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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

on 3 January 2016
About 15+ years ago, there was a televised production of ‘Don Quixote’ which featured a rather chunky ballerina taking the part of Kitri. I mentioned to my grand-daughters who were wee at the time, ‘I’m not sure … but I think I boxed her as a lightweight’ which caused them to shriek with laughter.
No such criticism with Carlos Acosta’s production of ‘Don Quixote’, though; it’s terrific. Some reviewers have complained about the Royal Opera House’s lighting, some about the standard of Minkus’ music but not me; I couldn’t find one aspect of this marvellous ballet of which to disapprove.
With Acosta as Basilio and Marianela Nuñez as Kitri, their dancing is an absolute delight and Laura Morera dances a suitably saucy Mercedes; in fact, none of the dancers could be faulted, especially the Corps de Ballet who were drilled to perfection under Acosta’s leadership.
It begs the question: will Acosta and Nuñez replace Nureyev and Fonteyn in the public’s affection for ballet’s finest couple? A contentious suggestion, no error there – but in my opinion, I think it’s more than a possibility.
Buy this DVD – it’s perfection.
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on 11 June 2014
Having seen this production live last year, I was concerned that watching it again on DVD would not be able to capture the same magic. Whilst it was not the same as seeing it live, the filming gave a completely different perspective to my amphitheatre seat, allowing me to really appreciate the detail and beauty of the production.

The DVD itself is beautifully packaged and quick to arrive. Inside it features a useful synopsis, cast list and short article about the ballet in English, French and German, alongside some production photographs. Coupled with an interesting introduction to the ballet, which can either be played between acts or as an extra feature, plenty of information is available to help new viewers understand the production, as well as give those who are familiar a new insight.

The filming is simply excellent. Whilst the camera does inevitably constrain one’s gaze, the seamless transition between camera angles ensures that the viewer can appreciate both the whole and the detail. I particularly enjoyed seeing the intricacies of the dancers’ acting - from the villagers chatting on the balcony to the realistic and never overemphasised facial expressions of the main characters, this was a perspective I never would have gained without sitting at the front of the stalls. Even on my laptop, both the filming and the sound are crisp and clear, with an option for surround sound.

The production is a real credit to Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist and choreographer Carlos Acosta (Basilio). Don Quixote marks his first foray into classical choreography for the Royal Ballet after a departure into more contemporary work, and he certainly does not disappoint – the performance has real excitement and raw energy, even if it means the synchronisation of some of the faster steps is at some points a little out amongst the group dances. Acosta finds the right balance between Marius Petipa’s original choreography, athleticism and more modern elements, such as the floor work performed by the gypsies and the use of on stage sound. This is fully embraced by the company, and particularly by Marianela Nuñez (Kitri), Ryoichi Hirano (Espada) and Laura Morera (Mercedes), who all embody a strangely endearing Spanish cockiness that shows their love of dancing and makes for a truly entertaining production from start to finish. Whilst the Garden of the Dryads scene in Act II gives classical ballet fans their fix of a tutu-clad ethereal corps de ballet, the ballet is dominated by a more modern strength that gives both the men and women a chance to shine and show off. In particular, Acosta pulls out some show-stopping ticks in the wedding scene, and Nuñez’s turns and leaps throughout are effortless –she is a true joy to watch, and the camera captures her skill beautifully.

Overall, this is a DVD that I would highly recommend to new and old audiences of all ages. It is a truly ravishing production that shows ballet at its best and leaves you with a smile on your face, and having this preserved on DVD for you to pause and rewind ensures that you can continue to relive the best bits.
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on 14 April 2014
Having watched the production live from the ROH in my local cinema I wanted to have in Blu-ray form. Both principals are Latin and understand M de Cervantes Saavedra novel, a classical of Spanish literature. This production is energetic and both CA and MN dance their socks off. Acosta's own production of a true classical ballet makes me think that in the next few years he will become a choreographer to be recognised.
I loved the inclusion of famous scenes from other famous ballets to show off the technicality of the principal dancers.
Even the audience at the normally staid Tunbridge Wells cinema lost their inhibitions and clapped!
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on 21 July 2014
I am very pleased with this product. This DVD is produced by Opus Arte, the Royal Opera House’s own arts production and Distribution Company. It comes with a leaflet (translated in French and German) that features list of cast, a short article and synopsis of the ballet. The DVD’s extra features include interviews with the cast and crew, introduction to Acts II and III and the cast gallery. It offers an interesting inside to the production as well as behind the scenes footage.

This production premiered at Royal Opera House in London in 30th September 2013. It is very lively and energetic. The cast’s performance is top quality, most notably starring Carlos Acosta as Basilio, Marianela Nuñez as his love interest – Kitri and Christopher Saunders as Don Quixote. The great chemistry between Acosta and Nuñez makes it so pleasurable to watch.

Apart from starring in the production Acosta also choreographed it. This production is full of humour and liveliness. The choreography is very energetic. Acosta is not afraid to make the dancers jump on tables or dance with props. The resemblance of the Spanish temper makes the production all the more enjoyable.

As well as the great performance from the dancers it is important to note the great amount of work that has gone into the set design and costumes. The simply beautiful dresses highlight and compliment the dancers while the Torero look magnificent with costumes with great detailing of gold ornaments. The set design changes often adding further dynamics to the story.

This production moves you into the beautiful world of Don Quixote – full of Spanish energy, young love, toreros, gypsies and fighting. The music by Ludwig Minkus is what really makes this performance a true spectacle.

I highly recommend this product to everyone as it is a great, modern production that should not be missed. This DVD is a great alternative to international ballet lovers who don’t have the opportunity to travel to the Royal Opera House in London. I was very lucky to be able to see this production live last year and now thanks to this DVD I am able to return to it anytime I want in own home. It has allowed me to fully appreciate the details of the production that I missed when I first saw it. Watching the ballet at home rather than live gives the opportunity to pause and re-watch favourite scenes such as the dream sequence which I could watch over and over again.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 April 2014
This recording from 2013 marks Acosta's first offering as producer and choreographer for the Royal Ballet and this version of the ballet is markedly different in emphasis to other options currently available on disc. The first performance of the ballet was relayed 'live' via cinemas in October and received considerable acclaim in the press which reflected the audiences obvious enthusiasm. This review is based on the received Blu-ray disc rather than either the 'live' cinema broadcast or attending the Royal Ballet in London.

The first thing to note therefore is the outstanding quality of the Blu-ray disc which provides complete clarity of imaging and DTS surround sound of depth and fidelity. The camera work expertly blends the panoramic range of views with the closer detail that would be hard to see for those present at the actual performance on stage. The disc therefore offers a satisfying 'best of all words' combination of views.

The presentation itself is traditional in style in so far as it is fully staged with attractive and imaginative use of staging and props which move in and out smoothly to enhance the flow of the stage activity. Costumes are stylish and suitably Spanish in design while the dream sequence in Act 2 and the final set of dances between Acosta and Nunez are both taken as opportunities to display classical ballet costuming such as tutus and long flowing white dresses.

The production is a clear attempt to bring in far more of the story detail than in other productions. The supporting roles of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (Christopher Saunders and Philip Mosley), Espada and Mercedes (Ryoichi Hirano and Laura Morera), Gamache and Lorenzo (Bennet Gartside and Gary Avis), Dulcinea and the Queen of the Dryads (Chistina Arestis and Melissa Hamilton), Kitri's two friends (Yohui Choe and Beatriz Stix-Brunell) and the Matadors and Urchins are all considerably enhanced with roles of dignity rather than the more comic portrayals to be found elsewhere.

There is far less of the display element and more concentration on deeper characterisation than is often the case and this adds up to a more serious telling of the story with less emphasis on the spectacular or pyrotechnic display that can be witnessed in other productions such as on the recent Mariinsky and Cuban National Ballet discs.

The main casting of Carlos Acosta as Basillo and Marianela Nunez as Kitri is a total success and their chemistry on stage is palpable throughout. This is vivid evidence of that natural empathy that is described by Acosta and Nunez in the bonus feature film. Both possess rock solid technique to which is added the essential ability to communicate with each other and with the audience and that is what makes their portrayal come alive so well. The Matadors are given more substantial roles and gain in stature as a result. The corps de ballet clearly enjoy themselves in this production and that enthusiasm communicates well on disc.

Acosta has introduced a limited degree of vocalising in the form of cheers and encouragement from the dancers on-stage. Use is also made of table tops as temporary focal points to extend the staging and to add authenticity to some scenarios. These features have been incorporated with the intention to extend the National and dramatic characterisation of the narrative.

The roles of Quixote and Sancho Panza gain by being more seriously portrayed as do the roles of Gamache and Lorenzo. Kitri's two friends make for delightful entr'actes and the less comically silly portrayals of Gamache and Lorenzo are a welcome change. Espada is a strong character and the parallel romance between him and Mercedes is well portrayed and adds depth to the production.

The music is still by Minkus but has been re-orchestrated and modernised by the conductor, Martin Yates. The orchestra played with their usual skill and high quality and contributed strongly to the success of the evening. There is a 12 minute film with interviews from the cast during which the intentions of the new production are well covered. The disc can be played with or without introductions before each act.

This is therefore a very fine recording of a thoughtful new production that looks set to be a regular feature of the Royal ballet repertoire.
This disc is a successful and involving record of the live performance and deserves to be seriously considered by potential purchasers.


A response to the anonymous negative voter of the previous version of this slightly modified review:

Goodness knows what you find to be unhelpful about this review
The voting system is specifically only about reviews being 'helpful' or 'unhelpful'

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on 10 June 2014
The trouble is that a version of Don Quixote, with Mihail Baryshnikov, simply cannot be improved on. Although this version with Acosta is excellent, I keep thinking back to Baryshnikov. I have seen about five versions of Don quixote and Baryshnikov comes first - no contest - and then this version by Acosta.
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on 25 July 2014
My absolute favourite ballet! I have seen it both live at the Opera House and on DVD and the DVD gives you something that I would have never got In my seat at the Opera House.
You get to see the emotion on the dancers faces, and every small detail of the challenging choreography which really allowed me to appreciate every aspect of the ballet (possibly the reason behind my enthusiasm).

Marianela (Kitri), is an absolute delight to watch and the chemistry between her and Carlos (Basilio) make them perfect partners. Their performances were simultaneously effortless and powerful which made Don Quixote such a joy to watch. The musical score by Ludwig Minkus was fantastic and similarly as lively and exuberant as the dancers!

Aside from giving a view point I would have never have seen from my usual Amphi seat the DVD had some brilliant extra features including interviews with the cast and crew and a synopsis of the ballet which I found particularly useful.

I absolutely love the humour, the energy, and the Latin spirit of Don Quixote. It showcases the very best of ballet and is fantastic for those who perhaps are new to ballet.
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on 3 May 2014
If, like me, you attend the fabulous Cinema Live events (visit cinemalive.com for details) to watch world-class performances by the very best companies in the world, delivering stunning ballet LIVE by satellite link from their famous locations to cinemas all over the world - all for the price of a cinema ticket - and you wish to relive these exciting performances then this is for YOU dear reader.

Carlos Acosta's version of 'Don Quixote' performed by The Royal Ballet and transmitted live to cinemas all around the world in October 2013 transcends EVERY version that went before it (yes even Nureyev) - with REAL Flamenco guitarists on the stage in Act 2.

Experience a new awareness, and in doing so, encounter and enjoy a deeper and more fulfilling appreciation of this fabulous art form - an art form that opens our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts like no other!

The tale starts with the ninety-year-old Don Quixote (Don Key Hoe Tea) on his `death bed'.

Close to death Don Quixote is visited by the spirits of death and as they make their appearance and Don Quixote wards them off, Don Quixote makes the decision that he will NOT die a THANKLESS death `alone in bed' but will die GALLANTLY fighting one last quest on behalf of `Dulcinea' his `dream girl' - a `dream girl' that is ACTUALLY Don Quixote's GUARDIAN SPIRIT that makes her presence known to him through his many hallucinations - but Don Quixote does not KNOW this - and he merely sees her as his `dream girl' - oblivious to the fact that she is a GUIDING SPIRIT who has ALWAYS been there to take care of him and PROTECT him through his many gallant acts of bravery to `right wrongs and protect women' in a VERY hostile world - a hostile world where `life is cheap'.

Don Quixote dons his rusty armour for one final quest and with his vorpal sword strapped to his body, his ever-faithful friend Sancho Panza by his side, and a bed-post for a lance, he sets off for his final acts of chivalry - where he ends up in a village - a village where he meets Kitri - a maiden in distress who is being compelled to marry a rich suitor by her father - but whom loves another - and so begins the extraordinary adventure - a fabulous adventure filled with greed, lust, honour, gallantry, companionship, camaraderie, love - and ever-present danger.

At last the choreography FINALLY matches the story and the passionate music; Marianela Nunez is magnificent as Kitri; and the dancers are on FIRE!

Acosta's sublime choreography transcends EVERY version that went before it - with REAL Flamenco guitarists on the stage in Act 2.

The ballet-blanc sequence when Don Quixote has his 'out of body' experience, and the dryad spirits of all of the long-dead women that Don Quixote has helped in the past return to thank him for his chivalry, will make you cry.

And if THAT is not enough - wait until you see act THREE! ALL of the principal dancers deliver sparkling performances that are almost on a par with the Prima Ballerina (Marianela Nunez) and her Leading Man (Carlos Acosta).

THAT is something special to look forward to - but you are also in for a VERY rare treat. When a ballet dancer concludes their REHEARSAL they pay REVERENCE to their Coach; to the Ballet Master or Ballet Mistress; to the Choreographer; to the pianist who provides the music; and to their partner.

`Reverence' is a very special veneration performed as a mark of respect to acknowledge how much esteem the dancer has for their mentors, because without THEIR help, guidance, and support, the dancer would not have the ability to do what they do.

Carlos Acosta's version of Don Quixote had its World Premier LIVE in cinemas in FORTY ONE COUNTRIES all over the world. As act three concluded, the ENTIRE COMPANY paid REVERENCE to the orchestra AND the GLOBAL AUDIENCE.

It has to be SEEN to be believed - and when you watch the closing moments - and you see the `reverence' performed - just before Don Quixote rides off into the `sunset' (depicting his final parting from this earth) - be MOVED - the entire company are performing it for YOU - each and every time you WATCH it!

Top THAT dear reader!
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on 17 September 2014
Definitely one of my favourite ballets! Royal Ballet Guest Principle artist Carlos Acosta's new Production of Don Quixote is a colourful, vibrant and energetic version of the famous ballet.
Marianela Nunez as Kitri completely stole the show, she was born for this role! Nunez played off Kitri's fun yet cheeky nature brilliantly. Carlos Acosta charmed as Basilio, both had flawless technique and there was definitely an obvious natural chemistry between the two.
The choreography was very energetic and daring, with Acosta having dancers dance on tables and vocalizing the dancers with onstage cheering. The use of castanets and flamenco guitarists playing live onstage added to the Spanish feel, setting this revival aside from other versions.

The costumes were also beautifully designed, complementing the choreography whilst still maintaining the Spanish atmosphere of the ballet.

As usual the orchestra were fantastic and skillfully perfomed Ludwig Minkus' score, which was re-orchestrated by Martin Yates.

Having already seen this live at the Opera House and now on DVD, the camera angles of the DVD allow the viewer to appreciate the background characters and set design as well as see more detail of choreography that would be harder to see at a live performance from an amphi seat. The DVD also played with very clear sound so the music could also be enjoyed.

The DVD also includes fantastic extra features such as interviews with dancers and an included synopsis of the ballet in a variety of languages so viewers can gain a better understanding of the ballet.

With amazing energy and humour this is the perfect ballet for absolutely anyone to watch!
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on 22 May 2014
I always read of Acosta's kindness and generosity and here he has paid homage to to at least four ballets. I loved his version of Don Quixote. Characters that are usually cardboard became people with personalities but remained humeorus. I have always loved Marienella Nunez.. She not only is a superb dancer but she has such character and that smile of hers would charm anyone. The part of Kitri was made for her. Acosta is my hero and I am only sorry that so few ballets in which he danced were recorded on DVD.

I will not repeat the previous reviews as I agree with them. I tried accessing cinemalive.com only to find that it is only available in the UK. Perhaps one day they will extend it to other countries.
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