March 4, 2015

Don Quixote - Royal New Zealand Ballet

Last night’s dress rehearsal of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Don Quixote was a show stopper, literally. In my twenty years of being involved with dress rehearsals, either watching or on stage, I have have never witnessed a director actually stop the performance. Most directors treat it as a dry run for opening night; taking notes and, if necessary, restaging scenes after the final act. I like to think this is an indication of director Francesco Ventriglia’s wish for perfection for his first New Zealand production rather than a sign of unpreparedness.

A lot of the elements of the production were reused from the 2008 show including; set, costumes, dancers and, although I can’t be certain, choreography. The real scene stealer (as she was in the original production) was a little mechanical dog. I have it on good authority that at each performance last season an audience member enquired where they could get one.

The dancing, which after all is what you go to see, was beautiful, although there were often too many dancers hanging around the edges, that it was difficult to know where to focus. Twitter was brimming with appreciation for men who can dance attempting to show their ability to not dance.

Strange pauses between passages in the third act may have been due to earlier restaging of dances. The orchestra was excellent but subject to the exactness of the choreographer, and at times I felt they could’ve used a bit more volume. 

Don Quixote is director Francesco Ventriglia’s first show for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It opens tonight at St James Theatre. After a short season in Wellington the show will visit other cities (listed below).

Performances: 7:30pm 4-7 March, 1:30pm 7 March
Tickets: $35-145
Venue: St James Theatre
Other centres: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Palmerston North

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