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Home > Screenings > ABC Commercial > The Australian Ballet: Don Quixote

Producer: The Australian Ballet

Genres: Factual


Nureyev’s relationship with The Australian Ballet began with an acclaimed film adaptation in 1973 that put the company firmly on the global stage. In 2023, The Australian Ballet now brings the film to the stage in this lively new production.


When The Australian Ballet first staged Rudolf Nureyev’s production of Don Quixote in 1970, the Russian superstar appeared in the lead role of Basilio. Alongside Nureyev, in the role of the Don, was Australian stage legend Robert Helpmann. The duo subsequently worked together to bring the ballet to the silver screen.

Filmed with artists of The Australian Ballet over 25 days in an aeroplane hangar on Melbourne’s outskirts, Don Quixote put The Australian Ballet on the international map and remains one of the most successful dance films ever made.


A multi-sensory feast, this wildly colourful, palpably textured stage spectacle reminds us of ballet’s power in the historical creative canon.

Brimming with bravura dancing, unforgettable characters and the vivid energy of storybook Spain, Don Quixote will delight ballet stalwarts and newcomers alike.

For the 2023 production, Australian set designer Richard Roberts has translated the original film’s set designs by Barry Kay in faithful detail, capturing the charm of a vibrant Barcelona port and the Spanish countryside.

The brand-new replica sets were hand-crafted at The Australian Ballet’s Altona production centre, while Barry Kay’s ruffled and bejeweled costumes were brought to life by artisans at the company’s Melbourne atelier. In addition, a score by Ludwig Minkus, orchestrated by John Lanchbery, sets the vibrant pace and tone of the ballet.

“The reinterpreted sets and costumes, brought from film to the stage, show why Nureyev’s version of Don Quixote is deeply embedded in the history of this company. There is no denying the energy of bustling Spain is showcased through this new version of an eternally beloved ballet”
-David Hallberg, The Australian Ballet Artistic Director

Stars Australian Ballet Principal Artists Ako Kondo (born in Japan) and Chengwu Guo (born in China) – a dynamic couple both on-stage and off!