Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Hübbe's Don Quixote (2016)

Recommended Posts

Cast lists have still not been published, neither have new stage photos gone up, but there's a lot of rehearsal photos and videos up on Instagram.

This week Jonathan Chmelensky has taken over the "kglteater" (Royal Danish Theatre's) official Instagram to document the dancers' work with the ballet. As far as I can tell, Chmelensky will be dancing Basilio along with Marcin Kupinski. Ida Praetorius and Lena-Maria Gruber will definitely be dancing Kitri, I suspect J'aime Crandall is dancing the role as well, the rest I'm not so sure about... I'm still hoping.

I'm seeing this performance three times, three days in a row. 5th, 6th and 7th of May. I'm really excited and hope to catch different casts each time. Is anyone else going?

Link to comment

Yes, I'm so excited for that combi. I really hope to catch them, J'aime is a favourite of mine and I think she could really ace Kitri!

It also seems Gregory Dean will be dancing Espada. I wonder who else will be cast in that role... And I'm dying to know who will dance the street dancer.

Link to comment

Cast list has gone up for Don Q, three main couples as I'd predicted, but one surprise, too! On the 7th of May, J'aime Crandall will dance Kitri not opposite Jón Axel Fransson, but opposite guesting dancer Osiel Gouneo from the Norwegian Ballet (though, I could read he's Cuban-trained, must make Chmelensky happy!) I am so excited that I'll get the opportunity to see this!


Kitri: J'aime Crandall/Ida Praetorius/Lena-Maria Gruber

Basilio: Jón Axel Fransson/Marcin Kupinski/Jonathan Chmelensky/Osiel Gouneo

Don Quixote: Mogens Boesen

Sancho Panza: Poul-Erik Hesselkilde

Paquilla: Kizzy Matiakis/Alexandra Lo Sardo

Juanita: Ida Praetorius/Lena-Maria Gruber

Gamache: Sebastian Kloborg/Cédric Lambrette

Espada: Ulrik Birkkjær/Gregory Dean/Andreas Kaas

Mercedes: Amy Watson/Susanne Grinder/Holly Dorger

Gypsy Queen: Josephine Berggreen/Alba Nadal/Christina Michanek

Queen of the Dryads: Holly Dorger/Kizzy Matiakis/Caroline Baldwin/Astrid Elbo

Cupid: Silvia Selvini/Katerina Plachá

I'll be so happy to see Mogens Boesen as Don Q, he's my favourite character dancer with the company and has the perfect aura for the role. Whereas I had kind of expected both Dean and Birkkjær to get the role of Espada, I had not seen Kaas coming and look forward to seeing what he'll do with it, he's not quite as tall as the other two… I am so happy to see both Susanne and Holly dance Mercedes, out of the three cast, only Watson has danced it before, I think. Nadal will be perfect as the Gypsy Queen and I'm really looking forward to seeing Berggreen as well. I knew Holly was dancing Queen of the Dryads, but all the others came as surprises, though Baldwin and Matiakis make sense. Astrid is only dancing it a few times late-run, but I'm so happy she is getting the chance, even if I won't get the chance to see it. Also, Silvia will be the most perfect little Cupid ever. Ever.

So excited. Suddenly three trips to the theatre for this production makes a perfect number.

Link to comment

New pictures up of this production, some amazing shots of J'aime as Kitri especially, so excited to get to see her dance this role. Also some fantastic shots of Alba Nadal as the Gypsy Queen and Holly Dorger as the Queen of the Dryads, not to mention Susanne Grinder as Mercedes. My personal favourite, however, is probably the solo shot they took of Lena-Maria Gruber as Kitri, my excitement about catching her in her debut just went through the roof, wow! A couple of nice shots of Chmelensky and Fransson as Basilio, too.

All in all, these shots shows a very promising set and some absolutely gorgeous costumes. Should anyone be interested to take a look, you can find the photos here along with the promo video: https://kglteater.dk/det-sker/sason-2015-2016/ballet/don-quixote/#galleri

Link to comment

To answer my own question - I'm told the Dryads' short tutus are a return to the original designs - it was only for the last production (the Cuban one, which is the only one I've seen there) that the long ones were introduced. (This is the fourth time the Danes have used the rest of these Don Q costumes - literally the same ones - some of the dancers have been posting photos of all the name-labels inside their jackets etc, and there are a lot!)

Link to comment

Kistrup's thoughts on the premiere yesterday: www.danceviewtimes.typepad.com/eva_kistrup/2016/05/sort-of-entertained.html

Since I haven't seen it yet, I can't comment, but generally I tend to disagree with Kistrup on most things anyway, so I'm still very hopeful on my three-cast marathon next week. I'm especially happy that we're finishing with J'aime's cast Sunday. Very excited about guest dancer for Basilio and Holly Dorger as Queen of the Dryads. In the two other casts, I'm especially excited about the leads in the Thursday show (Lena-Maria Gruber + Jonathan Chmelensky) and Holly Dorger as Mercedes, sounds like an exciting role for her. Friday, my queen Susanne Grinder is dancing Mercedes, so that'll be perfect, I know. Also curious about Praetorius' Kitri and Matiakis' Queen of the Dryads. All in all, just extremely excited from my end.

Link to comment

Both the Danish cultural blog fyraften.nu and the newspaper Berlingske (giving the performance five out of six stars, even) praise the premiere of Hübbe's Don Quixote with particular warm mention of J'aime Crandall as Kitri, Jón Axel Frasson as Basilio, Ulrik Birkkjær as Espada and Silvia Selvini as Cupid in common.

Link to comment

Cultural blog kulturkupeen.dk awards the premiere five stars and praises the entire company for honouring the Russian style as well as really entertaining the audience with a story that might be thin at best, but dancing that's large-scale.

Link to comment

Saw Jonathan Chmelensky and Lena-Maria Gruber's debut last night in Don Q. Can't write a long review now, since I'm not home at my computer, but will make some short shout-outs now and return with something more complete later.

Jonathan Chmelensky was absolute amazing as Basilio. He ooozed of charmth and warmth and for the most part his technique was breath-taking. Unfortunately the two first one arm lifts in the first act didn't work out, but he got defiant by the third and let Lena-Maria hang up there for a second or two longer, just to show us HE COULD. The lifts in the third act worked like a charm. All in all, this was the Chmelensky I know and love with an unparallelled energy in his partnering and a newfound UMPH in his solos. Wow. I was sad there was no promotion for him, he deserved it and he's literally been carrying every major male lead this season, minus Romeo. Hope to catch him in Come Fly Away next.

Lena-Maria Gruber's Kitri was a dream come true for me. She is a strong technician, but some of her solos bore marks of concentration and didn't really project the power that I know she has. I'm sure in a couple of performances, it'll find a more natural expression. Most of her solos were very safely executed, though and seemed to have no major mishaps. Her partnership with Chmelensky filled the entire stage, the entire room and she looked stunningly beautiful from start to finish. In act three, she fell out of her fouettes briefly, but managed to get back on pointe and complete the count in the same pace. That was an impressive comeback and she received very eager cheering for it, too. All in all, technically the third act was extremely strong all-over.

Holly Dorger as the streetdancer Mercedes was really the most complete show of technical bravur the entire night and I was so impressed with how effortlessly she stepped into the sultry, mature sexuality (as compared to Kitri's adolescent one) and how she just owned that stage whenever she was on it. She received some of the biggest applauses all performance and looked smashing in all three of her costumes. Wow. Especially in act two, she took my breath away with her solo. I could hear, by the audience's response, that I was probably not the only one.

Andreas Kaas as Espada. I was not too sure about this casting when I first saw it, because I really think of Andreas in the young, sensitive roles like Romeo and Armand, but he grew into it, so to speak. In the first act, his entry seemed very nervous, but as soon as he started interacting with Holly, his characterisation made perfect sense and by end of act one, I was ready to buy it. In act two and three, I didn't need to even try. Changing into the black costume helped so much (the white one from act one didn't make him look his best) and his partnering of Holly was smouldering. They had such good chemistry and their dancing together just kept developing, reaching a beautiful crescendo in act three.

In act two, I personally loved the Dryad part and didn't find it a weak link at all. The mininalist set was so pretty. Especial shoutout to Silvia Selvini as the cutest, lightest Amor ever and to the entire gypsy group, wow! Also shoutout to Mogens Boesen as a dreamy and sensitive Don Q. All in all, everyone really carried their parts and I will write more about it later.

Link to comment

On Ida Praetorius' and Marcin Kupinski's cast last night, again, very briefly until I can sit down by a computer...

Ida was generally very solid in her technique and had a few real stand-out pieces - her castagnet solo in act one was great, likewise her fan solo in act three. However, their chemistry didn't quite live up to Thursday between Chmelensky and Gruber, most vivid in their PDD in act two, but really - my biggest beef with her performance was her constant tendency to overact. I could sense that I was definitely in the minority in the audience here, so I do recognise my own tastes in charisma playing in, but I personally found her Kitri a bit forced often and definitely very immature. I understand the character is supposed to be childish and playful, but for me Ida's portrayal felt more unpleasant than childish and somehow lacking in a likeable charm. This is a subjective view that has nothing to do with her dancing, it just made it less engaging for me personally to watch her.

Marcin, on the other hand, was amazing and Basilio really cemented for me how much he's grown over the past seasons. His partnering was rock solid, his solo work was impressive and he showed a really understated, warm sense of humour on stage. Very nice acting skills. All his one-armed lifts especially were just spot-on perfect. I can't wait to see what lies ahead of him in the future!

Susanne Grinder was a true joy as Mercedes. Looked absolutely stunning in all her costumes and danced the role with so much sass and sexiness. I especially really enjoyed her in the entire first act. Wow. She was so fluid and elegant in her movements, a true femme fatale with great chemistry with her Espada and the entire corps. For me she was the real highlight of the evening!

Gregory Dean was striking as Espada, but like Andreas, it took until act two and that black costume for me to warm up to his portrayal. He and Susanne had smouldering chemistry even from opposite parts of the stage, though, and the entire second act partnering was great. They had some problems with the lifts in act three, but recovered from it well by the end and finished on a real bravura note.

I adored both Alexandra Lo Sardo and Lena-Maria as the friends and they danced in perfect sync most of the time, fit each other well and brought a lot of great flair to the stage.

Alba Nadal was a wonder as the Gypsy Queen, very intense, just a little crazy and really scary.

Kizzy Matiakis was a very regal, almost pained Queen of the Dryads with an adorably sweet Katarina Placha (?) for contrast as Cupid. The Dryad act is still nothing short of genius in my opinion.

Our Don Q was even more vulnerable, fun with Sancha and just altogether touching than Thursday and I really love Mogens Boesen in this role. He's amazing.

The corps also had a really good day with some amazing group numbers, just so much warmth and life. Bravo.

Link to comment

I saw J'aime Crandall as Kitri and Cuban guest dancer Osiel Gouneo. What an experience, what a power duo! J'aime has grown so much as an actress on stage and seeing er wonderful mime combined with true bravura dance... She defined this role for me in the same way that Marianela Nunez did in the Acosta version. It was an absolute bliss and will definitely go down in my personal ballet history book.

As Kitri, J'aime mastered the choreography completely and made it look like an absolute breeze. On top of that, her portrayal was warm and funny and very consistent, too. You definitely couldn't tell Gouneo wasn't her usual partner, their chemistry was palpable. Her castagnet solo was a sight to behold with a lot of castagnette tricks, the same went for her fan solo and her fouettes. What power she holds in her execution. All the partnering was smooth and soft as butter.

Gouneo was such a treat and what a turner! I could definitely see the Cuban training and I saw the same energy in him that I'd first seen in Chmelensky Thursday. Chmelensky had more pronounced lines, very pleasing to look at, but Gouneo's turns seriously weren't of this world. I'm so glad I had the chance to see this particular cast! They brought the entire house down.

All in all, this cast was so very solid. Ulrik Birkkjær really brought the Spanish flair and lots of macho strength as Espada. Minus a few mishaps, his partnering of Amy Watson's Mercedes was also very nice. Character shoes really fitted Watson well and I found her especially engaging in the second and third acts. All three Mercedes'es this run are strong dancers with different approaches to the role, from the classical playfulness of Susanne Grinder to Watson's more flamenco-inspired portrayal to Holly's mix of both, with strong classical technique throughout, paired with a very Spanish, passionate attack. All three were very lovely to watch.

Kizzy Matiakis had a brilliant night as one of Kitri's friends with lots of energy and charisma - likewise Ida Praetorius, who was also in a noticeably fine shape.

Sebastian Kloborg was back as a hilarious Gamache. Mogens Boesen was as wonderful as ever as Don Quixote and Hesselkilde had his best night ever as Sancha, flawless, touching and funny, both of them.

In the second act, I missed some of the very easy humour both Chmelensky and Kupinski added to Basilio's faked suicide, but it was still entertaining and well performed, but some of the familiarity that can sometimes translate on stage with everybody in the company knowing each other so well was missing. The same goes for the PDD right before the gypsy dance. It was perhaps the weakest scene for J'aime and Gouneo that night, "weak" being written in the most relative sense. I just missed the sensitivity, sweetness and love that Lena-Maria and Chmelensky had expressed so beautifully Thursday and which wasn't brought to fruition as effortlessly neither Friday nor yesterday.

On the other hand, the following gypsy dance was a revelation. The entire group was so energetic and wild to look at. The orchestra did amazingly well with the music and Josephine Berggreen owned the role of Gypsy Queen from start to finish. So much emotion came over her face as she danced, she was pained, she was wild and untamed, she was frightening, but most of all, she was beautiful. She brought me to tears.

In the Dryad act, we had a dream team of Silvia Selvini, light as a cloud, in the role of Cupid, a beautifully fluid Holly Dorger as Queen of the Dryads and J'aime giving us a soft, dreamy Dulcinea. So although the corps wasn't quite as sharp here as they were throughout the rest of the ballet, it was still so striking, how it faded into existence and then faded out.

Third act was a pure joy of technique, bravura, real show-off and charisma. Both J'aime and Gouneo really brought their acts to completion, but the most wonderful thing was seeing how J'aime's Kitri remained in character even in a gold tutu and celebrating her wedding at a castle. Everything finished on such a strong note and the entire night felt like a dream. One of the best ballet experiences I've ever had.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...