Home Theaters Saint Petersburg Mikhailovsky Theater , - Ludwig Minkus "Don Quixote" (Ballet in 3 acts)
Classical ballet
Mikhailovsky Theater, Saint Petersburg
Duration: 3 hours
World premiere: Mikhailovsky Theatre, 11 April 2012

Don Quixote is a famous ballet based on the epic masterpiece by Miguel de Cervantes. The most successful choreography for the ballet was created by Marius Petipa at the height of his career. As the ballet begins, an aging nobleman named Don Quixote becomes obsessed with stories of ancient rivalry. Appearing a little silly, he uses his imagination and pretends to be a brave night. He imagines that he sets out to rescue the lady of his dreams, named Dulcinea. He transforms his servant, Sancho Panza, into a trusty squire and off they go. Don Quixote leads a charge against imaginary enemies, which he sees everywhere. He proceeds to fight invisible rivals, puppets, and windmills. Known for its balletic fireworks and bravura steps, this ballet is a tour de force, requiring the dancers to tackle some of the most technically-demanding choreography in classical ballet. Don Quixote is a must-see ballet for all the family - a fast-paced dance spectacle packed with virtuoso dancing, a fanciful storyline, and hilarious characters.

Libretto: Marius Petipa
Choreography by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky
The performance also features choreography by Nina Anisimova, Igor Belsky, Robert Gerbek, Kasyan Goleizovsky, and Fyodor Lopukhov
Staging by Mikhail Messerer
Assistants: Evgeny Popov, Anna Razenko

Set Design: Vyacheslav Okunev
Head of Production Costume: Alla Marusina
Lighting Designer: Alexander Kibitkin

Music Director of the production: Pavel Bubelnikov
Sets and costumes produced at Vozrozhdenie Theatrical Design Studios

The Mikhailovsky Theatre would like to express its gratitude to Mr Toshihiko Takahashi for his support in creating the production

Premiere of the first production at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: 21 November 1996, premiere of the new revised version: 11 April 2012

The performance has two intervals

Don Quixote is one of the most life-affirming, colorful and festive ballets. It’s interesting that despite its name, this brilliant piece is not a stage version of the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes, but an original choreographic work by Marius Petipa vaguely based on Don Quixote.

In 1869, the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre gave a premiиre of the comic play staged by Marius Petipa to Minkus’s music, telling a story of the failed wedding of a young beauty and a rich nobleman, because of the true love of the heroine to a poor guy.
In 1871, Petipa created a new version of the ballet for the premiиre at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg. In 1900, a new production of Don Quixote was staged by Alexander Gorsky. Gorsky kept the scenario plan and, partly, Petipa’s choreography. Gorsky organized the crowd scenes in a new way to avoid “any symmetry”. Borrowing from the principles of theatrical aesthetics of the Moscow Art Theatre, Gorsky did much for the “revival” of academic ballet.
In 1902, the Gorsky’s production was shown at the Mariinsky Theatre. The stars of the imperial stage, as Mathilde Kschessinska (Kitri), Nicholas Legat (Basilio), Enrico Cecchetti (Sancho Panza) contributed to the success of this remarkable performance. The production became the classical one.

At the Mikhailovsky Theatre the ballet Don Quixote has been restaged by Mikhail Messerer: he used much of what had been suggested by several generations of choreographers, including students and followers of Alexander Gorsky. The best ballet soloists are happy share with the audience the joy they feel performing the ballet that never fades.



Don Quixote is absorbed in reading books of chivalry. Fictitious happenings become more real to him than anything else in the world. His day-dreaming is interrupted by Sancho Panza, a fat man, pursued by peasant women for pilfering. Don Quixote stands up for him and the grateful Sancho becomes his squire.


Scene 1
A square in Barcelona. Festive animation reigns at Lorenzo’s inn. Kitri, the innkeeper’s daughter is coquetting with the barber Basil, who is in love with her. Kitri’s father sees them and drives Basil away. He wants Kitri to get married to a wealthy hidalgo. But Kitri stubbornly refuses to yield to her father’s will. Toreadors headed by famous Espada stalk along the square. They start a dance imitating a corrida. A street dancer, who is in love with Espada dances among daggers and enraptures everybody. Suddenly the crowd parts: Sancho Panza gives blasts on his horn heralding that the knight-errant Don Quixote is coming. Lorenzo courteously invites a queer-looking visitor in his inn. Sancho stays in the square where burgers start mocking at him. Don Quixote hurries to rescue his squire. Dances are resumed. Enamored Basil and Kitri are together again. On seeing Kitri, Don Quixote takes her for his lady-love. He kneels down in front of the innkeeper’s daughter...


Scene 2
Kitri and Basil are alone in the meadow at the windmills. There is a gypsy encampment nearby. Don Quixote and his loyal squire Sancho Panza come here. Gipsies invite everybody to see a marionette performance. Marionettes play a comedy in which a knight leaves home to perform his deeds of chivalry, whereas his wife is kidnapped by a cruel Moor. Don Quixote stands up for the offended wishing to restore fairness. Everybody flees in horror, the theatre crashes down. Don Quixote catches sight of long arms of the giants-the windmills. Sancho tries to persuade the knight-errant that it is not a giant but a windmill. But Don Quixote attacks the imagianary giant and a sail-arm ifts him in the air. Don Quixote loses his grip and falls down unconscious. Monsters and phantoms surround the knight-errant.

Scene 3
Visions arise in the mind of the wounded knight-it seems to him that he is in a beautiful forest among the ruins of an ancient castle in the realm of driads. Here Cupid wounds his heart with his arrow and Don Quixote’s love for his love-lady becomes eternal. But it’s only a dream. Sancho brings his master to reality. Gamash and Lorenzo come looking for escaping lovers - Kitri and Basil. Don Quixote puts them on the wrong track, but a simple-minded Sancho "corrects" his mistake and pursuit goes on.

Scene 4
The participants of the festivity come here. At the peak of the festivity Kitri and Basil run here: happy to hide from pursuers. Toreadors and Espada come here too, and the beautiful Mercedes devotes her temperamental dance to her Espada. The innkeeper is worried. Gamash and Lorenzo come. Friends try to hide Kitri but in vain. Lorenzo joins Kitri’s and Gamash’s hands against his daughter’s will and blesses them. Basil elbows his way through the crowd. He is in despair. The only way out for him is death. Kitri begs her father to bless their love: Basil will die all the same. Lorenzo hesitates. Don Quixote orders him to yield to Kitri’s wish. Unwillingly Lorenzo blesses Kitri’s and Basil. Basil gets up-his suicide was a prank. Friends push Gamash out of the inn. Festivity, dances go on.


Scene 5
Everything is ready for the celebration in the square of Barcelona in the honour of Kitri and Basil. Among guests are knight-errant Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza. An unknown knight appears and accuses Don Quixote of humiliated dignity. He challenges Don Quixote to a duel. Don Quixote wins and everybody recognizes Gamash in the unknown knight. The festivity starts. Don Quixote and Sancho bid farewell and set off to seek new adventures.