Dancers of West Australian Ballet in Don Quixote. Photo by Jon Green
Don Quixote’s opening night enticed many of Perth’s glittering socialites and noteworthy personalities to His Majesty’s Theatre, including ballet patron His Excellency Dr Ken Michael, AC, Governor, for whom the audience stood up until he and his wife were seated. Few could have been disappointed with the night’s performance – the combination of graceful athleticism and colourful showmanship accompanied by the glorious sounds of Ludwig Minkus’ score was a credit to both the West Australian Ballet and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.
For the West Australian Ballet’s inaugural full-length staging of this popular and comical classical ballet, they enlisted the help of veteran ballerina Lucette Aldous, who, as Kitri, partnered the legendary Rudolf Nureyev's, Basilio, to national and international acclaim in the 1970s. The plot follows the delusional Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza on their chivalric quest to find Don Quixote's imaginary lost love. They come across lovers Kitri (Jayne Smeulders) and Basilio (Milos Mutavdzic) and intervene to save Kitri from an arranged marriage to the foppish Gamache, played with pompous gusto by Mathias Deneux.
Jayne Smeulders, who remarkably gave birth only four months ago, gave a joyous performance as Kitri, making highly technical movements look effortless and graceful. Milos Mutavdzic was a fantastic Basilio and a great match for Smeulders; he was strong in lifts and they were a convincingly besotted couple. The ridiculous posturing of Mathias Deneux as Gamache had the audience laughing one moment while applauding the next at the cleverness of his interactions with other characters.
Australian designer, Allan Lees’ costuming was sumptuous and fantastical – it truly looked like a fairytale had come to life on stage. The satin pink matador uniforms, swirling capes and sparkling bodices gave the performance extra panache and the floating dresses an incredible aura of romance. The set was similarly magical, with huge screens of bougainvillea and a memorable moon.
Guest artist, Maestro Enrique Carreón-Robledo led the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in the pit, providing the sounds of romance, passion and comedy.
The mix of intricate Russian choreography, colourful Spanish costuming, romantic partnering and comic moments made this an incredible performance and reminded me why the genre of romantic comedy will never go out of fashion. The West Australia Ballet’s Don Quixote was a mastery of a highly technical ballet executed with exuberance, dexterity and passion.
West Australian Ballet presents
With West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Choreography Lucette Aldous after Marius Petipa
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre
Dates: 7 - 22 May 2010
Tickets: $99 - $20
Bookings: (08) 9484 1133 | www.bocsticketing.com.au