Don Quixote in Vilnius
Don Quixote in Vilnius
By Henning Høholt. Fotos: Martynas Aleksa.
VILNIUS/LITHUANIA: Don Quixote in Vilnius in the new production by Vasilij Medvedev, that we attended new years evening with a guesting world star couple, Osiel Gouneo, one of the greatest male star soloists in the world today, who manage to visit Vilnius for this new years evening galla performance in the middle of his huge success as Spartacus in the new Yuri Grigorovich production with the Bavarian Staats Ballet, Munich, and his beautiful and virtuose partner Nicoletta Manni from the La Scala ballet, Milano, is a great succes for the Lithuanian National ballet company, headed by Kryztof Pastor.
Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre presented the premiere of Ludwig Allis Minkus’ “Don Quixote”, – In the end of April 2016. Choreographer Vasilij Medvedev (Russia) after Marius Petipa, is presenting a developed Don Quixote version, including som music by Minkus that I am not yet familiar with, still since having enjoyed Don Quixote since Rudolf Nureyev and Patrick Dupont guested in the Basil role in Oslo in the 1983´.
This developed and in a way renewed version by Medvedev functions very well. It gives the opera and ballet house the possibility also in a wider scale to include students and children from the Ciurlionis Academy, in fact close to 30 young dancers, and they are being used well and given possibilities to show how good an education the get at the Ciurlionis academy. – Where the Director for the ballet part at Ciurlionis is Eligijus Butkus, who still also dances as soloist in the Lithuanian Nationalballet. This cooperation is fruitful for the both institutions.
The music director and conductor Martynas Staškus made the beautiful music to float wonderfully, well played by the Orchestra, and I was very pleased to notice how well his cooperation was with the dancers, even the two guesting stars only for this evening, to give them exactly the tempi they needed for their special parts. Set designer for the beautiful sets, and back carpets, which were extraordinary is Andrej Voitenko (Russia) – the only details about the set, was that a few times with very many participants on stage, the Stage could have been 5-8 meters wider. Jelena Zaitseva (Russia) is Costume designer for the very good detailed costumes, light designer Levas Kleinas.
The development of the Lithuanian National Ballet is good, during the leader ship of its “new” ballet chief Krystof Pastor, who some years ago took over the leadership after Tatjana Sedunova, who outstanding has been leading the ballet company for 19 years, (if I remember correct).
OSIEL GOUNEO and NICOLETTA MANNI.
The ballet company has now come so far that it is following and inviting world famouse star as for this New Years Evening Osiel Gouneo and Nicoletta Manni, and can give them a great background by all its own good soloists, corps des ballet and also the children.
Of course for two suck stars, it is not easily to visit Vilnius and only arriving the day before to get in to the production, but by good of stage support by the ballet staff and other dancers it worked well, thank to the profesionality from the guests.
Which only has been visiting Vilnius at a galla recently where they only presented the demanding Grand pas de deus from Don Quixote.
The two guesting world stars lifted the good performance to an extra niveau, that we only see at the worlds largest and most important stages. Their detailed dance cooperation together, Nicoletta Manni´s wonderful too tip work and pirouettes, was perfectly and virtuosely presented. Oriel Gouneo´s great high and long jumps and his deliciously way of doing pirouettes he has developed to a speciality of his, furthermore his great lifts of the ballerina, and his way of presenting her to the audience, does that they two as an ensemble are brilliant, and of high international class.
However Osiel Gouneo and Nicoletta Manni were not alone on stage. The stage was full of talents, from the very young and a little older students from dance department at the Ciurlionis academy, where 12 girls did a good job in the Dryads Garden, and in the fourth act where 12 couples had a long part.
Furthermore all the street boys and girls. who were entertaining every where at the squares. Well organized and inspired. See photos above.
THE CAST details:
We trusted in Ernest Barcaitis as the noble man Don Quixote, a role that he presented well, together with his Sancho Panza, funny and fully of dance and charm Andrius Žužžalkinas. The monologue was very good.
Kipras Clebinskas as Espada, the leading Toreador danced splendid as the leader f the group of 7 Toreadors, together with Mercedes, the beautiful street dancer – Greta Gylyté, In the first act we enjoyed the “normal” part for the Toreadors, that we know from other Marius Petipa, Rudolf Nureyev and Alexander Gorsky.
As for exemple, the knife dance for Mercedes, and the swinging with the bullfighter scarves. For me the pas de deus dances in the third part, when Mercedes is in the red dress, and in the last act were brilliant between Clebinskas and Gylyté.
Kitris two female friends was strongly taken care of by the two young ballerinas Karolina Matačinaitė and Gohar Mkrtchyan, And they were followed wonderful up with their two handsome and very well dancing Male friends – Miguel Lozano and Ignaz Armalis.
The Garden of Dryads was strongly developed to a much larger part than normal, with many extra parts, nearly as a small divertissement, that surrounded the usual parts, known from John Lanchberrys musically arrangement for Rudolf Nureyev.
In this again came in the 12 young girls from Ciurlionis, who did a great job, together with the 24 (25?) corps des ballet girls and the Queen of the Dryads – Eimantė Šeškutė.
Nearinga Česaitytė danced Amor for the first time. She did it very well, in some arm details she can be even sharper, as it lays all in the music. Her cooperation with the 12 mini Amors was good.
THE GYPSY SCENE:
This was not being so dangerous, as I am used to, but they had fun and danced well, and the small “marionette” part reminded me of the Nureyev version. In the leading roles we enjoyed Daria Olefirenko as the Gypsy girl, Daniel Dolan, was outstanding as the Young Gypsy boy.
The father of Kitri was well taken care of by Valerijus Fadejsevas, he has the comical talent to form this kind of figurs, and Lorenzo was Igoris Zaripovas. And in the comic star role as the rich man Gamache, who want to marry Kitri, we enjoyed David Santos.
6 ballerinas was involved in the Grand pas de deus between Kitri and Basil – Inga Cibulskytė, Neringa Česaitytė, Nailia Adigamova, Julija Turkina, Mel Bombardo, Vaida Šniurevičiūtė, who all didi a great job with a lot of stage presence, and as soloist of the Variation – Eimantė Šeškutė.
That the choreographer has made the last act nearly to a kind of a divertissement functioned very well, actually I was nearly feeling like watching a Napoli divertissement in Vaudeville style by August Bournonville.
And then before New Year 2017 firework, many from the audience, has ordered a diner in the Opera foyer, and others went out in the city, to clubs or home to celebrate with family, friends or alone after a wonderful Don Quixote. Unfortunately the programs was early sold out, so many left without as memory for an extraordinary memorable evening.
Cast of 31. December, 2016:
Don Quixote – Ernest Barcaitis,
Sancho Panza – Andrius Žužžalkinas,
Kitri – Nicoletta Manni,
Basilio – Osiel Gouneo,
Mercedes, street dancer – Greta Gylyté,
Espada – Kipras Clebinskas,
Queen of the Dryads – Eimantė Šeškutė,
Lorenzo – Igoris Zaripovas,
Gamache – David Santos,
Host of the cafe – Valerijus Fadejevas,
Amor – Neringa Česaitytė, (for the first time)
Kitris female friends – Karolina Matačinaitė, Gohar Mkrtchyan,
Male friends – Miguel Lozano, Ignas Armalis,
Gypsy girl – Daria Olefirenko,
Young Gypsy – Daniel Dolan,
Grand pas – Inga Cibulskytė, Neringa Česaitytė, Nailia Adigamova, Julija Turkina, Mel Bombardo, Vaida Šniurevičiūtė,
Soloist of the Variation – Eimantė Šeškutė,
Photos by Martynas Aleksa (LNOBT)