DON QUIXOTE | Hong Kong, Cultural Centre

Photos courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

Asia’s premier ballet company is back on stage, reviving their joyful and uplifting 2014 adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ great novel, with renewed choreography by Nina Ananiashvili (after Petipa and Gorsky’s original). Compliments to the artistic director, Septime Webre, who in spite of all the recent difficulties over the past year, has taken the Hong Kong Ballet to a higher, more professional and more international level.

The lead dancers (Li Lin and Chen Zhiyao) are superb, with the female lead (Chen) particularly strong. The elevation and pirouettes of the second half really stand out. Although the corps de ballet scenes are also wonderfully staged, the solos and duets (pas de deux) are the highlights: the character dancing is outstanding, and the Spanish dance section is exceptionally beautiful.

It’s also worth mentioning the amazing City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, conducted by Judith Yan (another woman conductor!), who brings Minkus’ classic score alive. The sunny, Spanish production design (Thomas Mika) is also exquisite.

Although a classic of the repertoire, there’s no denying that this ballet lacks a bit of darkness — some lengthy miming scenes don’t really address the existentialism and troubling madness of the novel. Although the second half is strong, the first half sees one or two hiccups. But after nine months, all we take away is happiness.

Check out our article about Hong Kong Ballet’s 2020/2021 season.

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