Ballet

Don Quixote

Rudolf Nureyev

Opéra Bastille

from 21 March to 24 April 2024

2h50 with 2 intervals

Children aged 5 and over are welcome.

Don Quixote

Opéra Bastille - from 21 March to 24 April 2024

Synopsis

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Inspired by Marius Petipa’s choreography, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote is a true celebration of dance with a Spanish flavour. The soloists and the Corps de Ballet are carried away in ensembles and pas de deux to the strains of a spirited score.

Written in the 17th century, Cervantes’ novel recounts the adventures of Don Quixote, an idealist and bookworm who one day decides to ride across Spain with the naive Sancho Panza.

In Nureyev’s ballet they meet Kitri and Basilio. The two lovers use every trick in the book – from a puppet performance to a fake suicide – to be reunited, despite Kitri’s father’s resistance.

In the end it is Don Quixote who delivers the happy ending after battling windmills and crossing paths with Cupid, Dulcinea and the Queen of the Dryads. The costumes and colourful sets sublimate a vivacious and entertaining work.

Duration : 2h50 with 2 intervals

  • Opening

  • First part 50 min

  • Intermission 20 min

  • Second part 45 min

  • Intermission 20 min

  • Third part 35 min

  • End

Show acts and characters

CHARACTERS

Kitri: Lorenzo’s daughter, in love with Basilio but betrothed to Gamache.
Basilio: Penniless barber, in love with Kitri.
Don Quixote: Knight errant who sets out to conquer the world.
Camacho: Rich peasant, betrothed to Kitri.
Lorenzo: Innkeeper, Kitri’s father.
Sancho Panza: Don Quichotte’s loyal squire.
The Queen of the Dryads: Nymph and guardian of the forests.

Act 1:
Don Quixote’s study
Don Quixote, a country gentleman, believes himself to be a valiant knight straight out of the country romances which are his favourite reading. As he dreams, Dulcinea, the heroine of these stories and his vision of the ideal woman, appears to him. But his neighbour, Sancho Panza, pursued by servants from whom he has stolen a chicken, enters and disturbs his day-dreams. Don Quixote decides to make Sancho Panza into his knightly companion, and together they leave to take on the world.

A public square in Barcelona
Kitri, the daughter of Lorenzo, the innkeeper, searches in the crowd for her beloved, Basilio the barber. Her joyous dancing is interrupted by her father who, wanting her to marry the rich and noble Camacho, repulses Basilio. Kitri determinedly refuses this proposed marriage, but the arrival of don Quixote and Sancho Panza puts an end to their argument. Lorenzo offers his hospitality to the knight and invites him to his inn. Sancho Panza is a little too attentive to the girls and is teased and manhandled by the young people until don Quixote comes to his rescue. When don Quixote sees Kitri, he believes her to be his beloved Dulcinea. Gallantly, he offers her his arm for a minuet. Camacho is furious. Kitri and Basilio take advantage of the confusion to flee.

Act 2:
Scene 1: The gypsy camp
Basilio and Kitri take refuge in a windmill. They are discovered by a band of gypsies, who try to rob them. However, the gypsies, soon realising the poverty of the young couple, decide to help them when they witness the arrival of Lorenzo and Camacho, followed by don Quixote and Sancho Panza, who eventually find their hiding place. The gypsies try to set don Quixote against Lorenzo and Camacho. To this end, they install a puppet theatre where the story of the thwarted love of Basilio and Kitri is played out. Caught up by the story, don Quixote tries to come to the puppet lovers’ aid, and destroys the theatre. Suddenly, he finds himself facing the windmill, which he attacks, believing it to be a gigantic enemy. He is caught up in the spokes of the windmill and thrown to the ground. The gypsies, disguised as ghosts, attempt to frighten the knight. Basilio and Kitri manage once again to escape.

Scene 2: Don Quixote’s dream
Don Quixote, wounded and half fainting, dreams that he is transported to an enchanted garden as a reward for his courage and fidelity. The Queen of the Dryads takes him to Dulcinea (Kitri), to whom he dares to declare his love. But the dream vanishes.

Act 3:
Scene 1: An inn
Basilio and Kitri, happy to have escaped their pursuers, celebrate their success with friends at an inn. Lorenzo, Camacho, don Quixote and Sancho Panza lose no time, however, in rejoining them. Lorenzo is absolutely decided that Kitri should marry Camacho. In desperation, Basilio resorts to subterfuge and pretends to commit suicide. Kitri implores don Quixote to help them, and the knight obliges Lorenzo to allow Kitri to marry the “ dying ” Basilio. But as soon as her father has given his blessing, Basilio jumps up gaily. Provoked beyond endurance by the trick played upon him, Camacho challenges don Quixote to a duel, and is beaten.

Scene 2: The wedding
In the midst of great rejoicing at the marriage of Kitri and Basilio, don Quixote and his faithful servant set off in search of new adventures.

Artists

Ballet in a prologue and three acts

Choreography after Marius Petipa

Creative team

Cast

  • Thursday 21 March 2024 at 19:30
  • Sunday 24 March 2024 at 14:30
  • Tuesday 26 March 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 27 March 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 29 March 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 30 March 2024 at 19:30
  • Monday 01 April 2024 at 14:30
  • Tuesday 02 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 04 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 05 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 06 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Tuesday 09 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 10 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 11 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 12 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 13 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Tuesday 16 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 17 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 18 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 19 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 20 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Monday 22 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Tuesday 23 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 24 April 2024 at 19:30

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 18 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

The Étoiles, the Premières Danseuses, the Premiers Danseurs and the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet
The Paris Opera Orchestra

Media

[TRAILER] DON QUICHOTTE by Rudolf Noureev
[TRAILER] DON QUICHOTTE by Rudolf Noureev
  • Draw-me Don Quixote

    Draw-me Don Quixote

    Watch the video

  • TOÏ TOÏ TOÏ: Marc Moreau answers 5 questions about Don Quixote

    TOÏ TOÏ TOÏ: Marc Moreau answers 5 questions about Don Quixote

    Watch the video

  • Don Quichotte from every angle

    Don Quichotte from every angle

    Watch the video

  • Becoming Don Quixote

    Becoming Don Quixote

    Watch the video

  • The tutu, queen of dance costumes

    The tutu, queen of dance costumes

    Read the article

Draw-me Don Quixote

Watch the video

Understand the plot in 1 minute

1:40 min

Draw-me Don Quixote

By Octave

TOÏ TOÏ TOÏ: Marc Moreau answers 5 questions about Don Quixote

Watch the video

1:25 min

TOÏ TOÏ TOÏ: Marc Moreau answers 5 questions about Don Quixote

By Octave

Étoile dancer Marc Moreau answers 5 questions about Don Quixote.

© Julien Benhamou/OnP

Don Quichotte from every angle

Watch the video

Interview with Paul Marque, Suzanne Dangel and Sabrina Mallem

5:57 min

Don Quichotte from every angle

By Aliénor Courtin

For the revival of Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quichotte, Octave met up with Etoile dancer Paul Marque, Suzanne Dangel, Production Manager at the Costume Department and Sabrina Mallem, Ballet Mistress associated to the Dance Direction. Each of them sheds light on this piece set in 17th century Spain.

Between technical and artistic aspects, they discuss the preparation of this ballet: the work of interpreting a fiery character like Basilio, the creation of the matadors' colourful costumes and the rehearsal with the soloists and the Corps de Ballet during the Dryads' scene.

Becoming Don Quixote

Watch the video

An encounter with the dancer Yann Chailloux

2:55 min

Becoming Don Quixote

By Aliénor de Foucaud, Felipe Sanguinetti

Accustomed to composition roles, dancer Yann Chailloux is assuming the guise of Don Quixote for a new time. Having lost none of his childhood wistfulness, he finds himself in the footsteps of the Man of La Mancha, that impassioned romantic and avid reader of courtly novels who imagines himself as a knight. Nevertheless, the dancer and the old man have far more in common than it might seem at first glance.

© Eléna Bauer / OnP

The tutu, queen of dance costumes

Read the article

An interview with Martine Kahane and Anne-Marie Legrand

02 min

The tutu, queen of dance costumes

By Anna Schauder

As the year draws to a close, Don Quichotte marks the return of shimmering tutus to the stage of the Opéra Bastille. First introduced at the Paris Opera and consecrated with La Sylphide in 1832, the tutu has become emblematic of the classical ballerina. Rudolf Nureyev told his dancers they needed to “wear the tutu”, in the sense that they should assume the costume and learn how to present it to the audience’s gaze. But what is the story behind the tutu that made it synonymous with the ballerina? We talked to Martine Kahane, former director of the Paris Opera’s Library-Museum, and Anne-Marie Legrand, in charge of the Palais Garnier’s Atelier flou*.

The word “tutu” only entered current usage around 1881. Where did the term originate?

Martine Kahane: The term “tutu” has three possible origins, although none of them have been confirmed. First of all, we think it may refer to the costume’s double layer of tulle. However, “Tutu” could also be interpreted as an endearing term for a young girl's behind. Then again, the word may find its root in the suggestive expression “panpan tutu” (a French term for a spanking) used jokingly by the Opera’s subscribers in days gone by.


How did the tutu come into being?

M.K.: It marks a stage in the evolution of dance costumes. If we go back to the costumes for the court ballets, we can see they tried all types of costumes made out of fabrics somewhat on the heavy side. The advent of the tutu is also interwoven with the history of textiles: as time passed, court, civil and stage costumes all became increasingly lighter—until the Victorian era would once again constrain women with starched, high-neck collars, long floor-length skirts and long, tight-fitting sleeves.

Essentially speaking, the advent of the tutu in the 1830s coincided with an extremely rich artistic environment. Initially—and particularly in the case of La Sylphide—the romantic tutu resembled a summer dress, falling to mid-calf, with a modest décolleté and little “balloon” sleeves. With the passage of time, the dress would become shorter and take on greater volume. The sleeves would disappear and the décolleté become ever more pronounced. Finally, decorative elements would be added to the bustier and the platter to result in the tutu we know today—that is to say, a shorter one which facilitates the movement of the legs and the upper body. The fantasy value of the tutu would be such that long, short, and straight versions of the tutu would follow.    

Marie Taglioni entourée des danseuses Carlotta Grisi, Lucile Grahn et Fanny Cerrito en 1846
Marie Taglioni entourée des danseuses Carlotta Grisi, Lucile Grahn et Fanny Cerrito en 1846 © AKG Images

What image of a woman was moulded by the different artistic and literary movements of the 19th century?

M.K.: In the eyes of many of the great romantic artists, the world had been spoiled by materialism and they would strive to make it a magical place again. All the artistic movements would conjure up mysterious creatures, ethereal women who existed more as spirits than actual creatures of flesh and blood. A woman was neither a wife nor a mother: she was an eternal fiancée, who, just as in love, could only find fulfilment in death. A woman was condemned to wear white, the colour of purity. Henriette de Mortsauf, the heroine in Honoré de Balzac’s Lys dans la vallée, is testimony to the quasi-equivalence between literary heroines and the female characters in romantic ballets.

   

What were the reasons for the transition from the (longer) romantic tutu to the (shorter) academic one?

M.K.: The entire history of the dance costume is linked to technique and body developments, in turn linked to the canons of beauty and to health and decency. As the movement of the arms and legs became more pronounced, there was a desire to show more of the body in order to better highlight the technique. This would ultimately lead to the leotard, the symbol of a completely liberated body. With the increased popularity of sport, a healthy body became something that needed to be shown off. Finally, cinema also changed our notions of acceptable behaviour as well as our relationship with the body: given that the body is not physically in front of the audience, the actress, like the spectator, could free herself of many things. Of course, tutus also got shorter after the First World War, as they did again after the Second due to the fact that raw materials were so hard to come by.


What types of academic tutus were made when you first arrived at the Atelier Flou?

Anne-Marie Legrand: When I arrived at the Paris Opera in 1982, they were still making "cerclette" tutus. Up until then, they had epitomised the Paris Opera’s style. These were comprised of a band of tulle which in turn was gathered and inserted into the centre of the flounces to reinforce the tutu and ensure its durability. The process that went into making them was a jealously-guarded secret and, at the time, it was only passed on by word of mouth. We could not be trained outside the studio. When Rudolf Nureyev arrived, he asked us to make "galette" tutus for Raymonda (1983), Swan Lake (1984) and La Bayadère (1992) among others. Compared to the "cerclette" tutus, the amount of tulle used for each flounce is far greater. The platters are larger, which gives the dancer a wider port de bras. By rule of thumb, the radius of the tutu should correspond to the length of the dancer’s arms so that the latter can touch the rim with her fingertips.   
Dorothée Gilbert (Cupidon) dans Don Quichotte, Opéra Bastille 2017
Dorothée Gilbert (Cupidon) dans Don Quichotte, Opéra Bastille 2017 © Svetlana Loboff / OnP

Other than not having a cerclette, how can you differentiate a g lette tutu from a cerclette tutu?

A-M. L. : The galette tutu is heavier than a cerclette tutu, due to the greater density of tulle. For current productions, we’ve gone from thirteen to eleven flounces for reasons related to production time, weight and cost. The edges can be straight or denticulated. You can identify these by the hand-cut ruffles which are also a characteristic of the galette tutus of Rudolf Nureyev's times.

   

What are the principal stages in the making of a tutu?

A-M. L. : A tutu is composed of a trousse (a term used for the panties) onto which we sew the flounces, from the shortest to the longest (11 to 13 flounces). We then fit a yoke approximately 6-cm high on top. When that operation is complete, the tutu resembles a large rosette. The whole thing is then “banded” by a multitude of long, loose, hand-sewn stitches which constrain the garment and give the tutu that “pancake” shape which we called a tulle platter. Then, depending on the artistic specifications, it can be trimmed with lace, pearls, sequins, etc.… as per the designer’s inspiration. Finally, we add the bustier, which completes the costume. Due to the large number of flounces, a tutu with a so-called “English” tulle platter requires a longer production time: approximately three and a half days, whereas the skirting for a romantic tutu with four flounces only takes a day and a half to complete.    

*The Atelier flou is the workshop responsible for making the women’s costumes (at the Palais Garnier, it makes costumes for the ballet productions, and at the Opéra Bastille costumes for the lyric ones).

  • [EXTRAIT] DON QUICHOTTE de Rudolf Noureev (Hannah O'Neill, Germain Louvet)
  • [EXTRAIT] DON QUICHOTTE de Rudolf Noureev (Hannah O'Neill, Hohyun Kang, Inès McIntosh)
  • [EXTRAIT] DON QUICHOTTE de Rudolf Noureev (Hannah O'Neill, Germain Louvet)
  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte 2

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte 1

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte3

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte 2

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte3

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte 3

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev - Acte 2

  • Don Quichotte (saison 23/24) de Rudolf Noureev -Acte 1

Press

  • A stunning production, carried away by the virtuosity of the Paris Opera Ballet, that can be seen again and again without tiring.

    Télérama, 2024
  • A real dance party that showcases soloists and Corps de Ballet in a great variety of ensembles and pas de deux.

    Arts in the city, 2021
  • "Don Quixote" by Marius Petipa: Dreams in our heads and stars in the eyes…

    Atlanti-culture, 2021

Access and services

Opéra Bastille

Place de la Bastille

75012 Paris

Public transport

Underground Bastille (lignes 1, 5 et 8), Gare de Lyon (RER)

Bus 29, 69, 76, 86, 87, 91, N01, N02, N11, N16

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Car park

Q-Park Opéra Bastille 34, rue de Lyon 75012 Paris

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Imagined as benchmark, richly illustrated booklets, the programmes can be bought online, at the box offices, in our shops, and in the theatres hall on the evening of the performance.

BUY THE PROGRAM
  • Cloakrooms

    Free cloakrooms are at your disposal. The comprehensive list of prohibited items is available here.

  • Bars

    Reservation of drinks and light refreshments for the intervals is possible online up to 24 hours prior to your visit, or at the bars before each performance.

  • Parking

    You can park your car at the Q-Park Opéra Bastille. It is located at 34 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris. 

    BOOK YOUR PARKING PLACE.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €25 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €40 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille
  • Open 1h before performances and until performances end
  • Get in from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 40 01 17 82

Opéra Bastille

Place de la Bastille

75012 Paris

Public transport

Underground Bastille (lignes 1, 5 et 8), Gare de Lyon (RER)

Bus 29, 69, 76, 86, 87, 91, N01, N02, N11, N16

Calculate my route
Car park

Q-Park Opéra Bastille 34, rue de Lyon 75012 Paris

Book your parking spot
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text

Imagined as benchmark, richly illustrated booklets, the programmes can be bought online, at the box offices, in our shops, and in the theatres hall on the evening of the performance.

BUY THE PROGRAM
  • Cloakrooms

    Free cloakrooms are at your disposal. The comprehensive list of prohibited items is available here.

  • Bars

    Reservation of drinks and light refreshments for the intervals is possible online up to 24 hours prior to your visit, or at the bars before each performance.

  • Parking

    You can park your car at the Q-Park Opéra Bastille. It is located at 34 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris. 

    BOOK YOUR PARKING PLACE.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €25 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €40 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille
  • Open 1h before performances and until performances end
  • Get in from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 40 01 17 82

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