Don Quichotte
  • Description

    A comic yet tragic universal figure lost in his own world and out of place in the world of his contemporaries, ridiculous yet imposing, admirable yet pitiful, Don Quixote knows neither deceitfulness, abnegation, nor betrayal. The loss of his ideals and the surrender of principles: this was the death of Don Quixote.

    From the 17th century onwards, the character has inspired numerous avatars, not just literary ones, but in the fields of music and dance too. Their authors only had to draw from the abundance of episodes in the Cervantes novel—a veritable catalogue of adventures and anecdotes—which never fails to provide subject matter for artists short on inspiration.

    During the 19th century, all of Spain became a source of artistic creativity, almost to the point of cliché. Harsh, noble or picturesque, the work offers the best of itself through Mérimée’s pen, Bizet’s baton or Edouard Manet’s brush.

    With Marius Petipa, it gave rise to several ballets, including the famous Don Quixote. In Moscow and then Saint Petersburg, it was the same resounding success in successive adaptations by Petipa himself or by Alexander Gorski.

    The episode from the novel retained by the choreographer, the wedding of Kitri and Basil, paints the happiest aspect of the story. The shimmering colours and the character dances, together with the whirlwind of gypsies and beautiful Andalusian girls, were a huge success with audiences, won over as much by the new choreographic style as by the Iberian exoticism.

    In the following century, a young dancer by the name of Rudolf Nureyev would himself triumph in the very ballet that made the the Russian School famous. His memories of the work would accompany him to France where he revived it. In 1966, Nureyev staged his version of Don Quixote for the Vienna Opera Ballet, before revising it for its entry into the repertoire of the Paris Opera in 1981.

    Since then, the Knight of the sad face has never really left the stage of the Opera. Presented since 2002 with new sets and costumes inspired by the paintings of Goya, each of its appearances enjoys the same endlessly renewed triumph.

    The Etoiles, the Premiers Danseurs and the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet
    The Paris Opera Orchestra

    A co-production of Opéra de Paris Production, ARTE France and François Roussillon et Associés with the support of the Orange Foundation, patron of the Paris Opera's audiovisual broadcasts, and the assistance of the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée.

    Director: François Roussillon
    © 2012 – Opéra national de Paris production – ARTE France – François Roussillon et Associés

    Picture: © Julien Benhamou / OnP


  • Libretto

    Miguel de Cervantès

  • Music

    Ludwig Minkus

  • Conductor

    Kevin Rhodes

  • Arrangements and orchestration

    John Lanchbery

  • Director

    Rudolf Noureev

  • Choreography

    Rudolf Noureev

  • Set design

    Alexandre Beliaev

  • Costume design

    Elena Rivkina

  • Lighting design

    Philippe Albaric