Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Don Quixote - PNB's offers low price to a magical destination
January 30 - February 8th
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Artistic Director: Peter Boal
Choreography: Marius Petipa, Alexander Gorsky, Alexei Ratmansky
Music: Ludwig Minkus (performed by the wonderful Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra)
I wouldn't call myself well versed in all the classic ballets, but I do think I have seen a lot of the greats. One I had never seen was Don Q. I was expecting a storybook ballet, because well it's from a classic story right? No. What I experienced was SO much more.
Start with the sets. Breathtaking, from the quaint town, to the dream scene and wedding scene, huge production quality and gorgeous. Costumes were so beautiful and made each character that much more exciting. Special mention: Gamache: his over the top pink silk suit with bows on his shoes had me in fits of laughter. BOWS on his shoes. Also Kitris red color blocked tutu is worth the ticket price alone. Simply gorgeous.
Now to the dancing. I watched dress rehearsal and witnessed the rising star soloist Liz Murphy in the role of Kitri. She was so lovely. Such a wonderful great actress, and so comical I had no idea she could do that so well. She played the character with such an innocent playfulness but also with a very deep soul. As someone who has watched her over the last few years it was so special to watch her shine and portray her own version of this special character, so well. She was strong, yet meek, funny, yet vulnerable and her emotions showed her excitement for this opportunity to show her abilities. It was a great introduction to me to the role of Kitri.
The men were so impressive all night. From the leads, principal Seth Orza as Basilio, and Batkhurel Bold as Espada with their strong, testosterone filled jumps and cape whipping, to their soft and doting support of their female leads, they were perfect mates. Bold and his beautiful Mercedes danced by the incomparable Carrie Imler were steamy every time they were on stage. So much chemistry and fierceness. The return of Rachel Foster was a sight for sore eyes, giving quick precise technique as Cupid, and the duo of Sarah Orza and Margaret Mullin as Paccilia & Juanita were fluid and gorgeous.
The character roles were what had me in stitches. I had NO idea that this ballet was SO funny! My abs hurt the next day from the amount of laughing. PNB brought back award winning actor Tom Skerritt and Allen Galli in the roles of Don Q and Sancho and they showed so much range. For actors that are used to having words to help their craft they did a fabulous job. Skerritt showed brilliance as the mad Don who battles his demons and dreams of nymphs and monsters. Galli often stole scenes with his hilarious side man ballet interpretations and physical comedy. But who stole the entire show was Principal dancer Jonathan Porretta as Gamache. His level of sassy panache had our entire group in tears. The costume, the wig and the attitude served such over the top amazing comedy, it was perfect.
The entire company, corps dancers and students all shined so brightly. There have been talks of this company having small numbers right now in their corps but I think it's quality over quantity. Peter Boal made smart casting choices and everyone was strong and impressive. I would much rather watch a small stronger corps rather than a larger average group of dancers.
This is the last weekend to catch this gorgeous production, get your tickets at www.pnb.org and get your cheap trip to Barcelona for a magical evening filled with laughter and gorgeous dancing. ❤️ *photos by Angela Sterling