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Has the Bolshoi done Coppelia?


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#1 Ostrich

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 12:37 PM

Has the Bolshoi ever staged Coppelia? I suspect the answer is no, and in that case I wonder why not. Is it considered too trivial, too easy, not suitable for the Bolshoi style?

I know the Kirov did a version of Coppelia once - I saw it on video and it was an odd, altered version. Did they ever dance the original version?

Edited by Ostrich, 01 August 2004 - 01:06 PM.


#2 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:36 AM

The answer is, yes, Ostrich: the Bolshoi had a 3-act "Coppelia" (staged by Alexander Gorsky, later revised by Radunsky and others), although I don't think it's currently in the repertory any longer. It also has been a favourite ballet for the Bolshoi School performances, and pas de deux from the ballet are danced in concert programs.

The Kirov version you saw was by former director Oleg Vinogradov. The Kirov had a version of "Coppelia" staged by Petipa in the 1880s and performed until the late 1920s. Vinogradov brought the ballet back into the repertory in 1993, yet his version originally staged at the Maly Theatre was anything but a success and is no longer performed by the Kirov now.

#3 Herman Stevens

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 01:30 AM

Kirov Coppelía

Perhaps it's just another example of my invariably bad taste but that Vinogradov Copellía is not completely without merit IMO.

The Mazurka is just the plain old Mazurka, and you can trust the Kirov to get it right - compare the Mazurka in the otherwise impeccable Royal Ballet Coppelía (also on dvd) and the Kirov is really exciting and colorful.

The Scottish, Spanish etc dances are rather good fun, with Swanilda and her girlfriends learning the steps 'on the spot'. The insurmountible downside of this production is of course the 3d act has been demolished. The 'Prayer' music is used for another Swanilda - Franz confrontation etc.

However, to try and emphasize Swanilda's inherent bossiness and to bring out the sit-com character of the plot (all those beer steins!) is not an irredeemable sin, as long as you're not pretending to stage a masterwork for all times.

I suspect it could have been a rather successful matinee show. Kids love this kind of stuff. Whatever happened to the girl who does Swanilda in the dvd, Marc?

Herman

#4 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 02:01 AM

Kirov Coppelía

Whatever happened to the girl who does Swanilda in the dvd, Marc?

Irina Shapchits, you mean, Herman? She and her husband Zavialov (who dances Franz on the DVD) left the Kirov in 1995. She now dances with the Peter Schaufuss company in Denmark. You can find an interview with Irina Shapchits (or Zavialova) on For Ballet Lovers Only.

#5 Herman Stevens

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 02:51 AM

Thanks, Marc. So I guess you like her too; you just saw her in better stuff than the funny Coppelía.

Perhaps I'm misreading, but it sounds like another horror story from a Kirov reject. Perhaps she had the same kind of problems with Vinogradov as Lezhnina had? (Larrissa's husband is one of the beer drinking boys in the Coppelía dvd.)

No offense, but it's heartbreaking this vibrant dancer had to go the Flanders, and to Bonn.

#6 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 03:53 AM

I agree, Herman. Irina Shapchits was an outstanding ballerina - London balletomanes are still talking about her performances with the Kirov in the early 90s. And yes, it is a horror story about talent going down the drain etc. Unlike Larissa Lezhnina, the Zavialova's never found that company which knew how to exploit their talent properly. Bonn was a dump and so was the RB of Flanders which only used her as a demi-soloist.

#7 Ostrich

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for that information. I remember now that I have in fact seen video excerpts of Coppelia danced by the Bolshoi Ballet School. I just never saw any picture or video clip of the Bolshoi company itself in Coppelia, so I wondered whether they had ever done it.

Herman Stevens, I also liked the Vinogradov version of Coppelia in parts, especially, as you mentioned, the dolls. By the way, what is the first act like? The video I saw (it wasn't my own) only started in Dr. Coppelius's workshop. I don't like the production well enough to buy it specially, but I would be interested to know whether the beginning was also changed a lot.

#8 Herman Stevens

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 01:56 PM

Well, Vinogradov's first act is a kind of speeded up version of the regular first act, with franz's beer buddies using the variations music for their serenade to Coppelía standing on the balcony.

I checked a couple of numbers yesterday, still angry and sad over the Shapchits story, and there is an awful lot of bad choreography in this version, in the sense that 75 % of the steps are going nowhere - they're just steps.

It's too bad there is no other footage of Shapchits.

#9 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 07:26 AM

Re Shapchits, I heard last week that she decided to quit dancing, being fed up with it all. A rather unglorious end for her career, I must say.


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