Mathilde Froustey in Tomasson/Possokhov's Don Quixote // © Erik Tomasson

Kaleidoscopic Spectacle: “Don Quixote” is a Story Ballet to Cherish

San Francisco Ballet will open Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson and Choreographer-in-Residence Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote on February 26.

With performances at the War Memorial Opera House through March 6, Don Quixote is inspired by Cervantes’ literary masterpiece and features an elaborate production and 152 roles. With a host of dynamic characters, including Don Quixote and his live horse, Rocinante; Sancho Panza, the loveable squire, and his donkey; the flirtatious Kitri; the barber Basilio, and many more, Don Quixote is a kaleidoscopic spectacle for all ages and a rare comedy in the classical repertory.

Don Quixote marks the first of two evening-length story ballets in the 2022 Season, which is Tomasson’s 37th and final season as Artistic Director. Said Tomasson: “When Yuri and I re-staged Don Quixote nearly 20 years ago, we created a fun piece in the spirit of the original work.

For my final season at SF Ballet, we’re bringing this classic back with great intention. Laughter in ballet is a rare gift, and joy is especially meaningful for our audiences today.”

Don Quixote also includes one of the most well-known dances in the repertory: the Act III pas de deux between lovers Kitri and Basilio, as well as the notoriously challenging “Kitri jump.” In 2012, SF Ballet unveiled new Don Quixote sets and costumes by Tony Award-winner Martin Pakledinaz. Don Quixote’s score by Ludwig Minkus, composed for Marius Petipa’s original choreography from 1869, includes tambourines and guitars and delightfully hummable melodies.