Coppelia – SODRE ballet (National ballet company o
Posted 09 June 2004 - 10:09 AM
Monday June 7 – 1930 PM
Principal dancers: Andrea Tio (Swanhilda) – Paulo Agiar (Franz)
This was the first performance by the SODRE company under their new artistic Director Rodolfo Lastra (from Argentina), and the first of the season. It was staged by the French ballet master James Amar (who staged “Napoli” for our national ballet last year). The ballet company changed venues this time: they moved from their customary theater to a newly built one. The new venue enhances the ensemble a great deal, though I noticed the floor was quite hard (I was later assured of this by one of the dancers)
The first thing that came to my mind was that the Artistic Direction took the plunge and risked casting corps dancers / apprentices in principal roles – Ms Andrea Tio is a tiny 19 year old apprentice with the company, who is unmistakably talented and gifted (she is recipient of a scholarship to study at Cannes – France). I must say that she would fully have lived up to the standards of the role, if it weren’t for her too frail physique, who makes her too small for the part . She still lacks enough stage presence for a prima ballerina role, but I trust she will improve this as she matures (I see in her a potential for a beautiful Giselle). She was given quite a lot of dancing, with very quick footwork, which she performed beautifully. I especially admired the clarity of her quick cabrioles derriere (in her entrance waltz). Her Franz matches her in height (he is very small also), but her stage presence is much grander – he does “fill” the stage with his dancing. Both acted their parts quite convincingly.
The 1st act Mazurka and Czardas were given a good performance by the ensemble. The friends were especially remarkable (they were also given quite a few pieces of tricky footwork). I must say that the Friends look too “big” in physique compared to their friend Swanhilda – I think that smaller dancers should have been chosen for Ms Tio’s Swanhilda, to match her.
The lighting was excellent, especially in the scene inside Dr Coppelius’s house: the stage was all bathed in delicate light blue, which enhanced the scary silhouettes of the toys.
I must say this version did not come up to my expectations, especially as Napoli had been so enjoyable to me. In my opinion, its basic flaw is that it is so much abridged as to omit the wedding festivities altogether– there was no Dawn, no Prayer, no Bell, no Waltz of the hours, no pas de deux. Instead, the ballet ended with a joyful scene immediately after Dr Coppelius finds himself deceived by the Swanhilda. Some years ago our national ballet danced a beautiful version as staged by Edgardo Hartley (from Chile), and I must say that the present version stands pale in comparison. That production was a complete- no abridged one. Also it was danced by our primas ballerinas, which gave the part its full significance.
There are also two other casts for this production, which I have not yet seen.
To sum up, I would say that this production is very fine for children (I strongly recommend parents to take their child to see it), but that for a professional company it should have been a complete one
Posted 09 June 2004 - 01:22 PM
I have to agree with you -- it's great to give very young dancers a chance, but it's also importance "to give the part its full significance." I think especially for children, so they get to see a ballerina.
Posted 09 June 2004 - 03:17 PM
Is it James Amar's own production (if I remember correctly, I saw him almost a decade ago when he danced with the Ballet du Rhin) or someone else's? Actually, Pierre Lacotte's "Coppélia", which was performed a few years ago by the POB school, also is a "short" version without a last act, and I found it a bit frustrating too. But they performed it in a double bill with another work after it.
Posted 22 June 2004 - 04:54 AM
I am sorry for my delay in replying - I did not have my stage bill with me, so I needed some time to check the information
The version was James Amar's one after Arthur Saint Leon's.
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