Based on: Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote de la Mancha"
Don Quixote Summary & Roles
*Classical ballets have evolved over time, lending themselves to different interpretations as choreographers and directors create works that reflect their visions of the story. The following is intended to provide general information; for details on different versions, click on each of the Don Quixote performances below.
⊙ PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN DON QUIXOTE (in alphabetical order)
Basilio: Lover of Kitri
Don Quixote: A gentleman of La Mancha
Dulcinea: The love of Don Quixote
Gamache: Betrothed to Kitri
Kitri: Daughter to Lorenzo, Lover of Basilio
Lorenzo: An innkeeper, Father to Kitri
Sancho Panza: Squire to Don Quixote
⊙ DON QUIXOTE SYNOPSIS
PROLOGUE: DON QUIXOTE’S STUDY
Don Quixote has his nose in a book reading about bravery and ancient chivalry. But his mind drifts away, dreaming of his beloved Dulcinea (his ideal woman) being defended by a gallant knight. His reverie is interrupted by the flurried entrance of Sancho Panza who is being chased for having stolen a ham from the local market. This activity, morphed with the elements of his dream, leads a determined Don Quixote to take on Sancho as his squire on adventures as a knight errant all the while searching for Dulcinea.
ACT I, SCENE 1: A PLAZA IN BARCELONA
Despite Kitri and Basilio (a barber) professing their love for each other, her father Lorenzo – the inn keeper – does not wish for the couple to be together. Instead, he prefers Gamache and accepts when the nobleman asks for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Amidst this drama, Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante and Sancho on a donkey, enter the plaza and create a commotion.
Mistakenly, Don Quixote takes Lorenzo to be the lord of a castle and asks to be his servant, a request that the inn keeper does not deny. Also mistakenly, when Don Quixote lays eyes on Kitri, he believes her to be the Dulcinea he is on a search for. In the midst of a minuet attempted to woo her, Kitri slips away from the old man and escapes with Basilio. Lorenzo and Gamache as well as Don Quixote and Sancho follow in pursuit.
ACT II, SCENE 1: A GYPSY CAMP
The two pairs of pursuers arrive at a gypsy camp, but Kitri and Basilio have already left. Playing on Don Quixote’s desires, the gypsies trick him into believing that the chief is a king. A puppet show is presented during which Don Quixote believes the heroine to be Dulcinea and the marionettes as soldiers attacking her. True to his mission, he comes to her defense; this behavior scares away the gypsies.
ACT II, SCENE 2: THE WINDMILLS
Relishing in his victory, Don Quixote sees the moon and again thinks he has spotted Dulcinea. As he approaches, the windmills are now perceived as giants, so he takes to his spear to defend his love. This battle ends in defeat as the idealist gets caught in the blades of a windmill and falls to the ground. Sancho helps his injured knight, both then falling asleep.
ACT II, SCENE 3: THE DREAM
Don Quixote dreams that he is in a garden surrounded by beautiful dryads and maidens who are led by their Queen and Amor. Also present is his beloved Dulcinea and at the moment of uniting with her, the dreamer is woken.
ACT III, SCENE 1: THE PLAZA
Kitri and Basilio have avoided capture by her father and Gamache and are enjoying dancing with friends in the plaza. The pursuers then arrive, though, followed by Don Quixote and Sancho.
Annoyed by Lorenzo’s blessing for Kitri to marry Gamache, Basilio stabs himself professing his last dying wish to be married to Kitri. To their defense is Don Quixote, challenging Gamache to a fight; the latter refuses. The knight convinces Lorenzo to allow Kitri and Basilio to be together and upon the father’s consent, Basilio magically comes back to life and confesses that his suicide was just a joke.
ACT IV, SCENE 1: THE TAVERN
A wedding for Kitri and Basilio is held at Lorenzo’s tavern, Don Quixote being the guest of honor. At the end of the festivities, knight and squire head off to continue on their adventures.
★ INTERESTING FACT ★ The significance of DON QUIXOTE lives not only on ballet theatre stages and bookshelves around the globe, but in our vocabulary. “Quixotic” is an adjective born from the personality of the Man of La Mancha used to describe something that is incredibly ideal, essentially unrealistic and impractical.