Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poetry Monday - 69 - Don Quixote

Once again I was privileged to attend the ballet on Saturday. This was the Cuban National Ballet's version of Don Quixote, performed while on tour in Paris, France at the Palais Garnier. The story actually follows the romance of Kitri and Basilio, young lovers in a town where the wandering knight Don Quixote takes shelter. Because Quixote is always in search of Dulcinea, his ideal of romantic love, he helps the young lovers when their plans to wed seem beyond reach.

Here is a compilation clip of highlights from the same production of Don Quixote I saw by the Cuban National Ballet.

Below is the Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote, showcasing the astounding Viengsay Valdes as Kitri. That's Valdes at the top of the post in the red dress executing a flawless grande sissonne that I've never seen anyone do better. Her balances were truly awesome, and her pirouettes were steady as a rock and could have gone on forever. Best of all, her acting was perfect for Kitri, who is supposed to be saucy and full of life. Often, she's danced by reserved ballerinas who couldn't imply 'saucy' if their lives depended on it. Viengsay Valdes exuded sultry energy and the ability to join steps so that the choreography sang as I have rarely experienced.

Photo by Francesc Casals

Basilio was danced by Romel Frometa. He had very natural comic timing, which is important for this role. His jumps were explosive with really impressive height, and his partnering was magnificent, especially during Valdes' incredible balances. The overhead throw of Valdes as she did a split jump, where he then caught her into a swan dive at the end of the pas de deux was a total jaw-dropper for me. Don't try that one at home, kids!

The Don Quixote pas de deux is often performed on its own in mixed programs and galas, because of its bravura choreography.

For Poetry Monday, I've included the lyrics to Dulcinea from Man of La Mancha, based upon Don Quixote.


Did my lady think to put me to a test?
Ah, sweet sovereign of my captive heart. I shall
not fail thee, for I know...

I have dreamed thee too long,
Never seen thee or touched thee.
But known thee with all of my heart.
Half a prayer, half a song,
Thou hast always been with me,
Though we have been always apart.

Dulcinea... Dulcinea...
I see heaven when I see thee, Dulcinea,
And thy name is like a prayer
An angel whispers... Dulcinea... Dulcinea!

If I reach out to thee,
Do not tremble and shrink
From the touch of my hand on thy hair.
Let my fingers but see
Thou art warm and alive,
And no phantom to fade in the air.

Dulcinea... Dulcinea...
I have sought thee, sung thee,
Dreamed thee, Dulcinea!

Now I've found thee,
And the world shall know thy glory,
Dulcinea... Dulcinea!

- lyrics by Joe Darion - 1964
(music by Mitch Leigh)

This is Dulcinea sung by Placido Domingo, a huge favorite of mine.


Toni said...

So many delicious moments you've shared. I saw that overhead jump and swan dive. Oh! My!

>>>Often, she's danced by reserved ballerinas who couldn't imply 'saucy' if their lives depended on it.<<<

LOL! I sooo love your reviews, Julia.

Amy Ruttan said...

Very cool Julia. I had no idea that Don Quixote was now a ballet.

It's amazing what dancers can express.

Heather D said...

Flying through the air doing a perfect split at such heights simply amazes me. Sounds like you enjoyed this one much more than the last one.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Heather - discovering Viengsay Valdes was like having 20 Christmases all rolled into one.