Synopsis: Don Quixote

July 5, 2006

Premiered in December of 1869 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
Original choreography by Marius Petipa
Music by Léon Minkus


Don Quixote, an eccentric gentleman, who has read many tales of chivalry and damsels in distress, fancies he is a knight. He dreams of Dulcinea, the beautiful lady whom he wishes to protect.

Sancho Panza, his bumbling servant, rushes in, interrupting the dream. Don Quixote, his thoughts on Dulcinea, declares Sancho Panza his squire. They depart in a quest for adventure.

At the Port

Kitri searches through the jubilant crowd for the boy she loves, Basilio, a handsome, but poor barber. Kitri’s father, the innkeeper Lorenzo, has planned for her to marry Gamache, a rich nobleman. Kitri finds that idea intolerable.

Don Quixote, with Sancho Panza, arrives and immediately spots Kitri. Believing he has found his Dulcinea, he asks Kitri to dance with him. To playfully annoy Basilio, Kitri dances with Don Quixote, as the handsome Basilio flirts with other girls.

The crowd continues to grow, which allows Kitri and Basilio to slip away unnoticed. Lorenzo and Gamache pursue them, followed by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.


Kitri and Basilio come upon a group of gypsies who welcome the couple into their camp and dance for them.

Don Quixote catches up to the fleeing couple, just as a play by the gypsies is about to begin. He believes the action in the play is real, and tries to rescue the heroine. He destroys the small stage in the process.

Don Quixote then turns his sights on the poor windmill. Believing it is a monster, he attacks it. His clothes get caught and he is flung high into the air.

The Kingdom of the Dryads

Recovering from his battle with the windmill, Don Quixote dreams that he is in the Kingdom of the Dryads.

In his dream, Kitri appears as Dulcinea who, along with the nymphs, show gratitude for his bravery.


Kitri and Basilio retreat to a tavern. It is not long before they are found by Lorenzo and Gamache followed by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Kitri tries to escape, but her father drags her to Gamache to receive the marriage blessing.

Basilio can stand it no longer; he pretends to stab himself in despair. Kitri, who is in on the trick, begs Don Quixote to persuade her father to grant Basilio's last wish – the marriage blessing. At Don Quixote's request, Lorenzo blesses the lovers.

In that moment, Basilio jumps to his feet. It is a miraculous recovery. Everyone celebrates.

Act IV

Don Quixote is the guest of honor at the wedding feast. The happy couple dances for Don Quixote who soon departs to find new adventures.

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