Choreography – Marius PETIPA, Alexander GORSKI
Directed by – Galina KALCHEVA
Scenography – Ivan TOKADZHIEV
Costume designer – Yana DVORETSKA
Assistant director – Lina PEEVA

Don Quixote – Peter TIHOLOV
Sancho Panza – Yani ANGELOV / guest /
Kitri – MARTA PETKOVA / guest /
Basil – Emil YORDANOV, Daniel TICHKOV

Espada – Teodor TSAKOV, Emil YORDANOV
Mercedes – Yana BERDUTA, Natalie IVANOVA
Friends of Kitri – Daniela TURTUMANOVA-STOYANOVA, Natalie IVANOVA, Yana BERDUTA, Laya RAMON,
Friends of Basil – Daniel TICHKOV, Kiril FILIPOV, Stoyan FARTUNOV,
Gamash – Daniel DIMITROV
Lady of the Dryads – Emona GEORGIEVA, Laya RAMON,
Amur – Sabina KOSEVA, Ivana FIALKOVSKA
Gypsy dance – Iva OVCHAROVA, Natalie IVANOVA, Kiril FILIPOV
Lorenzo – Svetlan NIKOLOV
Bartender – Sofia LOVDZHIEVA

Ballet Ensemble of the State Opera – Burgas

With the participation of students from the ballet classes of NUMSI "Prof. P. VLADIGEROV" – Burgas


The immortal creation of Cervantes finds its reflection in the ballet of composer Ludwig Minkus (1826 – 1917) and librettist Marius Petipa (1818 – 1910). But…, it is not a complete adaptation of the literary masterpiece. Only a small part of the story is used in the plot of the ballet, and the main character of the novel, Don Quixote, is in a sense a secondary character in the ballet libretto.


Kitri – daughter of the owner of the pub

Basil - barber

Don Quixote - Knight of La Mancha

Sancho Panza - Don Quixote's squire

Gamache - a rich and noble nobleman

Lorenzo - an innkeeper, Kitri's father

Duration: first act – 50 min.; second act – 35 min.; third act – 30 min.

Brief content:

The focus is on the relationship between the two characters, Kitri and Basil, who love each other passionately. But they cannot be together because of the will of Kitri's father - Lorenzo, who wants to marry his daughter to a rich groom. He doesn't even want to hear about the poor teenager who works as a barber. The dignified and noble knight Don Quixote takes the side of the lovers and helps them unite their loving hearts.

This ballet is clearly distinguished from other similar performances. It does not have sharp dramatic collisions with a lot of intrigue, treachery, and similar attributes. There are no deeply psychological characters with a gradual development of the image and a vividly expressed plot line. The charm of this show lies in something else - in its bright emotionality, subordinated to a single element - love. Lively, sparkling with their gaiety, virtuoso Spanish and gypsy dances (segidilla, jiga, morena, zingara) are presented to the audience in all their beauty. The bullfight with its brave bullfighters and ferocious bulls, as well as the comic numbers, adds a special flavor to the whole atmosphere. The whole action is subordinated to the single impulse in which the main characters and the spectators find themselves whirled in the square of Barcelona bathed in bright sunlight.

The story:

In 1869, Marius Petipa thought of writing a work based on Cervantes' novel. He came up with a script for the future masterpiece and turned to the then-popular composer Ludwig Minkus for collaboration. The ballet master himself develops the interpretation and writes the libretto for the ballet, taking into account the already existing variants on this plot. The new composition is scheduled for performance on the Moscow stage, for the benefit of Anna Sobeshanskaya (1842 – 1918). The choreographer approaches the task seriously and responsibly and takes into account the particularities of the troupe. For example, if the St. Petersburg school emphasizes technicality and also romantic exaltation, the Moscow school emphasizes the characteristic dance. That is why the St. Petersburg troupe has always considered itself a higher level of ballet dancers (compared to its colleagues). Petipa takes into account these features and therefore gives a preponderance in the production of folk dances. And... at the end of 1869, the play was completely written.

The music:

Researchers note that the musical part of the work is relatively simple and devoid of symphonic and virtuosic instrumental variations. It can safely be called a classic for its time, especially since the music has a secondary place, in this case, giving way to the dance part. In the musical score, there are no distinguishing characteristics of the actors. But the composer masterfully saturated it with dance, adding waltz and gallop rhythms. Minkus strives to recreate the colorful Spanish atmosphere. As a result, only one heroine performs a classical dance - this is Dulcinea. The rest dance characteristic dances.

The productions:

The premiere of the ballet was announced for mid-December 1869. The orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow was under the direction of P. N. Luzin. The role of Kitri was danced by Anna Sobeshanskaya and the role of Basil by S. Sokolov.

After two years, Petipa decided to bring his play to the St. Petersburg stage and began to rework it. The new edition was ready in 1871 and the premiere took place in November. This time the score is in five acts with 11 paintings. In this version, Kitri and Dulcinea are united in one image and their parts are performed by the same ballerina. The audience highly appreciates the new edition and as a result it remains in the repertoire for a long time.

In 1887, the ballet "Don Quixote" was staged again in St. Petersburg, but this time under the editorship of Bogdanov, who significantly shortened it. In general, this director tries to stick to the classic version.

One of the most scandalous and discussed productions is from 1900 at the Bolshoi Theater, the work of Al. Gorsky. This version causes a lot of criticism and mixed opinions. Gorsky actually destroys the conventional forms of ballet. With this production, he brings many novelties. The ballet master strives to reconcile the realistic tendencies of the Moscow troupe and the classical tendencies of the St. Petersburg troupe. Gorsky not only changed the choreography, but also added scenes from other works by Petipa, as well as music by other composers. After the scandalous but successful premiere, the choreographer became one of the revolutionaries in Russian ballet. Later, it was Gorsky's version that was recognized as a classic and other stagers took it as the main one.

In 1994, Boris Eifman (b. 1946) presented a completely new version of "Don Quixote" under the name "Don Quixote or the Fantasies of the Madman" to the public. Later, in 2009-2010, he returned to this ballet and again significantly revised both the choreography and the plot.

Interesting facts:

Cervantes' novel has repeatedly attracted the attention of talented musicians and choreographers. The first ballet based on his motives was written as early as 1740. His choreographer was Franz Hilferding, who chose from the novel and focused only on the love story between Kitri and Basil. It is curious that all subsequent versions created by other authors are also based on only one selected line - the incredible story of love between the two young people.
So far, there are 13 versions of ballet performances based on the novel Don Quixote.
"Don Quixote" is the only work of Marius Petipa, created especially for the Moscow troupe, and not a performance transferred from another theater.
A year after the premiere of the ballet in St. Petersburg, the author of the music Minkus was invited to the position of the composer in the Directorate of Imperial Theaters.
In 1887, the Moscow troupe again presented Petipa's performance to the public, but already with the second edition, which was made for the ballet troupe in St. Petersburg. Choreographer A. Bogdanov significantly shortened the performance and it now consists of three acts.
The famous "serpentine dance" from the scene "Dreams of Don Quixote", which was first used by Alexander Gorsky in his version, was borrowed from the popular American ballerina Loi Fuller (1862 - 1928).
In 1900, during the general rehearsal of the play under the editorship of Al. Gorsky an unforeseen accident happens - the performer of the role of Mercedes - the ballerina Ekaterina Helzer - suddenly falls ill. She was replaced by the young Sofia Fyodorova (1879 – 1963), who until then danced the part of a street dancer. She rehearsed the new role for literally only two or three minutes, but that was enough for her to perform brilliantly at the premiere. This appeared in two different roles in one performance causes unprecedented success among the audience.
Interestingly, Marius Petipa doesn't like Al's version. Gorsky. He even accuses him of plagiarism. According to Petipa, he (Gorsky) used choreography that the choreographer (Petipa) had already used in the previous two productions. But… to prove or disprove this claim is impossible for researchers. It is also related to the fact that no detailed information has been preserved about the first production in 1869.
In some parts of the ballet - for example, in the characteristic dances imitating the Spanish dance style - ballerinas use stage shoes with heels rather than toes.
From the time of the first productions of the ballet, many choreographers tried to remake the plot and present the knight in the foreground, giving the whole spectacle more drama. But… nothing works. The prologue/introduction, in which it is shown how the noble knight, inspired by the historical novels he has read, goes on adventures, also does not change anything significantly. Already with the opening of the curtain and the first notes of the bright divertimento, the viewer forgets about the plot, carried away by the overall dance impulse. Precisely, thanks to this, the ballet has been recognized by critics as one of the most temperamental ballets.
Alexander Gorsky (1871 - 1924) - author of some of the most popular productions, is a true reformer in art. It works for essentials