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Coppelia: Previews, Casting, Videos, Reviews, News1-10 June


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#1 Helene

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:07 PM

Coppelia opens next Friday, 1 June, and there is an additional, non-subscription performance on Saturday, 9 June at 2pm.

Casting has been posted for the first week-end. The three leads are:

Friday, 1 June 7:30pm
Swanhilde: Kaori Nakamura
Franz: Jonathan Porretta
Dr. Coppelius: Jeff Stanton

Saturday, 2 June 2:00pm
Swanhilde: Rachel Foster
Franz: Benjamin Griffiths
Dr. Coppelius: Peter Boal

Saturday, 2 June 7:30pm
Swanhilde: Lesley Rausch
Franz: Jerome Tisserand
Dr. Coppelius: William Lin-Yee

The Swanhilde/Franz pairings were three of the original 2010 couples, with Korbes/Orza and Vinson/Moore.

Attached File  Coppelia Casting.xls   54.5KB   14 downloads

From the press release:

SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet concludes its 2011-2012 Season with its beautiful production of Coppélia, George Balanchine’s classic comic ballet. PNB’s production of Coppélia,which premiered in 2010 with new sets and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi de Bagno,runs for eight performances only, from June 1to 10 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $28 and may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at pnb.org,or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer St.

Audiences and critics were captivated when the curtain rose on PNB's premiere of its exquisite, wisteria-hued production of George Balanchine's Coppélia in June of 2010: "The audience actually gasped when the curtain went up" (Journal Newspapers). Originally created in 1870, Balanchine and famous ballerina Alexandra Danilova drew on source material and memory for 1974's New York City Ballet version. The story, inseparable from Léo Delibes' superbly melodic score, is a lighthearted comedy about vivacious young Swanilda, her impetuous suitor Franz, and the eccentric toymaker Dr. Coppelius. Though Franz loves Swanilda, he is swept away by Coppélia, a life-sized doll whom he believes is real. When Swanilda steals into Dr. Coppelius' workshop and discovers the truth about Coppélia, she dresses up as her rival and amuses herself by tricking both toymaker and her lover. All ends well in the final act’s splendid wedding festivities, revised by Balanchine and enhanced by the addition of 24 "baby" ballerinas who frame ensemble and solo variations. Beautifully detailed by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno's lavish sets and costumes, this production is a complete delight for all ages. "Coppélia...demands repeat viewing" (CriticalDance.com).

Drawn from ballet's Romantic period and informed by a 19th-century fascination with mechanical toys, Coppélia is the tale of cheerful young lovers, Swanilda and Franz, whose courtship is briefly interrupted when Doctor Coppelius, the village's eccentric inventor, creates a doll so life-like that Franz becomes infatuated. When her suitor attempts a clandestine rendezvous, Swanilda evens the score by dressing as the doll and pretending to come to life. Ultimately, the pair is reconciled, and Act III's effervescent wedding-day festivities offer an array of spectacular dances.

Coppéliamarked the passing of ballet supremacy from France to Russia. Originally choreographed by Arthur St. Léon in Paris in 1870, it was restaged by Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg in 1884 and revised by Enrico Cecchetti in 1894. Little, if any, of St. Léon’s choreography remains in today’s production, although Acts I and II retain his ideas and the story of mischievous young lovers. Balanchine provided entirely new choreography for Act III.

Balanchine wrote, “In 1974, I decided we should stage Coppéliaat the New York City Ballet and asked the ballerina and teacher Alexandra Danilova, celebrated for many years for her Swanilda, to collaborate with me on the choreography. I remember very well performances by the Russian Imperial Ballet of Coppélia and as a member of the company danced in the mazurka.

“I have often said that Delibes is one of my favorite composers for dance. In our new Coppélia, we used the entire score of the three-act version. The first dance drama of really uniform excellence deserves no less! No part of the ballet is subordinate to any other; most important of all, ballet music in Coppéliaparticipates in the dance drama as never before, Delibes’ charming, melodic music assisting the plot and unifying the music and dance. Tchaikovsky was directly inspired by Delibes’ score to write his own ballet music. Delibes is the first great ballet composer; Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky are his successors.” [Program notes by Doug Fullington.]

SPECIAL EVENTS & OFFERS

FUN FOR FAMILIES
Special activities for children and families – including crafts and dance classes – begin one hour before all matinee performances. FREE for ticketholders.

GROUP SALES
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call 206.441.2416, email juliej@pnb.org or use PNB’s Online Group Builder at pnb.org.

$15 TICKETS FOR AGE 25 & UNDER
All Thursday and Friday performances: June 1, 7 and 8 at 7:30 pm
One ticket for $15 or two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for June 1, 7 and 8 performances only, is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid ID upon ticket retrieval.

TEEN TIX
PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit seattlecenter.com/teentix.

STUDENT AND SENIOR RUSH TICKETS
Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with current, valid ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.

FRIDAY PREVIEWS – SOLD OUT
Friday, May 18, 6:00 pm
The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle
Join us for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring PNB dancers rehearsing excerpts from Coppélia. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. (This event is SOLD OUT.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.

BALLET PREVIEW — FREE
Tuesday, May 29, 12:00 noon
Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle
Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about Coppélia, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.

PNB LECTURE SERIES & DRESS REHEARSAL
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall
Join PNB artistic director Peter Boal and Judith Fugate, stager and original cast member of Balanchine’s Coppélia, for an engaging discussionduring the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online at pnb.org or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.

Pre-Performance Lectures
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing Coppélia to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Post-Performance Q&A
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.

Listen to the Ballet!
PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of the world’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in to KING FM for an opening weekend performance of Coppélia on Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at king.org/listen.

#2 Helene

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:12 PM

15% off all performances of Coppelia holiday promo, until Monday, 28 May:
https://www.pnb.org/promo/holiday

#3 Helene

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:53 PM

Casting is up for Week 2; here are the principal couples:

Thursday, 7 June 7:30 pm:
Swanhilde: Lesley Rausch
Franz: Jerome Tisserand
Dr. Coppelius: William Lin-Yee

Friday, 8 June 7:30pm and
Sunday, 10 June 1pm
Swanhilde: Leta Biasucci
Franz: James Moore
Dr. Coppelius: Ezra Thomson

Saturday, 9 June 2pm
Swanhilde: Kaori Nakamura
Franz: Jonathan Porretta
Dr. Coppelius: Jeff Stanton

Saturday, 9 June 7:30pm
Swanhilde: Rachel Foster
Franz: Benjamin Griffiths
Dr. Coppelius: Peter Boal



James Moore returns as Franz. Two years ago, he partnered Mara Vinson in her last regular season performance in this ballet. This year, his Swanhilde is Leta Biasucci.

Here is a new video in which he talks about the role of Franz and comedy in the ballet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elBdcPCQGEQ

#4 sandik

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

I'm glad Biasucci is getting a chance at the role -- I wondered who Moore would dance with this time. And the tiny clip of Ezra T as Coppelius was very intriguing. I'm sorry I'm going to miss that.

#5 sandik

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 03:31 PM

Jeff Stanton was the dancer in the Friday night Q/A -- it was very nice to see him onstage again. He was asked what he’s been doing this year, and said he went to China after the end of the season last June, to work on a project with an Italian choreographer. Since then he’s been teaching, at PNB and Evergreen Ballet, both ballet and tap.

He said he felt much more in tune with Dr Coppelius this time around -- he hadn’t had much experience with character parts before he learned this role when PNB staged it in 2010 -- since then he's done Drosselmeyer, and said that the experience helped with Dr C.

Since both Boal and Stanton perform Dr Coppelius in this production, I asked what their perceptions were about the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd act -- at the end of the 2nd act, Dr C is almost a tragic figure, having his ideal “woman” exposed as a puppet and his feelings rejected, but at the beginning of act 3, when he enters with the marionette to claim justice, he’s given the same bag of coins as the rest of the young couples and he leaves without any other resolution. I know that Coppelia is at heart a comedy, and that the balance between tragedy and comedy is a subtle one here, but I’ve often thought of this moment like Alain’s resolution at the end of Ashton’s Fille -- he loses the girl but keeps the umbrella. Lise and Colas need to finish the ballet together, but for a moment we see Alain as something other than comic relief, and it adds a great dimension to the work. I think Balanchine lost a little opportunity in Coppelia, to do the same.

Both Stanton and Boal agreed that the real finale for Dr C is at the end of the second act, and that his appearance in act 3 is mostly vestigial.

Peter Boal was asked about the CW series Breaking Pointe, and said that they had approached PNB about participating, but that he said no. The impression I got was that he thought the reality show context was too harsh -- I was going to ask him to compare it to Steven Manes’ recent book about the company, but the discussion went in another direction.

#6 Helene

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 02:34 PM

After seeing "Breaking Pointe," I'm glad Boal declined.

I just found info from PNB about "Coppelia" in my inbox:

Peter Boal's Letter:


We have all so enjoyed watching our wonderful production of Coppélia come together again over the past several weeks. I hope you are able to see it at least once. Here are a few insider facts that may be of interest to you:

- 60 of our students appear in each performance, dancing the roles of brides, grooms, corps of war and discord, dolls, bells ringers, villagers, and our miniature corps de ballet.

- New York City Ballet has enjoyed a summer home in Saratoga Springs, New York, since the 1970s. Coppélia was created for this audience who loved more traditional offerings than their cosmopolitan neighbors to the south. When Coppélia was first presented in Saratoga, Patricia McBride and Helgi Tomasson danced eight performances in one week. They were the only cast.

- There are a few minor changes to PNB's production since it premiered two years ago. Swanilda has added two plate racks to her interior, the window of Dr. Coppelius' workshop now boast a view of neighboring buildings, and a layer of tulle has been removed from several of the tutus.

- PNB's efforts to perform Balanchine's Coppélia led to three additional companies performing the work: Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Dresden Semperoper Ballet. Judith Fugate staged the ballet for all three as well as for PNB.

- The inspiration for the Spinner costume was a John Galliano couture gown.

- Along the spines of the books in Dr. Coppelius's workshop are the names of 153 patrons of the production. Addition initials can be seen on the bells in act three: GB for George Balanchine and LD for Léo Delibes. The vanity mirror in Act II has AD for Alexandra Danilova. The two cushions the automatons sit on also boast a monogram: RL for Ralph Lauren.

- Poor Franz spends a long time passed out in the large book chair in Act II. Helgi Tomasson, NYCB’s original Franz, used to have a heating pad placed in the chair for cool evenings in Saratoga Springs. We’ve added a large backrest that looks like a book.



Doug Fullington's notes on the Act III Festival of the Bells:


In the original 1876 Paris production of Coppélia, the Act III festival to inaugurate the new town bell was celebrated by an elaborate divertissement in the form of an allegory of both a day in the village and the cycle of life.

The opening Waltz of the Hours was performed by the Hours of the Morning. Dawn then appeared, surrounded by flowers, and the Hours of the Morning danced around her. Prayer followed, blessing the new day and rising into the heavens. Dawn and the Hours of the Morning gave way to the Hours of the Day, who introduced Work: a spinner and harvest women. Hymen, bearing a torch, symbolized marriage and presided over a village wedding, accompanied by Cupid. Discord interrupted the scene, bringing with her War. The sky darkened with a fiery glow. Peace appeared, carrying an olive branch, and all became calm. After a solo for Swanilda, danced by 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi, the Hours of Evening and of Night were joined by two follies and Pleasure. The entire company danced the final Galop.

When Balanchine choreographed Act III of Coppélia in 1974, he left much of the allegorical divertissement intact. In a stroke of genius, he gave the roles of the Hours to 24 young girls from the School of American Ballet. Dawn, Prayer, and Spinner were solo roles, and Hymen was replaced by four Jesterettes. Discord and War was set as a romp for a principal couple with eight supporting couples in ancient military garb. Peace took the form of a pas de deux for Swanilda and Franz, with music from Delibes’ Sylvia incorporated to create a traditional pas de deux structure (adagio, male variation, female variation, coda), and the Galop concluded not only the divertissement but the entire ballet.


Q&A Participants (subject to change):

Friday 1-Jun eve:
Jeffrey Stanton

Saturday 2-Jun mat:
Margaret Mullin
Carli Samuelson

Saturday 2-Jun eve:
William Lin-Yee

Thursday 7-Jun eve:
Lesley Rausch
Jerome Tisserand

Friday 8-Jun eve:
Ezra Thomson

Saturday 9-Jun mat:
Kaori Nakamura
Jonathan Porretta

Saturday 9-Jun eve:
Rachel Foster
Benjamin Griffiths

Sunday 10-Jun mat:
Leta Biasucci
James Moore

#7 sandik

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 04:30 PM

"and a layer of tulle has been removed from several of the tutus."

Well, last night in the second act, there was some tulle hanging from Swanilda's skirt, which had apparently caught on one of Coppelius' buttons. Perhaps they thought they needed to do some additional tailoring?

#8 SandyMcKean

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:05 PM

Well, last night in the second act, there was some tulle hanging from Swanilda's skirt....


Which I found very distracting (as I'm sure others did too). It wasn't clear that Leslie Rausch knew that a piece of fabric was hanging there.....I became anxious that she might trip on it.

One disappointment.....I figured someone back stage certainly noticed the loose material and someone would have been dispatched ASAP into the curtained "room" that Swanilda retires to briefly so the offending material could be removed in those couple of minutes, but when Leslie re-appeared that damn piece of material was still hanging there.

#9 SandyMcKean

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:19 PM

One other comment.......

Congratulations to William Lin-Yee for his protrayal of Dr. Coppelius on Saturday night. He produced a very believable character with a wonderful mixture of comic foolishness and tragic victim-hood. William has a terrific sense of acting to go with his powerful style of dancing.

I expect this level of skill from the seasoned performers Jeffrey Stanton and Peter Boal, but did not expect such a terrific performance from a young dancer like William. I saw Jeffrey Friday night and he simply out-did himself....he was masterful in this role (a skill that William Lin-Yee freely acknowledged was an inspiration to him as he developed his version of the character). William also mentioned at the Q&A using his own grandfather as a model.

Now to see one of the dancers on my "short list" of new young dancers, Ezra Thomson, attempt this tricky role this coming Friday. Frankly, I'm going this 3rd time just to see this young man strut his stuff. IMHO, Ezra is loaded with talent!

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 07:23 PM

How's the War and Discorde divertissement...?

#11 Helene

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:32 PM

It's a very bizarre addition, with the men and women dressed as gladiators. According to Doug Fullington's notes from the seminar he gave in 2010 before the PNB premiere, it was in the 1870 original score.

Every time I see it, I think of "Springtime for Hitler," because it almost seems like a farce, especially after the four beautiful solos (Hours, Prayer, Dawn, Spinner) that precede it.

#12 sandik

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:07 AM

Every time I see it, I think of "Springtime for Hitler," because it almost seems like a farce, especially after the four beautiful solos (Hours, Prayer, Dawn, Spinner) that precede it.


Oh ouch! It reminds me of an old music hall number, especially the way they hold their spears almost like canes during the emboites at the end of the section. But Coppelia is full of cakewalking, especially in the 3rd act diverts.

The first time I saw D and W I was pretty dumbfounded, but I've gotten very fond of it. It's like a sudden rainstorm, that blows over and clears up quickly, leaving the air fresh.

#13 Helene

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:51 AM

It's like a storm and cleans everything up for the great wedding pas de deux. I don't know if this was in anyone's mind during its creation, but in my Italian home town it's considered good luck for there to be rain on one's wedding day.

#14 Jayne

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:44 AM

I also saw the 3rd performance on Saturday night. I don't have my program in front of me, so I'll try to do this from memory.

Jerome Tisserand made an excellent Franz, he doesn't have much air on his jumps, but he is so smooth and secure in them. He had a couple of centering issues on some spins, but his lifts made Swanhilde look light as a feather. He acts well, and has matinee idol good looks. The slicked back hair is a good look for him. While I think Kaori Nakamura is the best dance-actress at PNB (especially in soubrette roles) I looked forward to seeing Lesley Rausch, and she didn't disappoint. She had the pique, youth, and aplomb that makes the character so appealing. I liked, but didn't love William Yin-Lee as Dr. Coppelius. The character was a little one dimensional to me, Jeffrey Stanton is the gold standard in this role.

The costumes and sets continue to please the eye, and the little girl corps seemed better practiced this time around. The corps looked fine, but again, the acting in the 1st act was inconsistent - especially for the Hungarian dance - which needs smiling throughout. I know the cast had a large sprinkling of professional students, and there were a few standouts (unfortunately without my program in front of me, I cannot ID them, perhaps I will come back tonight and edit this post).

Leta Biasucci is a real steal from OBT. She is definitely on the soloist-track for 2013. And deservedly so. She played the best friend (who finds the key) and in the 3rd act leads one of the golden hours. Carrie Imler performed a lovely Prayer to great applause, Laura Gilbraith performed a servicable Prayer (I think the steps are somewhat unexciting after all that preceeds Prayer, so all dancers get a humdrum response from the audience), and Maria Chapman made Spinner stand out (of course That Dress is also an attention-getter).

Kiyon Gaines substituted for Bakhurold Bold as the lead in Discord & War with Lindsey Dec. I thought it was awkward at the debut, and still think it's strange, but it is a fun dance to watch. I had a 4th row seat, so facial expressions were very clear to me. D&W dancers seemed to shift from big smiles to stern looks throughout the performance. All steps were big, and looked imposing after the delicacy that came before it. IMHO, they should stick to stern (as D&W in real life isn't a happy occasion). Mr. Gaines' headdress kept falling back. I still think this is the best Halloween costume, ever.

The audience was involved, and seating was about 80-85% full. I heard a lot of Russian around me. I went to the discussion afterwards, but can't think of anything to add that hasn't already been stated on the boards.

After the 2nd act, my seatmates were talking about one dancer who looked startlingly gaunt. I much prefer the physiques of Carrie Imler and Leta Biasucci. The extra muscle that Ms. Imler and Ms. Biasucci carry allow them greater physical control, stronger jumps, cleaner steps, and more believably youthful faces.

#15 Helene

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:35 AM

The music for "War and Discord" has a bubbly, bouncy section to it, with matching upbeat choreography, and it would be hard to keep the stern face throughout that section.

The Dawn variation, which Imler danced, was choreographed originally for Merrill Ashley, and the Prayer variation, which Gilbreath danced, for Christine Redpath.

Getting Biasucci almost feels like stealing. She's scheduled to debut as Swanhilde this Friday, with a second performance this Sunday (matinee).


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