While ballet is not my expertise, I have loved it from an early age(seeing Swan Lake when I was 6 in fact) and will see any production regardless of whether I'm familiar with it or not. Don Quichotte is not a ballet I am familiar with, and with seeing this production from the Paris Opera Ballet- whose DVD productions of Jewels and The Sleeping Beauty I loved- it is one I want to get more familiar with. Because this is a wonderful production and one that lifts up your spirits perfectly. The costumes and sets are pretty to look at, and the clever and professional video directing does nothing to indicate otherwise. The orchestral playing is not only stylish and playful but also lush and poignant. The conducting is brisk and incisive, giving the dancers time to breathe and characterise and allowing the viewer to get to know the story and characters. The choreography is a pleasing mix of amusing and heartfelt, nothing short of impeccable throughout, further helped by elegant and very intimate-looking dancing of it. Aurelie Dupont is radiant in every way possible, and Manuel Legris is dashing and dances with brio, whether he was in the autumn of his career or not is not apparent here. Jean-Guillaume Bart plays and dances Espada with characterful swagger, matched perfectly by the beautiful lines and appealing characterisation of Marie-Agnes Gillot. All in all, spirit-rousing and delightful. If you have a hard day of any sort, this is a perfect antidote. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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