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Don Quixote

Don Quixote
Daniel Gaudiello and Lana Jones in Don Quixote
photo Jeff Busby

“a fun, vibrant production that shows the company at its very best”

**** (4 stars)
“outstanding performances”
“Lana Jones is a magnetic Kitri, her dancing polished”
“Former principal artist Steven Heathcote is a wonderful Don, bringing just the right amount of pathos”
“Matthew Donnelly is hugely entertaining as the high-camp fop Gamache”
“Reiko Hombo and Chengwu Guo are impressive as Amour and the gypsy boy”
Don Quixote is a fun, vibrant production that shows the company at its very best”
The Age, 18 March 2013

“The Australian Ballet [reveals] the character subtleties and philosophical musings threaded into Nureyev's richly textured adaption of this Petipa favourite”
On Steven Heathcote as Don Quixote: “Poised and understated”
“the work's contagious frivolity [is] realised with commendable elan by the corps and a fresh generation of soloists”
“Romantic leads Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello are well matched, bringing a zesty dose of flirtation and mischievous teasing to their onstage courtship”
“Gaudiello's Basilio is all impish charm while Jones transforms Kitri into a character of considerable complexity; feisty and untamed, yet kind and tender”
“Alongside superb character work, Jones trounces the role's brutal technical demands, whipping through Act III turning sequences and calmly holding impossibly exposed balances”
“Gaudiello tackles the virtuosic challenges of Nureyev's Basilio with pluck and flair, his elevation and extension particularly  impressive”
“The comedic roles are delightfully overblown, Matthew Donnelly revelling in Gamache's foppery and frippery, Frank Leo's Sancho Panza a likable buffoon and the role of Kitri's domineering father brilliantly reprised by Francis Croese”
“Amber Scott brings silken majesty to Dulcinea's garden as Queen of the Dryads”
The Australian, 18 March 2013

On guest performers Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev:
“Osipova has a full armoury. She is light and incredibly quick, with razor-sharp footwork, a huge jump and fearless attack. But she can also be intensely lyrical”
“Vasiliev is elastic and bouncy with elevation that defies gravity and speed that defies time. He threw off apparently impossible flying turns and added loads of details”
The Australian, 18 March 2013

“excellent form and finesse”
“Stand-out performances were given by Daniel Gaudiello and Lana Jones as the two young lovers… and former principal artist Steven Heathcote in the title role”
“both Frank Leo as Sancho Panza and Matthew Donnelly as Gamache rose magnificently to the occasion. Their antics were both amusing and witty and the performance was enriched because of their nuanced character development”
“The scene located on the 'Plain of Montiel' contains one of the most sculpted and beautifully choreographed sequences in the production. Set against a spectacular stormy backdrop with a windmill as centre-piece, this is one of those exquisite aesthetic offerings when we can appreciate Anne Fraser’s stunning set designs, the variety and detail present in Barry Kay’s costumes and all to the tune of Russian composer Ludwig Minkus' absorbing score”
“Chengwu Guo also displays great energy and skill, noticeably as a member of the company but also as the Gypsy boy where his energy and vivaciousness make him a memorable character”
“Amber Scott as Queen of the Dryads is exceptional in her solo, moving with an innate grace and sense of confident control”
“An excellent start to The Australian Ballet’s 2013 season”
Australian Stage Online, 15 March 2013

****(4 stars)
“the sight of the tutu-clad fairies of Dulcinea's garden draws gasps of delight”
“Lana Jones commands the stage from the second she first appears”
“There is a feeling of joy throughout the entire company, and this radiates from none more strongly than Jones. Beaming with pleasure, Jones makes effortlessly light work of the role, achieving a distinctly feminine characterisation despite the strong athleticism required”
“As if Daniel Gaudiello's dancing is not strong and beautiful enough already, he makes an additional art form of the subtle flick of his sleek long hair”
“Gaudiello deftly balances the passionate and playful aspects of Basilio to create an irresistibly sensual performance”
“Strong individually, Jones and Gaudiello truly shine as a pair. Each final solo and pas de deux brought roars of approval from the enraptured crowd”
“[Steven] Heathcote has crossed the realm to character player, bringing great depth, nuance and dignity to the stage”
“Heathcote is ably supported by the comic turn of Frank Leo as Sancho”
“Matthew Donnelly adds to the character presence and humour as the haughty peacock Gamache”
“The extraordinary depth of the talent pool at The Australian Ballet provides featured dancers of the supreme calibre of Principal/Senior Artists Amber Scott, Amy Harris, Reiko Hombo and Andrew Killian. The contribution of these dancers to the overall quality of the performance is immeasurable”
“A feature of the ensemble overall is their animated and engaging character work, which lifts the work far beyond a piece of drilled precision”
Theatre People, 16 March 2013

“Daniel Gaudiello as Basilio is on the way to superstar status. Blessed with good looks and in possession of a fabulous technique he had the wild spark needed for the penniless barber, and charisma aplenty to draw all eyes and set the stage alight. He had it all – clean batterie, great turns, an infectious sense of mischief and fun, not least in the superbly handled mime scenes, his “death scene” a particular delight”
“there was a beautiful rapport between the two of them [Gaudiello and Lana Jones] from the start”
“[Lana Jones’] technical mastery made the fiendish difficulties of Dulcinea’s variation look easy, and she joined in the fireworks of the final act with some super balances and turns”
“Reiko Hombo is always a delight to watch with her clean lines and footwork and impish grace, and the role of Amour [fitted] her like a glove”
“Amber Scott was a vision as always as the Queen of the Dryads, all ethereal elegance and grace”
“Miwako Kubota danced a graceful and flawless Chief Bridesmaid”
“Chengwu Guo made the most of the Gypsy boy’s flamboyant solo”
“Amy Harris had the sensuous look as the Street Dancer”
“Laura Tong and Rudy Hawkes as the lead Fandango couple gave a particularly fine and stylish rendition of their duet”
“The corps plunged into the fun and antics of the staging with some fine dancing”
Don Quixote was an engaging and exuberant opening to the season”
Dance Australia, 18 March 2013

“[Rudolf Nureyev’s] incandescent brilliance was definitely present at the State Theatre for the opening of Don Quixote
“this sensational production had a sell-out audience hollering for more as the troupe took numerous and well-deserved curtain calls”
“Matthew Donnelly playing the foppish Gamache was superbly funny throughout as was Frank Leo as Sancho”
“High-praise must go to Amber Scott who was simply marvellous… as the Dryad Queen; her poise, control and charisma filled the stage in one of the highlights of the evening”
“The unquestionable stars though are Daniel Gaudiello as Basillio and Lana Jones as Kitri, who burned so brightly they dazzled with an inexhaustible supply of energy, verve and theatrical wit. Their beautiful presences, supported by the efforts of a truly marvellous cast, glided across the stage effortless and elegant”
“With pure masculine power Daniel held Lana aloft with an incredible one arm lift, the apparent ease showing a poise and strength the best athletes in any sport would envy”
“The performance ended on a fantastic musical crescendo with the famous Grand Pas de Deux, almost bringing the house down — truly a joy to experience”
“Chengwu Guo as Gypsy boy and Reiko Hombo as Amour both showed rare and delightful charisma, physical charm and character”
“Nicolette Fraillon and her marvellous orchestra did an absolutely brilliant job with tight direction and pace with a challenging score”
Crikey Curtain Call, 18 March 2013

***1/2 (3.5 stars)
“Of all the ballets in The Australian Ballet's repertoire, Don Quixote is one of the most special”
“Its collection of robust showcase dancing, over-the-top character roles and Spanish-inspired group scenes backed by Ludwig Minkus's familiar score deliver all the dramatic and colourful hallmarks of good old-fashioned ballet”
“Highlights of opening night were the principal leads - Lana Jones as Kitri and Daniel Gaudiello as Basilio - who both injected their roles with appropriate amounts of punch and pathos and excelled as a tight and convincing duo”
“By Act III [Jones and Gaudiello’s] solos had real bite, technically and energetically”
“Gaudiello's attack of the notoriously difficult choreography was especially crisp, all the while maintaining a dashingly flirtatious air”
“Matthew Donnelly, as the garish Gamache, and Frank Leo, as Sancho Panza, milked their characters to the hilt, clearly revelling in the foppishness of it all”
Herald Sun, 20 March 2013

“Principal Artist Amber Scott was as close to flawless as a human being can get; a smart choice for the Queen of the Dryads”
“Corps de Ballet member Benedicte Bemet as Amor was a standout, exquisitely bird-like and cherubic”
“In the lead roles of Kitri and Basilio respectively, Principals Leanne Stojmenov and Ty King-Wall shone… it would be impossible to find fault with these two outstanding current artists”
“Coryphée Garry Stocks was hilarious as the ridiculously foppish Gamache”
“Soloist Brett Simon’s Don Quixote … really stole the show”
“Simon has a truly unique gift to convey both emotional depth and story. His interpretation of this rich and important character felt like his own”
“This year marks 75 years since Nureyev’s birth and 20 years since his untimely death. Don Quixote, with all its colour, flamboyance and happy energy is such a positive tribute to this magnificent artist”
Dance Informa, 22 March 2013

****(4 stars)
“Gaudiello is an obvious choice for the bravura role that Nureyev created for himself”
“it is greatly to [Lana Jones’] credit that she developed the personality to match her undoubted technique”
“Steven Heathcote's Don Quixote wanders vaguely and delightfully through his fantasy world with even greater poise and authority than he did last year with the Dancers Company”
“Amy Harris plays the sexy street dancer with relish”
“Matthew Donnelly found just the right balance as the outrageous Gamache”
“Amber Scott made an impact as the Queen of the Dryads; as did Laura Tong and Rudy Hawkes as the leading fandango couple”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 2013

Don Quixote is beguilingly charming. What’s not to like about thwarted young love, castanets, matadors, gypsies and guest artist Steven Heathcote returning as Don Quixote?”
“This is the first time real-life couple Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello have performed the roles of Kitri and Basilio together and there’s plenty of chemistry”
“[Lana Jones] is both delightfully fiery and sweetly teasing while being completely in command of her role”
“As Basilio, Gaudiello shows he’s quite a comic actor as well as being able to step into the shoes of a legend (Nureyev) and own the role”
“It’s hard to highlight individual performances in Don Quixote as the entire cast is tremendous, but Chengwu Guo as the gypsy boy, Amber Scott as the Queen of the Dryads and Reiko Hombo’s cheeky Amour shine in their roles”
On Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello: “[a] spellbinding grand pas de deux”
The Daily Telegraph, 9 April 2013

“a lovely excuse [to] revel in the delightful choreography of Rudolf Nureyev and showcase the impressive talents of The Australian Ballet's soloists”
“Chengwu Guo's whip-sharp moves are an early highlight”
“the ballet truly belongs to lovers Kitri and Basilio, played on opening night by Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello, who fling so much Spanish zest into their intertwinements on stage that it's no surprise they're a couple offstage, too”
“Jones' frisky fouettes capping off an impressive display of grace and precision”
Sun-Herald, 14 April 2013

“Nicolette Fraillon leads the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra in a characteristically confident way, lushly liberating all its sadness, heartrending sweetness and almost explosive, celebratory movements”
“[Steven Heathcote] treads the tragicomic fine line of his role with fine judgment”
“Gary Stocks is dramatically effective… as the hard-nosed innkeeper”
“[for Daniel Gaudiello] to virtually levitate the long-legged, willowy [Lana] Jones above him, while holding only one of her elbows, is almost a circus trick, or feat of outright illusion”
“[Don Quixote] is as if designed to disarm cynics, elate aficionados and win over those who thought ballet wasn’t for them”
“full of showy moves, lithe leaps (with perfect perpendicularity), bounds and lifts and tantalising tangos”
“notable performances included, but were not limited to, Ako Kondo and Reiko Hombo, as Kitri’s friends, who were delicate, as light on their feet as fairies … and, perhaps above all, the foppish abfabulousness of Matthew Donnelly”
“about the most fun a dancer or dance devotee can have with tights on”
“as light as a feather, in the best possible way, rendering heartfelt smiles and a lingering feeling that all’s well with the world”
Crikey Curtain Call, 17 April 2013

“Fabulously fun and fast-paced”
“it is easy to see why Don Quixote is one of the world’s favourite ballets”
“incredible sets, beautiful costumes, talented artists and an entertaining story”
“[Lana Jones] is the standout. Her perfect bourrée en couru… across the stage makes it appear as if she is gliding”
“The sheer pace and humour of Don Quixote is enough to make this a great ballet for first-timers: throw in that quintessentially romantic ballet scene and I promise you will be forever converted”, 17 April 2013



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