Act I, Scene I
In Don Quixote’s study, his niece Joanna is talking to Carasco, his servant. They are worried about the Don, who is slowly but surely being driven mad by all his reading. They therefore decide to hide the Don’s books.
Meanwhile, Don Quixote comes into the study, totally absorbed in his umpteenth novel about knights in armor. He identifies with the knights who roamed the world long before his time and fought for a lady’s honor at tournaments. He discovers that his books have disappeared, which he believes to be the work of an angry archenemy. In his imagination, he wages battle against this enemy. There, he sees the beautiful Dulcinea, who is held captive by monsters and is crying for help. Don Quixote imagines rescuing her.
Suddenly, the household is startled by a loud noise. It is coming from a group of women chasing a yokel who has stolen a cockerel from them at the market. The irritated Don doesn’t understand what they want and sends them away. Then he discovers the thief, Sancho Panza, who has crawled in through the window during his escape. In Sancho Panza, the Don sees the squire he needs so badly as a prospective knight errant. And together, the “knight” and his squire set off into the wide world.
Act I, Scene II
A huge crowd is milling around on a square in Barcelona. Kitri, the daughter of the innkeeper Lorenzo, is having fun with her friends, Juanita and Piccilia, and flirting with the young barber Basilio. The couple is in love, but Kitri’s father won’t hear of their marriage. He wants his daughter to marry a rich suitor, the rather ridiculous Gamache, who lives opposite the inn. But Kitri ignores his advances and, to her father’s fury, haughtily rejects him.
As it is a public holiday, there are performances on the square. First comes Mercedes, a street dancer, followed by a group of bullfighters, including the famous torero Espada, who swing their capes and dance bullfighting scenes. Then two strange-looking characters arrive: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. While the latter is teased and taunted by the women on the square, Don Quixote is overwhelmed by the beauty of Kitri, in whom he recognizes his dream woman Dulcinea. To make Basilio jealous, she plays up to the Don’s advances. But when the square erupts in commotion because Sancho Panza has stolen food again, she and Basilio seize their chance to escape together, hotly pursued by Lorenzo and Gamache.
Don Quixote at Pacific Northwest Ballet
February 3-12, 2012 at McCaw Hall
TICKETS: 206.441.2424 or http://www.pnb.org/
Featured photo: Principal dancer Batkhurel Bold with Company dancers, photo © Angela Sterling.