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Coppelia DVD


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#1 Paquita

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Posted 11 November 2001 - 01:42 PM

I saw a Coppelia DVD at HMV the other day, from the Royal Ballet. It stars Carlos Acosta, but I'm not sure who else is in it. It's $50 CND, so I was wondering if anyone here has seen the DVD and whether or not it's worth it! Thanks so much!

#2 rg

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Posted 11 November 2001 - 11:14 PM

the british post-ers will doubtless be more informative and informed, but what i know of this video record is that dancing opposite acosta's frantz is leanne benjamin as swanilda (m. yoshida was scheduled, but indisposed due to illness or injury).

#3 lara

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Posted 12 November 2001 - 08:03 PM

Paquita,

What is HMV?????

#4 Paquita

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Posted 14 November 2001 - 12:44 PM

HMV is a music store, the main one in Canada, but they also have some international stores. I saw an HMV in Japan! Their website is: www.hmv.com they have a great classical section.

#5 rg

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Posted 14 November 2001 - 02:05 PM

HMV is also in NYC but i've never learned what the initials stand for?
His Master's Voice? (an old RCA/Victor slogan)
His/Her Majesty's Voice? (a guess)
none of these?
this from the same person who initially thought LOL was net-lingo for lots of love!
so, i suppose HMV could mean anything, or nothing.

#6 Jane Simpson

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Posted 16 November 2001 - 11:17 AM

It's His Master's Voice - the little dog listening to the gramophone was their trademark.

#7 sylvia

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Posted 16 November 2001 - 03:30 PM

Paquita, the cast of the RB Coppelia DVD includes

Swanhilda - Leanne Benjamin
Franz - Carlos Acosta
Dr Coppelius - Luke Heydon

Choreography by Ninette de Valois

I'm a little fuzzy on the other roles but I *think* Mara Galeazzi and Zenaida Yanowsky danced the Aurora and Prayer solos respectively. I remember Marianela Nunez, a very exciting first soloist as one of Swanhilda's friends but that's all.

It was recorded on 19/2/00 and there was another run of performances this July so there are plenty of reviews around. I saw it live for the first time this summer and was so delighted I went back to see it twice more. I think it's an extraordinarily beautiful ballet, very funny with some lovely choreography and the extensive mime fits the music to a T. Act II IMHO is a work of genius with the dolls and Swanhilda's impersonation is particularly magical to watch. The costumes are fun and colourful (bright red boots for Franz and an even brighter pink for Coppelia/Swanhilda!). The scenery has a wonderful and slightly surreal 'toyhouse' quality to it.

Admittedly there isn't a huge amount of dancing for resident himbo Franz to do but it's a lovely comedic role with lots of very hilarious mime. Acosta's pdd at the end is worth watching but the camera work detracts a bit from his great virtuosity.

Swanhilda's dancing on the otherhand is terrific to watch with some very spunky choreography in Act I and even better stuff in Act II. Leanne Benjamin stepped in to replace Miyako Yoshida and does a commendably feisty job. I remember a review describing her Swanhilda as complex - sensitive enough to be hurt by Franz's wayward flirting, but hard enough to enjoy humiliating Dr Coppelius.

Luke Heydon is one of my favourite character principals and his Coppelius is gently comedic. In spite of his mean spirit, his attempts to bring Coppelia to life and final realization that he did not is very touching.

The corps with their character dances have some very engaging choreography of their own.

I don't think the ballet came across particularly well on tv (of course ballets rarely do). It's not filmed too badly though a few of the camera angles are a little odd and cuts away on occasion from some details. The charm derives from the little things that catch the eye - the funny swishy 'bows' the men take, the way Swanhilda swings her foot up and down in time to pulling on Coppelia's dress... The camera catches some of these moments but misses others.

The DVD also includes a biography of Osbert Lanacaster (designer), an introduction by Deborah Bull (former principal) and a behind-the-scenes look at Convent Garden. The behind-the-scenes is very similar to the one on the Opening Celebration gala on video.

It's hard to decide if the DVD should be recommended. My thoughts are coloured by some very happy memories at ROH so I can't claim to be very objective. I bought the DVD after the performance so of course it was a bit of a let-down. But I'd encourage those who've never seen it (and may never see it onstage?) to have a look. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get some opinions from the http://www.ballet.co.uk posters as I'm sure a fair number have it on video.

[ November 16, 2001: Message edited by: sylvia ]



#8 Paquita

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Posted 16 November 2001 - 11:50 PM

Thank you Sylvia for all the details on the DVD, I think I might add it to my christmas list! And thank you Jane for letting me know what HMV stands for (after all this time I've been shopping there!).

#9 Birdsall

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:38 PM

I think the Royal Ballet's Coppelia with Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta is my favorite commercially available Coppelia. I think the Australian Ballet's Coppelia is better in some respects, but I somehow like the Royal Ballet's production a bit more. It is sort of clean and simple and cartoonish but in an artistic way. I just recently watched the Kirov's (now Mariinsky's) version and hated it!!! It has all new choreography and I would caution people. The sets and costumes on the Kirov video look like it takes place during the 18th century in a very large European city to me, whereas most productions look more 19th century Romantic Period and a small village. I am open to new choreography usually, but the Kirov's video is just not what most people would look for in a Coppelia, I don't think. The story is pretty much the same, but be prepared for totally different choreography than you are used to and not all that incredible either (in my opinion, the only reason to do all new choreography is to stun us with amazing leaps or what have you....).

Anyway, stay away from the Kirov Coppelia, if you prefer a traditional version. I think you can't go wrong with the Australian Ballet and the Royal Ballet versions. Both are great, in my opinion.


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