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  • Watch: Conductor Martin Yates – ‘I knew Don Quixote would be something exceptional’

Watch: Conductor Martin Yates – ‘I knew Don Quixote would be something exceptional’

The conductor introduces Ludwig Minkus, ‘one of the founding fathers of Russian ballet music’, through the music of Don Quixote.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

23 March 2015 at 1.17pm | Comment on this article

‘When Carlos [Acosta] asked me to work with him on Don Quixote, I was completely bowled over’, says Conductor Martin Yates. ‘I knew it would be something quite exceptional.’

Carlos Acosta’s production, his first full-length work for The Royal Ballet, had its world premiere in 2013, conducted and orchestrated by Martin. This summer, it will be performed by The Royal Ballet in the USA as part of the 2015 tour.

The ballet, inspired by Miguel de Cervantes classic novel, is set to music by Ludwig Minkus.

‘When it was written, Don Quixote was considered quite an achievement musically and dramatically as it was one of the first ballets to tell the story solely through the medium of dance’, explains Martin. ‘Minkus's music has a natural sort of enthusiasm, which appeals to me. It fits the subject matter perfectly, which is surprising given the haphazard way in which he composed!’

Minkus composed the music for more than twenty Russian ballets. His score for Don Quixote, cheerful, light-hearted and full of Spanish flair, is considered one of his most successful. Even so, it has been revised many times since its creation.

‘Minkus is just a footnote in musical history, but his music is amongst the most performed in all ballet and he is one of the founding fathers of Russian ballet music,’ continues Martin. ‘Even so, the score has been tinkered with by so many people – producers, choreographers, and even powerful dancers requesting a flashy variation or two.’ Find out more about the colour and contrast in Minkus’s score.

Don Quixote will have its US premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and runs 9–14 June. The ballet will also be performed at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, 18–21 June.

The Royal Ballet will also perform work by Wayne McGregorChristopher WheeldonLiam ScarlettFrederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. Find out more details of the 2015 tour.

Don Quixote is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from the ROH Shop. 

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

23 March 2015 at 1.17pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Ballet, by Carlos Acosta, Don Quixote, Ludwig Minkus, Martin Yates, Music, orchestration, Production, Royal Ballet, score, The Royal Ballet, tour, USA

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