Who’s Who in Don Quixote
Meet the Knights, Lovers, and Toreadors of Ballet’s Most Stylish Rom-Com
With sparkling wit and show-stopping dancing, the ballet Don Quixote features a colorful cast of characters, some of whom have much more prominent roles in the ballet than Cervantes’ novel. Here’s a who’s who of the featured characters you will see onstage at the War Memorial Opera House Feb 26–Mar 6.
A dream-chasing, would-be knight who ventures out on the ultimate quest for love. Short on sleep and rich in grandiose ideas, he and his sidekick, Sancho Panza, travel near and far to defend virtue and punish all those who transgress the code of chivalry. The man knows how to make an entrance.
Favorite Things: Getting lost in a novel, saving the day, people who appreciate his visions
Least Favorite Thing: Windmills that look like giants
The playful and fun-loving innkeeper’s daughter is always at the center of attention. Whether it is her fancy footwork and fan tricks, or her stunning beauty, all the men in town clamor for her attention. Will she marry her longtime love Basilio, choose a life of luxury with the wealthy nobleman Gamache, or abandon them all for the chivalrous Don Quixote?
Favorite Things: Basilio, fans, block parties
Least Favorite Thing: Being told what to do
Don Quixote’s ideal woman, whose appearance in his dreams spurs his quest for love and helps him change his mind about helping the young lovers Kitri and Basilio.
Favorite Thing: Dancing in the moonlight with her
Least Favorite Thing: Nightmares
Kitri’s heart may be uncertain, but her father, Lorenzo’s is not. He would have his daughter marry Gamache and be treated like a princess. (It wouldn’t hurt his pockets much either!) His heart is in the right place, but will he see the error of his ways?
Favorite Things: His daughter, wealthy suitors
Least Favorite Thing: Meddlesome barbers
The town barber, he’s rich with charm, but not with money. Basilio captures Kitri’s heart with his dashing ways and witty personality. Though not her father’s first pick, Basilio’s love for beautiful Kitri is deep and true. He’s not bad on the Spanish guitar, either.
Favorite Thing: Playing the guitar
Least Favorite Thing: Arranged marriages
A rich and pompous nobleman with a penchant for purple velvet and big hair, and an eye for Kitri. Using his money to impress Kitri’s father, he’s won himself a marriage, but will he also be able to dissuade Kitri of her love for Basilio and win it for himself?
Favorite Things: Purple velvet and big hair
Least Favorite Thing: Not getting his way
Don Quixote’s would-be squire and consummate companion who is always getting himself into trouble. When he isn’t riding alongside Don Quixote on his faithful donkey, Johnny Appleseed, he is stealing hams, drinking wine, and being chased by angry townsfolk. Clearly this roly-roly sidekick isn’t aware of the townspeople’s “punishment by giant trampoline”!
Favorite Thing: Iberian ham
Least Favorite Thing: Camping
Mercedes & Espada
The legendary bullfighter Espada and his sultry partner Mercedes fire up the townspeople with an entourage of toreadors and dagger-wielding dances. Their cape whirling and fiery chemistry often make this dancing duo the talk of the town.
Favorite Thing: Dance with a splash of danger
Least Favorite Thing: When the party ends
The fairy of love, who only appears in their dreams. This spunky and energetic goddess flitters around the ether tethering together the heartstrings of young lovers. She is a little matchmaker with a big heart.
Favorite Thing: Watching two people fall in love
Least Favorite Thing: Lovers divided
Header image: Dores André and Norika Matsuyama in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote // © Erik Tomasson