“The Knight of the Sad Face” and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, are mixed up in the wild love affairs of the stunning Kitri and the seductive Basilio in a richly colourful, humorous and virtuoso ballet. Marius Petipa’s Don Quichotte premiered in Moscow in 1869 with music by Ludwig Minkus and met with resounding success from the start. The novelty lay within its break from the supernatural universe of romantic ballet. Written as if it were a play for the theatre, the work had realistic heroes and a solidly structured plot and scenes. The libretto and the choreography were handed down without interruption in Russia, but Petipa’s version remained unknown in the west for a long time. In 1981, Rudolf Nureyev introduced his own version of the work into the Paris Opera’s repertoire. While retaining the great classical pages and the strong, fiery dances, the choreographer gave greater emphasis to the comic dimension contriving a particularly lively and light-hearted production. In 2002, Alexander Beliaev and Elena Rivkina were invited to create new sets and costumes specially for the Opera Bastille. Drawing their inspiration from paintings by Goya, they unfold a series of magnificent scenes lit up by the warm Spanish colours of the costumes and the iridescent tutus of the magical world of the dryads.