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Coppelia: The Russian State Ballet of Siberia – Review

New Theatre Oxford

A review by Nicholas Newman

Coppelia, is a comic ballet originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes, with libretto by Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter. Nuitter’s libretto and mise-en-scène was based upon two stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann: Der Sandmann (The Sandman) and Die Puppe (The Doll). In Greek, κοπέλα (or κοπελιά in some dialects) means young woman. The ballet was originally premiered in May 1870 at the Imperial Opera Theatre in St Petersburg.

Last night, it was performed by the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia who are on a UK wide tour. In Oxford, in addition to performing Coppelia on Monday, they are due to perform Sleeping Beauty on Tuesday and Swan Lake on Wednesday. In Monday’s performance of Coppelia, Swanilda by Sayaka Takuda and Franz by Georgy Bolsunovsky.

Copyright: <a href="">maratr / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Dancers in ballet shoes

About Coppelia

The story centres on Swanilda and Franz who are engaged to be married, but Franz’s eye is taken by the sight of a beautiful girl sat reading on the balcony, at the home of toymaker Dr Coppelius. Franz gets the impression that the girl he sees seated at the balcony is a real human being. But in effect it is artificial creation created by toymaker Dr Coppelius.

However, Franz manages to resist enough to stay clear of Dr Coppelius clutches, and the opening scene reaches a conclusion as Swanilda and her friends find a key to the doctor’s house and let themselves in, unable to keep their inquisitiveness at bay, at the same time as Franz scales the walls, determined at last to meet Coppelia.

To find out more you need to see the rest of the ballet.

But several things are clear, the performances by The Russian State Ballet of Siberia and orchestra are what you would expect from a world-class team of professionals. I must say the lighting, costumes, choreography and music were a delight. I heartily recommend people to come and see the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia perform, it is well worth the effort.

About the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia

It was established in 1981, The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia, it has established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and unusual depth. Both the soloists and the corps de ballet have been highly praised by critics, and never fail to delight audiences with their breath-taking ability and dazzling costumes.

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