Grand ballet in four acts (seven scenes) with a prologue
Music Ludwig Minkus
Libretto Marius Petipa based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes
Choreography Alexander Gorsky after Marius Petipa (gypsy and oriental dances choreographed by Nina Anisimova)
Set designers Alexander Golovin, Konstantin Korovin
Restoration of sets Mikhail Shishliannikov
Costume designer Konstantin Korovin
Performance time: 3 hours
Act I – Scene
A room in Don Quixote's house. The servants are talking about their
master. They consider he has lost his reason, because he fancies he is a
knight and sees imaginary enemies everywhere.
The servants believe all his vagaries to be the result of too much
reading of tales of chivalry. They burn Don Quixote's books, hoping to
save their master in that way.
Don Quixote enters. As usual, he is engrossed in a book. following
excitedly the varying fortunes of the characters. The servants hide.
Don Quixote carefully collects the volumes that have escaped
destruction, and becomes engrossed in a book again. Presently he falls
In his sleep he sees visions of knightly tournaments, he rescues a
damsel in distress and wins her warm gratitude.
But the fat glutton, Sancho Panza, rushing in, breaks up his dream.
Sancho has stolen a goose somewhere, and the exasperated housewives are in
hot pursuit. Don Quixote, awakened by the noise, turns the angry women out
of the room.
An idea comes to Don Quixote to make Sancho his squire. They will set
out together in search of adventure they will defend virtue and punish all
violators of the code of chivalry. Sancho Panza at first hesitates, but,
in the end, consents, won over by a promise of plentiful food.
Don Quixote displays his armor and tests the strength of his helmet by
striking it with his sword. But the very first blow shatters it to
This does not in the least disconcert Dun Quixote. A shaving basin may
serve for a helmet! He arrays himself in his armor, and, seizing a
ludicrously long spear, orders Sancho Panza to follow him.
Act I – Scene
In front of Lorenzo's inn, in Barcelona, a holiday crowd has gathered.
Here, too, is the merry flirt, Quiteria, the daughter of the innkeeper,
and her lover Basil, the barber. To tease Quiteria, he is over-attentive
to her friends.
Lorenzo catches his daughter kissing Basil and forbids them ever to
meet again; he won't have any penniless suitors. In vain Quiteria tells
her father how much she loves Basil, Lorenzo is inexorable and turns the
barber out of the house.
Camacho, a rich pompous nobleman, walks in, resplendent in his brocaded
clothes. The crowd jeers at him. He has come to ask for the hand of the
beautiful Quiteria. Lorenzo is happy to have so highborn a gentleman for a
son-in-law, but to Quiteria the idea of marrying him is detestable. The
innkeeper is shocked at his daughter's impertinent manner of behavior to
A street dancer enters, cheered heartily by the crowd. The girl is
eagerly expecting the arrival of Espada, the famous toreador. Espada makes
his appearance, accompanied by other toreadors. They dance, flourishing
their cloaks, enacting scenes from a bullfight.
At the appearance of an extraordinary-looking horseman, the people are
struck with astonishment.
Sancho Panza blows a horn to announce the arrival of the knight- errant
of La Mancha. Lorenzo welcomes the traveler courteously and invites him to
have some refreshment.
The girls seize the opportunity to have a bit of run by playing tricks
on the fat squire. They start a game of blind-man's-buff. After that, the
poor harried Sancho becomes sport for the men who toss him up into the
Sancho screams for help. Don Quixote comes to his rescue, armed with a
huge toasting-fork and a plate for a shield.
The knight sees Quiteria and is struck by her beauty. Was it not she
who has haunted his dreams as the beautiful Dulcinea? In rapture, Don
Quixote bends his knee to her and asks her to dance a minuet with him. To
annoy Basil, Quiteria graciously accepts the invitation, coquettishly
imitating the manners of a fine lady.
While no one is looking, Sancho steals a fried fish from the kitchen
and is about to slip away, but the scullions give chase and catch the
Amidst the general confusion, Quiteria and Basil slip away
Act II – Scene
Fleeing from Lorenzo and Camacho, the two lovers, Quiteria and Basil,
wander into a gypsy camp.
The gypsies dance for their guests. A girl informs them of the approach
of a queer-looking horseman, Don-Quixote. Basil and Quiteria meet him like
good old friends.
The gypsies invite Don Quixote to attend a play they are about to
perform. He takes what is going on upon the stage for actual facts, and
rushes, sword in hand, to rescue the unhappy heroine; the improvised
theatre is destroyed. The frightened actors and spectators scatter in all
The turning sails of a windmill, then, catch Don Quixote's eye. They
are the arms of giants! Don Quixote attacks the windmill. His clothes get
caught on a sail; he is first swung up into the air, then hurled to the
Quiteria and Basil attend to his injuries. They spend the rest of the
night near the gypsies' caravan.
Act II – Scene
Don Quixote is tormented by a nightmare. In his sleep he sees a huge
spider crawl out of a dark, dense forest. The knight attacks the monster
boldly and overpowers its at the same moment the forest in transformed
into the bright kingdom of the dryads. Among them is Quiteria who has
assumed the form of Dulcinea, the queen of his heart.
Cupid presents Don Quixote to the Queen of the dryads. The nymphs are
grateful to him for rescuing them from the power of the monster, and dance
for their deliverer.
Act II – Scene
Dawn breaks, Quiteria and Basil wake up only just in time, for Lorenzo
and Camacho are close upon them. The lovers flee. Don Quixote, their
protector, sends Lorenzo and Camacho on a false trail.
People gather for a fiesta at an inn. Quiteria and Basil, having given
the slip to Lorenzo and Camacho, have also come here to take part in the
The toreador and the dancer. Mercedes, enter, hailed heartily by the
The innkeeper warns Quiteria of her father's approach, Quiteria tries
to escape, but her father overtakes her and drags her to Camacho to give
them his parental blessing at their betrothal. Camacho kneels before
Basil, seeing this, stabs himself and falls to the ground. Quiteria
rushes to him. She guesses at once, that be is feigning, but the sly girl
begs Don Quixote to go to Lorenzo and persuade him to grant Basil's dying
wish - to give them his parental blessing. Basil is sure to die Why not
ease his last moments?
Camacho protests, but is driven out unceremoniously. At Don Quixote's
earnest entreaty, Lorenzo blesses the lovers.
The next instant. Basil jumps to his feet and kisses the astounded
The merrymaking at the inn continues for a long time.
Lorenzo, assisted by the scullions, the maid servants and Quiteria's
friends, is completing preparations for the wedding feast.
Don Quixote is the guest of honor. Lorenzo keeps wondering how Don
Quixote has contrived to deceive him, to make him reject the rich suitor
and let the poor barber marry his daughter.
The innkeeper, donning a suit of armor, challenges Don Quixote in jest.
Don Quixote bravely takes up the challenge of the Unknown Knight, but
falls to the ground the moment their swords cross.
The merrymaking goes on. The happy lovers dance for Don Quixote, to
whom they owe their happiness.
Now, that his benevolent mission is completed, the knight-errant may go
on his way. He rides off, amidst shouts of gratitude.