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Accomplished Israel Ballet enchants with `Don Quixote'.

Byline: Dan Sweeney


Name recognition has always played a factor for producing performances the public will pay to see, and Saturday's performance of the ballet "Don Quixote" at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, presented by Music Worcester Inc., was no exception.

Those in attendance knew of the Don's touching story by Miguel de Cervantes. But not many may have heard the name Ludwig Minkus, its composer.

Minkus was a prolific composer of ballet music in both Russia and Paris, with two of his ballets, "La Bayadere" and "Quixote," still in the standard repertoire. He was a contemporary of both Tchaikovsky and Delibes, but, without the same genius.

To say the music of Minkus is easy listening is to be correct, and the score, played on tape, had much to enjoy for those who like music that is undemanding.

That said, its dashes of Spanish coloring, character dances in Act II, and the bassoon incidental music during Basilio's faked suicide, reminiscent of Prokofiev in "Romeo and Juliet," were quite enjoyable on their own.

What made Minkus' ballets so popular, however, was his collaboration with the famed French ballet choreographer Marius Petipa, considered the father of classical ballet, and much of his work was on display Saturday, performed by the Israel Ballet Company.

Saturday's performance was done in two acts, instead of the usual three, and takes place at the wedding of Kitri and Basilio, but it had all the touchstones of the "Quixote" tale. The delusionary Don, on a crusade for justice and his Dulcinea, tilting at windmills done in animation on a backdrop screen, is not quite "Avatar," but it served its purpose.

The comedic squire, Sancho Panza, and the love saga between Kitri and Basilio, were all dealt with.

If those in attendance were looking for some insight into Cervantes epic work , they were not going to find it in this production. This presentation was about dancing and the Israel Ballet, who are quite accomplished and entertaining.

The main soloist in the role of Kitri, was soundly performed by Margarita Rudina. Her love interest Basilio the barber, danced by Alexey Nasadovich, was able to show all the athletic leaps and control on the confined Hanover stage. Of special note was the dance of the Gypsy King, Vardan Khachatryan, and his Gypsy Girl, Hardar Brayer, plus Cupid in the Dream Sequence, Lissa Manetsch.

The sequences were well choreographed for each segment - but if they all seemed a bit tired it is understandable. This was the seventh stop on a 12 performance tour. The night before they performed in Burlington, Vt.; and tjeu packed up immediately after their Worcester stop for a 2 p.m. show in Brooklyn before they shuffle off to Buffalo for a performance on Tuesday.

Not much time for sightseeing, but their performances do give an opportunity for protesters to complain about something in the Middle East, and Worcester was no exception. But that is another story.


CUTLINE: Lorenzo the innkeeper, center, shows his disapproval of the romance between his daughter, Kitri, right, and Basilio, left, during the performance Saturday of "Don Quixote" at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 22, 2010
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