The Australian Ballet has a lot to celebrate, with the company entering its 60th anniversary season, kicking off with its magnificent production of Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote. The refreshed production is based on Rudolf Nureyev and Robert Helpmann’s genre-defining film which premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 1973. 

Last night’s opening of Don Quixote had the audience enraptured from start to finish. It was clear the production upheld its proud tradition, with the audience laughing at the bawdy slapstick weaved throughout the story while also being captivated by the exquisite pas de deux performed by the two quarrelsome lovers, Kitri and Basilio. 

Don Quixote Australian Ballet
Marcus Morelli as Basilio and Benedicte Bemet as Kitri. Photo: Rainee Lantry.

It’s hard not to fall in love with the mesmerising chemistry between Kitri and Basilio (or perhaps we should say between Benedicte and Marcus). This is what watching poetry in motion must be like. Benedicte Bemet (Kitri), whose repertoire highlights include Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and Clara in Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker, is simply spectacular while Marcus Morelli (Basilio), who was promoted to senior artist after the 2018 season of Spartacus, is just as incredible. 

Bemet sparkled like a fairytale heroine, seemingly weightless as she entranced Morelli and the audience with the effortless precision of her movements. As for Morelli, he was in turns playful, dashing, passionate and impertinent – the quintessential romantic hero who made the audience gasp with amazement and holler with delight as he combined an extraordinary athleticism with a fine artistic expression.

For those new to ballet, the Australian Ballet’s Don Quixote should be high on your list. Humorous, colourful, energetic and highly entertaining, Don Quixote is playful and easily appeals to those aged 9 – 99 years old. Set in Spain, the audience is treated to three acts of high-energy dancing – an infectious mash-up of sorts – with stamping toreadors waving around their colourful capes to street dancers borrowing moves from the flamenco, diving into the arms of men. And yes, it’s true. There is a show-stopping horse, cleverly designed and puppeteered to look like the real deal. 

Don Quixote Australian Ballet
Act II, Scene 2: Dulcinea’s Garden. Photo: Rainee Lantry.

If it’s more the traditional ballet that you are seeking with exquisite displays of gilded ballerinas and glittering, pristine tutus, Don Quixote also offers audiences this delicious experience in Act II, Scene 2: Dulcinea’s Garden, transporting the audience to a place of serenity and beauty. 

Supported by the phenomenal Opera Australia Orchestra, Don Quixote is the perfect night out to lose yourself in the magic of The Australian Ballet. But don’t leave it too long. Don Quixote only runs for two weeks and must close on Tuesday 25 April 2023. 

  • When: Saturday 8th April to Tuesday 25th April
  • Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
  • Book your tickets here. Tickets start at $52 with under 30’s tickets from $46.