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POB DVD - P. Bart's COPPELIA w/ Gilbert-Heymann-Martinez


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#1 Natalia

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 10:07 AM

In addition to the Royal ASHTONS (incl. Patineurs) DVD, I received the new POB COPPELIA by P. Bart via a European Amazon.com store this past weekend. I wish that I could praise this one as much as I did the Ashtons. Alas, no.

While the French soloists and ensemble are quite good -- especially Dorothee Gilbert as Swanhilda -- this is a rather dark and disappointing production. I was especially miffed that this is yet another POB COPPELIA that ends with the toyshop act...so there's no wedding divertissements!

So now we have both the Lacotte and P. Bart versions of COPPELIA on DVD...but neither one of them contains Act III???!!!

Is it a 'French Tradition' to end this ballet with the toyshop scene?

#2 Birdsall

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:04 PM

I love Dorothee Gilbert, so I might buy this also, although Coppelia is not my favorite ballet. I have also heard it is practically a different ballet even though it calls itself Coppelia. Is this true? Supposedly music from other compositions by Delibes is used and the story is not the same as the traditional Coppelia.

So I am holding off. I might break down, b/c I am amazed by Gilbert's balance and overall ability/technique.

#3 Natalia

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 03:55 AM

Indeed, it is very different. The Dr. Coppelius character (Jose Martinez) is younger -- a middle-aged widower who lost his ballerina wife in a tragedy & seems to 'see her' in Swanhilda.

No Act III! Boo!!!

#4 EricHG31

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:13 AM

If Act III is dropped, doesn't that make for an awfully short ballet?

#5 Natalia

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:04 AM

Eric, it didn't seem as short as the other POB version that exists -- the Lacotte version (also in 2 acts) performed by the POB Ecole on DVD, perhaps because the Lacotte (after St Leon et al) is so much brighter, colorful and charming than the dark, dreary Bart.

#6 EricHG31

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 05:24 PM

That makes sense. After seeing, and loving, the Vickahrev reconstruction for the Bolshoi, I'm not sure I have any need to track this down, although a part of me is very curious about a "dark" Coppelia... (I know the original Hoffmann story is quite dark, but even less so than Nutcracker, I don't think the music can support that...)

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 05:30 PM

They cut the third act soon after its premiere back in 1870. They reduced the dancing because they thought there was too much dancing, a common complaint about Saint-Leon's choreography. I think they cut the whole act a few years later, after the Franco-Prussian War, when the opera house opened again, but I don't remember the exact date. They kept that version -- with Franz danced by a woman en travestie! -- until 1960. So maybe it's just their instinct that that act should go, as the story is over.

#8 EricHG31

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:11 PM

Did the Lacotte use a female Franz? I do get the impression (and this could be unfair), that by the time Coppelia premiered in Paris, ballet was seen there more as a divertissement, so a ninety minute ballet would probably be about as long as they wanted. Again, unfairly, I also assumed that was one reason more male roles were played en travestie--an excuse for the men in the audience to see more pretty women on stage. That's a view I think I read in some old ballet book way back when I was a kid, and has probably stuck with me ever since, although I admit I'm not sure how much truth there is to it.

#9 Natalia

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 04:58 AM

Eric, the Franz in the Lacotte-version DVD is Matthieu Ganio, a man.

What Alexandra mentions about POB cutting of the 3rd act early-on explains why the standard Western European version is only two acts. Having grown up with the Balanchine, I had assumed that the 'standard' version had 3 acts. (Still, I miss that beautiful music. Thank goodness that it is retained in Balanchine & in the Bolshoi Vikharev-after-Petipa & Ceccheti.)

#10 CHazell2

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:27 PM

Hi there, I also got this version of Coppelia. From the reviews above, it seems that this version is not very popular. I can see why it is unpopular but as I approached this with no preconceptions, I enjoyed this version and I would like to defend it. Here are my impressions of it.

This version is certainly dark, not like the Petipa version, but then so was the Hoffman tale, "The Sandman." It seems to me that Bart was trying to get back to the original tale which he succeeds in some aspects and not in others.

For instance, The Sandman opens with the main character who is called Nathaniel recollecting a horrible dream in which Dr Coppelius features. I think that Bart intended this ballet to be seen as perhaps a hallucinationary dream going through the character of Dr Coppelius' head, and in fact in the documentary that was also on the DVD, words are mentioned to this fact, also we see that the character, which is played by Jose Martinez smoking opium, which in itself lends credence to this theory. Also there is a bit of Freudian psychology going on, as Dr Coppelius and Spalanzani, while separate characters - are clearly reflecting two aspects of the same man's personality.

In my opinion, I think that just before the ballet opens, Dr Coppelius has just lost his wife and he is still grieving for her. In his grief, he becomes obsessed with Swanilda and the ballet then follows its usual story.

For my part, I thought that the ending was a bit too abrupt and the fate of Dr Coppelius was never established. However, this may be because the story is only a subjective description of the proceedings from Coppelius's point of view which, due to enormous psychological problems, may not be an objective view of reality, or possibly also partially objectively portrayed. Bart consciously leaves the viewer unsure of this.

The ballet is very well danced and the acting is wonderful. I think that there is room for different choreographical versions of the same story. I love Coppelia in its original form and I love the Act 3 music, but I also think that we should be open minded toward different versions of the same story as I think that each version gives us an insight into the story and makes us think about different things. Believe it or not, the ballet is faithful to the original story in that the wheat is included and also the butterfly scene.

It is also quite funny in places, e.g. when Swanilda is copying the automatons, she knocks Spalanzani to the ground, and the relationship between her and Franz is very realistic. you can clearly see that they care for each other, which you don't always.

I think that Patrice Bart did a good job with this version, and I think that although Coppelia as we know it is fun and happy and filled of lots and lots of lovely music, the story behind it can be construed as being a very dark story and I think that Patrice Bart has tapped into that darkness superbly.

#11 esperanto

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 10:10 AM

The Roland Petit version doesn't have Act III either. It's a very interesting version. Petit does some wonderful dancing in it, especially with the doll.

#12 esperanto

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:14 AM

any anyone seen the Charles Jude version? It's more MGM musical films of WWII. Gene Kelly's On the Town comes to mind.
It's still Coppelia and yet not.

#13 balletsq

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:57 AM

I also have this one and actually loves it.
I know beforehead it is not traditional coppelia, and fully knew it is very different.
I hesitated to buy it for a while and watched a cilp of it from Youtube and impressed Dorothee Gilbert's dance and ordered it.
Lovely dancing and interesting plots.

By the way, I'm still searching good traditional version of Coppelia..
Can anybody recommend a traditional version of Coppelia DVD ( or Blu ray)?

#14 Birdsall

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:21 PM

I also have this one and actually loves it.
I know beforehead it is not traditional coppelia, and fully knew it is very different.
I hesitated to buy it for a while and watched a cilp of it from Youtube and impressed Dorothee Gilbert's dance and ordered it.
Lovely dancing and interesting plots.

By the way, I'm still searching good traditional version of Coppelia..
Can anybody recommend a traditional version of Coppelia DVD ( or Blu ray)?



Dorothee Gilbert is amazing in most things, especially her balance!!!

I like the Australian Ballet's Coppelia and the Covent Garden (Acosta and Benjamin).

#15 esperanto

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:32 AM

The Bolshoi restored production with either Alexandrova or Osipova is excellent


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