featuring actors Tom Skerritt and Allen Galli with PNB Company dancers. Tickets are $25 each for general admission or $20 for subscribers.

Tuesday, January 27, 12:00 noon
Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue

Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about Don Q, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join PNB artistic staff for an engaging discussion during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online at PNB.org or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.

Listen to the Ballet!
Friday, January 30 at 7:30 pm

PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of the world’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in to KING FM for a live broadcast of Don Q under the direction of conductor Emil de Cou on Friday, January 30 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at king.org/listen

Pre-Performance Lectures
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing Don Q to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Post-Performance Q&A
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.

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PNB posted the dates for the Skeritt/Galli performances:

Tom Skerritt & Allen Galli Performances:

Friday, Jan 30 at 7:30
Saturday, Jan 31 at 7:30
Thursday, Feb 5 at 7:30
Friday, Feb 6 at 7:30
Saturday, Feb 7 at 1
Saturday, Feb 7 at 7:30
Sunday, Feb 8 at 7

Otto Neubert and Jonathan Porretta will perform on:

Saturday Jan 31 at 1

Sunday Feb 8 at 1

Please note: all matinee performances begin at 1pm, including Saturdays.

Casting for the featured roles for at least the first weekend should be out any day now, tomorrow the earliest.

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The company has several different pricing schemes to attract younger audiences, but I'm most impressed with a bigger project that's run by a stand-alone organization called Teen Tix. Kids 13-20 can register, and are eligible for reduced prices to a big menu of cultural events. Different organizations sign on for different kinds of access (some museums are free all the time to TT members, while others limit some of the big shows to certain days/times; some theaters do $5 student rush tickets for any performance, some let you bring an adult at the reduced price to some shows (the reverse of adult brings kid to theater!), etc) It started out fairly modestly with just a few organizations signed on, but now they've got over 50 institutions participating. They run a blog as well, so that kids who want to write about what they're seeing have a place to post their stuff, as well as promote the program. It's here, if you want to take a look.

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Principal casting is up for weekend 1:


Here's the spreadsheet:

Don Q Jan-Feb 2015 Casting.xlsx

Seth Orza (Basilio, with Elizabeth Murphy) and Rachel Foster (Cupid) are back!

First weekend debuts:

  • Elizabeth Murrphy, Kitri, Saturday matinee (Jan 31)
  • Lindsi Dec,Kitri, Saturday evening (Jan 31)
  • Sarah Ricard Orza (with Jerome Tisserand), Mercedes, Saturday matinee (Jan 31)
  • Carrie Imler (with Batkhurel Bold), Mercedes, Saturday evening (Jan 31)
  • Margaret Mullin (with Sarah Orza), Juanita, Friday (Jan 30)
  • Angelica Generosa (with Leta Biasucci), Juanita, Saturday matinee (Jan 31)
  • Leta Biasucci (with Angelica Generosa), Piccilia, Saturday matinee (Jan 31)
  • Raphael Bouchard, Gamache, Saturday matinee (Jan 31)
  • Lesley Rausch, Queen of the Dryads, Friday (Jan 30)
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The Kitri/Basilio pairs for second weekend are up on the PNB website. Tom Skeritt and Allen Galli are Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, unless otherwise noted:

Thursday, February 6: Rausch/Tisserand

Friday, February 7: Imler/Lin-Yee*

Saturday, February 8 matinee (1pm): Korbes/Bold (non-subscription)

Saturday, February 8 evening: Rausch/Tisserand

Sunday, February 9 matinee (1pm): Imler/Lin-Yee with Neubert/Porretta

Sunday, February 9 evening (7pm): Dec/Cruz

*First time in role

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I'm really looking forward to her Mercedes this weekend. (Both of her Kitri's are next weekend, on Friday and Sunday matinee.) It's a new role for her, and she and Bold (Espada) are always terrific together. Bold's Mercedes in 2012 was Maria Chapman, but she hasn't been cast for anything so far since her parental leave started last spring.

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I'm really looking forward to her Mercedes this weekend. (Both of her Kitri's are next weekend, on Friday and Sunday matinee.) It's a new role for her, and she and Bold (Espada) are always terrific together. Bold's Mercedes in 2012 was Maria Chapman, but she hasn't been cast for anything so far since her parental leave started last spring.

I look forward to your report, Helene. As a New Yorker who has never seen Imler live I watch every bit of video I can see of her. She seems like a really special dancer.

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I'm biased, I think, but I'm always interested in seeing what Imler does with a role, especially one of the standard classics. I imagine I'm reading in here, but she dances with great fidelity to the text of the role -- she does what the choreography says, and trusts that it will do its job. And so we really see what the choreographer made, which is such a treat.

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Posted to PNB's Facebook, a video interview of Tom Skerritt by Carla Korbes. (I don't see it posted to YouTube yet.)


Joining Korbes and Skerritt in rehearsal footage are Allen Galli as Sancho Panza, Batkhurel Bold as Basilio and towards the end, Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz as Mercedes and Espada, Rachel Foster as Cupid, and Sarah Ricard Orza as Queen of the Dryads.

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I'm biased, I think, but I'm always interested in seeing what Imler does with a role, especially one of the standard classics. I imagine I'm reading in here, but she dances with great fidelity to the text of the role -- she does what the choreography says, and trusts that it will do its job. And so we really see what the choreographer made, which is such a treat.

Agreed. When I moved to New York 10 years ago, Imler and Paul Gibson--the first really good male dancer I had ever seen--were the two dancers who I actively missed.

(NYC types, imagine if Ashley Bouder had a cousin: such a technical powerhouse and stage animal that it isn't appreciated how great she can be as a stylist.)

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Bold is in his 30's, and even if the camera was rolling, he knows what to save for the stage. Francia Russell said they called him "Air Bold." When he's on, he's among the most dynamic and exciting of the men, and there are two dancers who really bring out the verve in him: Korbes, who will be his Kitri, and Imler, who will be his Mercedes. I think he's better suited to Korbes than Cruz, who looks better with taller dancers, like his wife, Lindsi Dec, and Laura Gilbreath, who's nowhere on the cast lists :( (In 2012, she danced Mercedes with Cruz, Queen of the Dryads, and one of the Kitri's friends, who gets a variation in the Act III PDD.)

Cruz's Kitri (and Mercedes) is Lindsi Dec. Cruz has been having back issues intermittently in the last few seasons, which has limited his performances, but they are brilliant together, have said they love to dance together -- I guess not a given in general among couples -- and I'm pretty sure they are happy to be performing these roles with each other. I remember way back in the day when retired Principal Stanko Milov did a show with his choreography to his own music, he said that he created one of the PDDs for them inspired by their love for each other, but they were usually cast with other people. They did get to dance togehter their self-described dream work, "Petite Mort." One of the most moving dance performances I've ever seen was the two of them in the PDD from Ochoa Lopez' "Cylindrical Shadows," with its foreshadowing of death. (Now I'm getting verklempt at the thought.) She's got the devil in her when the tone isn't as serious, and I can't wait to see them here. I expect sparks to fly.

Seth Orza is returning after being out for many months with knee surgery and rehab. Basilio is a tall order, but he's scheduled for one performance, with Elizabeth Murphy. I think the are a great physical match, and it's great for her to have someone with experience and focused on her debut performance. (His Kitri in 2012, Rachel Foster, is just coming back from parental leave and is reprising her Cupid.)

Jerome Tisserand is a wonderful, elegant dancer and is great in comic roles, and he and Lesley Rausch have a superb partnership. He can do all of the show-off technical stuff, too, and with ease. They danced Mercedes and Espada in 2012, and he'll also dance Espada, but this time with Sarah Ricard Orza. Lesley Rausch is changing to Queen of the Dryads this year, perhaps because Laura Gilbreath isn't dancing this rep.

I'm aiming to see as many casts as I can.

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From the Seattle Times, an article on Allen Galli, who plays Sancho Panza to Tom Skerritt's Don Quixote in most of the shows:


In rehearsals this month with stager Sonja Marchiolli, Galli marveled at how “she’ll give you something that all of a sudden, if you just do that one thing, it makes everything clear. It’s storytelling, and the story becomes clearer if you do that one thing there. If you do it two beats earlier, not as good. You do it two beats later, not as good. On that beat — oh yeah, that’s the story.”

It's not every choreographer or director and stager combo that can be that in tune in this kind of timing detail -- or every director or choreographer who gets it -- and it's great to see that Ratmansky and Marchiolli are this kind of team.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do like a lot of the female dancers there, but know very few of the male dancers. I know a few of the younger ones - Kyle Davis, Steven Loch. I am sad to see that Leta Biasucci is not doing Kitri, as I think she would be amazing. (Maybe she is doing it. I did not check the casting.) She is the daughter of a dear friend, so I was so excited to hear about her promotion. A very deserving dancer. But I am sure she will be in mix the next time they do Don Quixote if she is not performing it this time.

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I accidentally blew up a cut and paste of the fifth Basilio, William Lin-Yee, who makes his debut here. (I cut, but didn't paste properly.) He is Carrie Imler's partner. They were beautiful together in "Diamonds" in the Fall. He's tall and has a plush movement quality, and in last year's "Giselle," he reprised Wilfried and debuted as Albrecht and Hilarion.

I was hoping for a Biasucci Kitri, too, but it's not to be in this run. Four of the women are Principals: Korbes and Imler are doing it for the second time with new partners, and Rausch and Dec, each of whom danced Mercedes in the last run, are dancing Kitri this time. Rachel Foster is just coming back from parental leave: she was Seth Orza's partner last time. The only soloist to debut as Kitri is Elizabeth Murphy, who will also debut as Queen of the Dryads and dances one of Kitri's friends. She joined the company a few seasons ago from Ballet West and at the same time as Leah Biasucci came from Oregon Ballet Theatre, and she was promoted quickly and has been cast prominently. Leslie Rausch and Jerome Tisserand may have done the abridged school performance of Don Q in 2012.

It's an expensive production to bring over, and usually licenses are for three years. I don't know if this will show again. I suspect ticket sales and a sponsor (or lack thereof) will determine whether it ever comes back.

Don Q is hard for the men: there are two major male dancing roles, and three major male mime roles (Sancho Panza, Don Q, and Gamache), like "La Bayadere." There is a divertissement for the theater troupe among whom Kitri and Basilio hide, with roles for three men (Devil, Harlequin, King) and two women (Queen, Princess). They aren't listed in the Principal casting.

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