November 19, 2001
Going Out: Brava, bravissima for PNB's 'Don Quixote'
by Deborah Stone
Arts and Entertainment
Pacific Northwest Ballet's Seattle premiere of "Don Quixote" is a lively and romantic story ballet set to the music of Ludwig Minkus and choreographed after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky by Kevin McKenzie, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre.
This newest addition to PNB's repertory evokes all the color of 17th century Spain, complete with proud matadors, alluring senoritas and fiery gypsies.
Elements of heroism, humor and romance fit together seamlessly to present an exciting evening of class entertainment.
The ballet is loosely based on Miguel de Cervantes' epic novel and a cast of colorful characters brings this uplifting story to life.
At the center of this tale is coquettish Kitri (Kaori Nakamura), a strong-willed young woman, whose father (Vladislav Bourakov) is forcing her to marry a rich dandy named Gamache, in spite of her love for the playful Basilio (Valeri Hristov). Weaved within the plot are Don Quixote (Uko Gorter) and his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza (Flemming Halby), journeying through the countryside in search of Quixote's ideal love, Dulcinea. Nakamura, in the lead role of Kitri, is stunning. She displays warmth and passion in her every move, gesture and expression, and her technical skills are superb. It was as if this role were created especially for her, allowing her gifts to shine with sparkling clarity.
Hristov, as Basilio, is all legs and elegance in his partnering with Nakamura, as well as in his exciting solos. His leaps and jumps are explosions of energy, leaving the audience gasping for breath.
Gorter makes a perfect doddering, absentminded Don Q. and Halby, in his role as Sancho, brings his comedic talents to show.
Santo Loquasto's colorful period costumes and lush sets complete this picture-perfect and memorable ballet.
Up next for the company is its annual holiday tradition of "The Nutcracker Ballet," scheduled to run through the end of December.
In January, PNB will move to the Mercer Arts Arena, its temporary venue while the Seattle Opera House is undergoing a renovation. For program and ticket information, call (206) 292-ARTS.