"Don Quixote" is a cheerful and simpleminded show staged to the music of Ludwig Minkus. It very little resembles the original novel by Cervantes. This is the only one of the vintage classical ballets that was born at the Bolshoi Theatre. It was here on December 14, 1869 that Marius Petipa first staged it as a benefit event for the dancer Anna Sobeshchanskaya.
In the novel by Cervantes the figure of sad knight Don Quixote who travels the world to accomplish feats and do golden deeds is the foundation of the story. In the ballet version Don Quixote becomes a supporting character, while the store concentrates on the love store of Kitri and Basilio, who perform their parts at the city square. An experienced bandmaster, Ludwig Minkus was an excellent master of ballet art, he was called a ballet composer. His music, which bubbled like champagne, was pleasing to the ear and made people want to dance. Petipa picked up this effervescent mood embodying it in cheerful Spanish and Gypsy dances full of life and festivity.
Later "Don Quixote" confirmed the talent of the Moscow ballet's reformer Alexander Gorsky: his staging, done in 1900, became the declaration of being true to nature in ballet. Since then "Don Quixote" has repeatedly renewed, renovated and restored and a countless number of sideshows were added to it. Among the stars who shone in its performances were Ekaterina Geltser and Mikhail Mordkin, Olga Lepeshinskaya and Asaf Messerer, Maya Plisetskaya and Gennady Ledyakh, Ekaterina Maksimova and Vladimir Vasilyev, Natalia Bessmertnova and Mikhail Lavrovsky, Lyudmila Semenyaka and Alexander Godunov.