Orchestra Victoria

Don Quixote

The Australian Ballet

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Marcus Morelli
Photo Simon Eeles

Based on the iconic 1973 film.

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  • Melbourne

    15 - 25 March 2023

    State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne

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Marcus Morelli
Photo Simon Eeles

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Benedicte Bemet
Photo Simon Eeles

In a creative feat that will see ballet transposed from screen to stage, Don Quixote recreates Rudolf Nureyev and Robert Helpmann’s 1973 film in a wildly colourful, palpably textured stage spectacle. A tribute to the legacy of the legendary Russian dancer and director who was a guest of The Australian Ballet in the early 1970s, this production resembles a painting come to life, enriched by a Spanish-flavoured score by veteran 19th-century ballet composer Ludwig Minkus, and vibrant costumes and sets that immerse audiences in a sultry experience of classical ballet.

Don Quixote moves from a rowdy Barcelona port to the ethereal happenings of the Don’s dream, to the candle-lit finery of the wedding celebration. A spirited ballet bursting with humour, the story follows the barber Basilio, who wins the hand of his girlfriend Kitri with the help of the visionary knight.

No detail is left unexplored in this rendition of Don Quixote. Emphasising the integral role of the set in evoking the film’s seductive atmosphere, the stage brims with everything from flowers to candles, evoking the bustling streets of Spain.

From the ballet’s spectacular lifts in Act I, to rousing ensemble scenes and a glittering confection of tutus, Don Quixote is a multi-sensory feast that reminds us of ballet’s power in the historical creative canon.

The re-design and restoration of Don Quixote has been funded by The David Hallberg Fund, with support from The Barry Kay Fund.

Watch the trailer

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Benedicte Bemet
Photo Simon Eeles

The reinterpreted sets, brought from film to the stage, show why Nureyev’s version of Don Quixote is deeply embedded in the history of this company. There will be no denying the energy of bustling Spain through this new vision of a ballet beloved by audiences around the world.

David Hall­berg, Artis­tic Direc­tor of The Aus­tralian Ballet

“Orchestra Victoria certainly give the dancers a run for their money… the orchestra play with such suppleness and control, you almost will the curtain to stay down just so you can listen harder.”

Guardian Aus­tralia on Romeo and Juliet

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Benedicte Bemet
Photo Simon Eeles

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Marcus Morelli
Photo Simon Eeles

Production credits

Choreography Rudolf Nureyev
Music Ludwig Minkus arranged by John Lanchbery
Costume design Barry Kay
Set designs Richard Roberts, based on the original film designs by Barry Kay
Lighting design Jon Buswell
Guest Repetiteur Mark Kay

This new production of Don Quixote has been adapted for the stage from the 1973 film Don Quixote, which was produced by International Arts and The Australian Ballet.


With Orchestra Victoria