The Vitamin of Joy

On December 14, the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre hosted the long-awaited premiere of Don Quixote, the fruit of the Leonid Yacobson Ballet team's inspiration-fuelled labours.

The tickets were sold out, and the auditorium was packed full with people, who eagerly responded with resounding applause not only to the popular scenes that this particular ballet abounds with, but to their beloved dancers' very entrance on-stage. Professional critics pointed out the principals' exquisite dance technique and the incredibly synced motions of corps de ballet, while also paying the choreographer Johan Kobborg his due for his outstanding contribution. Whereas the rest of the audience simply enjoyed the festive atmosphere that the creators of this new show, based on Marius Petipa's famous production, had managed to bring to life. Nor did they shy away from enthusiastically expressing their appreciation of the show's enchanting scenery, courtesy of the renowned set designer Jérôme Kaplan. The gorgeous backdrops, inspired by Gustave Doré's engravings, along with the exquisite colour schemes of the lavish costumes, painted life-like images of a sun-bathed Spanish celebration or the modest, slightly gloomy dwelling of Miguel de Cervantes. The public was also greatly impressed by the master work of Vincent Millet, the ballet's lighting designer. The true paragon of his talent was the vision scene, when the apparitions of fair maidens emerged out of the shimmering bluish mist, ghostly and enticing. Judging by the premiere's heartfelt reception by the public, which would not release the dancers from the curtain call for almost ten minutes, it was a resounding success. This aesthetically pleasing show, with its invigorating Spanish spirit, seemed to radiate purest light and kindness, turning into a real vitamin of joy that saved the people of St. Petersburg from the December blues.