Ballet Review: Don Quixote - The Mikhailovsky Ballet at London Coliseum ✭✭✭✭✭




Saturday 30 March, 7.30pm Principals – Natalia Osipova, Ivan Vasiliev 

Conductor – Pavel Bubelnikov

Review by Claire Spence  

Don Quixote is one of the most colourful and festive ballets in existence and the Mikhailovsky Ballet performance is full of gusto Russian energy. The ballet is loosely based on the famous novel and to be honest should be called Kitri & Basilo as the ballet is mainly about them and the principle dancers steal the show.

The Prologue introduces Don Quixote (Marat Shemiunov), a sword bearer who is tired of reading romances of knights and chivalry, so decides to set off his travels to achieve great feats, which will bring glory to his name. He enlists the loyal Sancho Panza (Alexy Kuznetsov) as his companion. The characters use the dramatic tool of mine, for as it is a ballet they do not talk nor do they dance. However, the very tall Shemiunov’s clunky mine distracts as his costume of heavy boots with spurs on the back rattles as he stomps his way around the stage. Act One opens with a hive of activity in Barcelona with festivity in the air. Kitri (Natalia Osipova), the daughter of Lorenzo, an innkeeper, is flirting with Basilo (Ivan Vasiliev), the barber who is in love with her. However, her father intends for Gamache, a rich nobleman, to marry her. Don Quixote arrives onstage and also longs for Kitri, who he mistakes for a goddess he has seen in his dreams. So Kitri and Basilo decide to flee and the team of men set off to find them. Natalia Osipova leaps onto the stage to tremendous applause and shouts of Bravo from the auditorium. She is easy to see why she is the star of the show, and deservedly so, as the ability and technique of her small, yet powerful, frame is somewhat superhuman. Ivan Vasiliev also impresses with his nobility and strength as he throws himself around the stage. The two have a brilliant partnership of trust and courage, at times Osipova literally throws herself at Vasilliev and witnessing his one-handed lift is an enchantment to the eyes.

The magnificent performance of the Corps the Ballet and the delightful score played beautifully by the orchestra of the Mikhailovsky Theatre made this an evening to remember. The luscious and opulent costumes combined with the classic fairytale tutus make you realise the scale of such productions and no expense is spared. They say never work with animals or children but this production does both; in Act One Don Quixote and Sancho arrive onstage on a real white horse and brown donkey, respectively (insert your burger jokes here) and the animals make another appearance later on in the show. I certainly will look forward to watching the Mikhailovsky Theatre Ballet again in the future.

The Mikhailovsky Theatre Ballet company season is at the London Coliseum from 26 March – 7 April, featuring ballets by the Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Theatre Ballet company, Nacho Duato, in addition to classics Giselle, Don Quixote, and Laurencia.

5 stars ✭✭✭✭✭