Jordi Savall, viol player, conductor, expert in early music performance practice, and founder of the ensembles Hespèrion XXI and La Capella Reial de Catalunya is responsible for what must be one of the most creatively and sumptuously packaged recordings ever produced. This two-SACD set gathers vocal and instrumental music from the era of Cervantes' Don Quixote, some of it directly related to the novel. Savall and Manuel Forcano selected and adapted sections of the novel and interspersed the music and readings, allowing the listener to follow the events of the novel accompanied and surrounded by appropriate music.
In this production from Teatro alla Scala the ballet Don Quixote is shown in the legendary choreography of Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev´s intention by fusing together the worlds of Commedia dell´Arte and classical ballet to create a visual feast for its audience, has made Don Quixote one of the most loved ballets world-wide. With its sparkling energy and the bright colours of the staging by Raffaele Del Savio and Anna Anni, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, transports audiences with freshness, joy and choreographic splendour to an enchanting Spain, with gypsy dances, fandangos, matadors, windmills and the airy candour of the Garden of the Dryads. The ballet of Teatro alla Scala and the classical ballet stars Natalia Osipova (principal dancer of the Royal Ballet in London and the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in St Petersburg) and Leonid Sarafanov (principal dancer of the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in St Petersburg) make this a breathtaking, and distinctive performance.
Ludwig Minkus’s Don Quixote has held a place in the repertoire since its premiere at the Bolshoi Theater in 1869. The music is charming and well orchestrated, but persistently a little bland. There are plenty of melodies, but none of them are particularly distinctive. This is certainly not Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev. The poor boy meets rich girl love story interwoven with the fantastic adventures of Don Quixote has attracted the biggest names in ballet over the years, with Marius Petipa’s original classical production being followed by Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and George Balanchine. Now, it is Carlos Acosta’s turn. His choreography is based on Petipa, but he has modernized it with his trademark physicality, and some new unclassical sounds (clapping, vocal exclamations) from the corps de ballet on stage.