PERFORMANCE DATES: April 13-15, 2018
After 12 years Houston Ballet welcomes the revival of former Artistic Director Ben Stevenson’s Don Quixote. Enjoy the charming flare of seventeenth century Barcelona, Spain as imagined in the original novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The tale follows the elderly adventurer Don Quixote and his search for his idyllic woman, Dulcinea, only to be caught between the budding romance of temperamental Kitri and mischievous Basilio. Audiences are sure to enjoy this famously jovial ballet, full of dazzling choreography, sets, and costumes.
Houston Ballet’s performances of Don Quixote generously sponsored by:
“Don Quixote is a ballet with lots of humor and lots of dancing... loaded with incident: there is always something going on."
Kitri/Dulcinea, Basilio, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Gamache
Don Quixote’s Study
Don Quixote, in his old age, is growing increasingly anxious and depressed. In a vision he beholds the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea. His servant, Sancho Panza, enters pursued by angry shopkeepers from whom he has stolen a chicken. The Don rescues him, and is rejuvenated by thoughts of Dulcinea, heroic tales of brave knights, and past battles that he has won. Don Quixote, accompanied by Sancho Panza, sets out on a new quest to find the beautiful Dulcinea.
The Harbor in Barcelona
Basilio, a barber, is in love with the innkeeper’s daughter, Kitri. But Kitri’s father, Lorenzo, wishes her to marry Gamache, a foppish noble man. Don Quixote arrives with Sancho Panza. Sancho is teased by the townsfolk, and is tossed high in the air. The Don rescues him. Don Quixote now sees the beautiful Kitri. He is bewitched and acclaims her as his Dulcinea.
Scene I: A Gypsy Encampment
Kitri and Basilio stroll hand in hand in the moonlight. They suddenly realize that they are in the gypsy camp. The gypsy king is angered by their presence. But when Basilio explains to him that he and Kitri are in love, the gypsy king honors them by calling his gypsies to dance. Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza, accompanied by Gamache and Lorenzo, arrive at the encampment in search of Kitri. The Don mistakenly assumes that a windmill is a menacing giant. He attacks the windmill only to be caught up in one of the sails and thrown to the ground. Sancho Panza tries to comfort him.
Scene II: The Enchanted Grotto
Don Quixote, stunned by his fall from the windmill, has a fantastic dream in which Cupid shoots an arrow into his heart and reveals Dulcinea to him. Soon, the Don is surrounded by beautiful women. Unfortunately the dream fades, and Sancho and the Don resume their travels.
Scene I - Inside the Inn
Lorenzo is still determined to marry his daughter Kitri to Gamache. Basilio pretends to stab himself. As Basilio lies dying, Don Quixote begs Kitri’s father to unite them. Thinking that Basilio is indeed dying, Lorenzo agrees, only to be shocked by Basilio’s immediate recovery.
Scene II - The Harbor in Barcelona
A fiesta is held to celebrate the marriage of Kitri and Basilio. The two young lovers celebrate their betrothal by dancing a grand pas de deux. Don Quixote realizes that he has not yet found his Dulcinea, and with Sancho Panza, he sets off for more adventures.
Ben Stevenson served as artistic director of Houston Ballet from 1976 to 2003, raising the company from a regional troupe of twenty-eight dancers to an internationally acclaimed ensemble of over fifty artists. During his tenure, he developed Houston Ballet’s repertory by acquiring the works of the world’s most respected choreographers, commissioning new works, staging the classics and choreographing original works. For his contributions to international dance, Mr. Stevenson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors List in December 1999. In April 2000, he was presented with the Dance Magazine Award. In July 2003, he was appointed artistic director emeritus of Houston Ballet, and the company's affiliated school was renamed Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy in recognition of his enormous contribution to both Houston Ballet's professional company and its school. In his position as artistic director emeritus, he continues to stage his works for Houston Ballet and for other companies nationally and internationally. Mr. Stevenson, a native of Portsmouth, England, received his dance training at the Arts Educational School in London. Upon his graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Adeline Genée Gold Medal, the highest award given to a dancer by the Royal Academy of Dancing. He performed with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and English National Ballet where, as a principal dancer, he performed leading roles in all the classics. In 1968, Rebekah Harkness invited him to New York to direct the newly formed Harkness Youth Dancers. After choreographing Cinderella in 1970 for the National Ballet in Washington, D.C., he joined the company in 1971 as co-director with Frederic Franklin. In 1976, Mr. Stevenson was appointed artistic director of Houston Ballet. Over the next twenty-seven years, he choreographed for Houston Ballet distinguished versions of the full length works Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Don Quixote, and original productions of Peer Gynt, Dracula, The Snow Maiden, and Cleopatra. In July 2003, Mr. Stevenson assumed the artistic directorship of Texas Ballet Theater in Fort Worth, Texas where he continues to serve as Artistic Director with Associate Artistic Directors Tim O'Keefe and Lin Anlin.
LUDWIG MINKUS was an Austrian composer of ballet music, a violin virtuoso and teacher. Mr. Minkus is noted for the music he composed while serving as the official Composer of Ballet Music to the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres in Russia. During his long career, he wrote for the original works and numerous revivals staged by the renowned Ballet Masters Arthur Saint-Léon and Marius Petipa. Among the composer's most celebrated compositions was his score for La Source (1866; composed jointly with Léo Delibes), Don Quixote (1869); and La Bayadère (1877). During his career Mr. Minkus wrote a substantial amount of supplemental material for insertion into already existing ballets. Among these pieces, Mr. Minkus is noted for the Grand Pas classique and Mazurka des enfants written especially for Marius Petipa's 1881 revival of the ballet Paquita. For this revival Mr. Minkus also created an expanded version of the ballet's Pas de trois, which would go on to become known as the Minkus pas de trois. Today, Mr. Minkus's music is some of the most performed in all of ballet, and is a most integral part of the traditional classical ballet repertory.
Don Quixote Repertory History
This will be Houston Ballet’s fifth time performing Ben Stevenson’s Don Quixote as part of its main season. Stevenson’s Don Quixote has been performed at the Miller Outdoor Theater and the Woodlands Mitchell Pavilion. Houston Ballet performed Stevenson’s Don Quixote at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on tour in October 1997. Ben Stevenson’s Don Quixote is in the repertoires of Texas Ballet Theatre and Alberta Ballet.
Don Quixote Production Details
ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHER: Marius Petipa
LIBERETTO: Charles Didelot, based on the novel El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (The history of the valorous and wittie Knight-Errant Don-Quixote of the Mancha) (1605 & 1615) by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
GENRE: Classical Ballet
RUN TIME: Ballet in 3 Acts; 2 hours and 27 minutes
COMPOSER: Ludwig Minkus, arrangement by John Lanchbery
SCORE: “Don Quixote"
ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: November 21, 1871 at St. Petersburg, Russia by the Imperial Bolshoi, with Petipa and Minkus revisions
HOUSTON BALLET PREMIERE DATE: February 23, 1995 at the Brown Theater in Houston, Texas
SCENIC DESIGN: Thomas Boyd
COSTUME DESIGN: Judanna Lynn
LIGHTING DESIGN: Christina Giannelli
STAGERS FOR HOUSTON BALLET (2018): Sean Kelly, Tim O'Keefe
BALLET MASTER (2018): Steven Woodgate
HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2018): Ermanno Florio, Jonathan McPhee
HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2018): Jenna Link