The Royal Ballet
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
June 9, 2015
by Alexandra Tomalonis
copyright 2015 by Alexandra Tomalonis
It seemed odd for The Royal Ballet, known and loved for its subtle, detailed dance acting as well as its beautiful lyrical dancing, to mount a production of "Don Quixote," a ballet requiring flashy bravura. Two prior productions had been short-lived. This one, by Carlos Acosta, received what might most charitably be called mixed reviews when it was first shown in London, and despite the best efforts of its cast, seemed off-key in Washington. The trouble started with the overture; Minkus's score has been "arranged and orchestrated" by Martin Yates and is now all pretty tunes and listlessness. The music fought what the dancers were trying to create on stage, and the first act, especially, seemed to be danced behind a skrim. The washed-out pastel costumes (Tim Hatley) and the lack of vibrant street life didn't help. Had it not been for some very fine dancing by Marianela Núñez and Acosta as Kitri and Basil, the evening would have been flat indeed.
Carlos Acosta as Basilio in the Royal Ballet's "Don Quixote." Photo by Johan Persson.