Carlos Acosta’s first venture directing one of ballet’s 19th-century classics was eagerly anticipated, as was his own starring role in the production (as Basilio), opposite the Argentinian Royal Ballet Principal Marianela Nuñez (Kitri). Still built on Petipa’s original choreography, Acosta’s clear dramatic structure and vivid stage action gave the ‘boy gets girl despite her father’ story a more convincing air than usual, with Don Quixote’s parallel obsession with Dulcinea coherently woven into the plot. Acosta’s and Nuñez’s performances were peerless, Tim Hatley’s stage designs vivid and apposite, and this production is surely destined to be a perennial Royal Ballet favourite.
Kitri: Marianela Nuñez Basilio: Carlos Acosta Don Quixote: Christopher Saunders Sancho Panza: Philip Mosley Espada: Ryoichi Hirano Mercedes: Laura Morera Gamache: Bennet Gartside Lorenzo: Gary Avis Queen of the Dryads: Melissa Hamilton Amour: Elizabeth Harrod Dulcinea: Christina Arestis
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Conductor: Martin Yates Co-Concert Master: Sergey Levitin Production and choreography: Carlos Acosta, after Marius Petipa Music: Ludwig Minkus, arranged and orchestrated by Martin Yates Designs: Tim Hatley Lighting design: Hugh Vanstone
Plus: Interviews with cast and crew; Introductions to Act II and III
"...a jovial and entertaining showcase for classical dancing at its most demanding and exuberant. One of the pleasures of this ballet is to be tickled by Minkus's infectiously melodious score... Marianela Nuñez and Acosta delivered sparky, engaging performances."The Times
"But while this may be Acosta’s night, the show really belongs to his Kitri, Marianela Nuñez. A woman of sparky personality, teasing wit and steely technique, you can see why every man in the village is in love with her. The stage could have been a lot dimmer without her, but Nuñez brings bewitching warmth and down-to-earth humanity to this fantastical folly of a show." Evening Standard
"Nuñez’s final variation in Act I was a thing of joy as she unleashed her inner ferocity and let rip. Acosta's partnering, his care of Nuñez, was also a pleasure to watch." The Arts Desk
"...when Acosta and Núñez, as the story’s sweethearts, start sparring, they manage a natural, coquettish rapport that’s quite irresistible, Acosta’s megawatt charisma balanced by Núñez’s fizzy, feisty, fan-wielding vigour... Meanwhile, there are terrific supporting character performances from Gary Avis and Bennet Gartside, and a sharp and humorously turbo-machismo turn from Ryoichi Hirano as the toreador Espada."Metro