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What productions of "Coppelia" have you seen?


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#16 Joseph

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 08:59 PM

I saw a version performed by Boston Ballet. It must have been February of 1995, actually yes it was, it was Valentines Day! The choreo and production was by Enrique Martinez... (sp?) But I really enjoyed it! It had some great scenery and special effects.

I own the Vinogradof version and have mixed feelings on it.

#17 cricket

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 08:59 PM

My DD and I just watched the Austrialian Ballet version of Coppelia on VHS and thought it was very good. Lisa Pavane is a great actress as well as dancer and really did a great job as Swanilda.

#18 esperanto

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 11:14 PM

I also saw the Australian Ballet's Coppelia and was rather disappointed in it.
I don't remember who was dancing but it seemed "lack luster". The final pas de deux was not very special. Neither was the dancing (to the best of my recollection. It's been a few years, if that's the same one everyone's talking about )

#19 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 07:53 PM

As a child, I saw ABT do it in the early 70s, and the broadcast of the NYCB one. Later I shot a few performances of Ballet Chicago's production in the mid '90s, staged by the late Basil Thompson. It was a nice production, beautifully lit and it was the sort of the company's last Hurrah before disintegrating. The Swanhilda was well done by Meredith Benson. Her husband, was explaining to me how much he preferred the version she had danced with ?Cincinnati Ballet? which had been staged by Frederic Franklin. I would very much like to see the Franklin staging.

I took my young daughter to see - I think it was the Shanghai ballet - in a one night stand college tour type production... it was just awful. Perhaps this was because the scenery didn't fit on the college stage, but it was so very strange to see the choreography referring to Coppelia up on her balcony when in this production there was absolutely nothing there. Also, in the folk dances... instead of various stamping steps rebounding off the floor, the energy sank into the floor... something was lost in the cultural translation I think. I believe it had been set on the company by Lacotte? (sorry vague memory again, someone from Paris Opera at any rate). They were obviously trying to do everything "correctly" and somehow the sense of humor was entirely lost. Technically, though the dancers were beautiful, in a kind of Les Sylphides sort of way.

I know a lot of people don't care for this ballet, but I think it's a nice alternative to Nutcracker for introducing children to ballet... the story-line is easy enough for a child to follow, it's funny, the music is pretty and "dancey". Giselle and Swan Lake, are no more small child appropriate than Romeo & Juliet. I suppose Sleeping Beauty is good bet, but that's perhaps more difficult for small companies to pull off than Coppelia. Don Quixote has "dancey" music as well, but the story perhaps isn't as easy to follow as Coppelia. Coppelia is kind of light opera.

#20 Ari

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Posted 07 January 2005 - 05:12 AM

I took my young daughter to see - I think it was the Shanghai ballet - in a one night stand college tour type production... it was just awful.  Perhaps this was because the scenery didn't fit on the college stage, but it was so very strange to see the choreography referring to Coppelia up on her balcony when in this production there was absolutely nothing there.  Also, in the folk dances... instead of various stamping steps rebounding off the floor, the energy sank into the floor... something was lost in the cultural translation I think.  I believe it had been set on the company by Lacotte? (sorry vague memory again, someone from Paris Opera at any rate).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


This must have been the Lacotte version. I saw it on DVD with the school of the Paris Opera Ballet (first two acts only) and was also amazed by the omission of Coppelia from the first act. At first I wondered if she were really there but the camera just wasn't showing her, but when her little mime scene of blowing a kiss to Franz was omitted & the music given to something else, I knew she wasn't there. How is the audience to understand what's going on (if they don't already know the story . . . but even then . . . ). The whole thing seemed to me dramatically inept and unmusical, and makes me fear for Lacotte's staging of The Pharaoh's Daughter for the Bolshoi.

#21 Paul Parish

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Posted 07 January 2005 - 07:06 PM

THe Cuban ballet did Coppellia in Berkeley on a stage too small for them, in shoes that were SO loud you knew they must have had to bake them with glue in them - -well,m aybe not, the stage here IS hard -- but Lorna Feijoo was just enchanting as Swanhilda-- she was light, easy, her bossiness came naturally as a result of natural quickness, it reminded me of the guy in highschool two years ahead of me who was always telling everybody what to do -- but since he was so intuitive he knew already what everybody wanted to do, knew it before THEY did, -- he was just naturally hte leader of that group and totally loved by all...

She was fantastic, no matter how difficult the step, she was always in character....

But my favorite version is NYCB's (I only know the tape). McBride is simply a riot in the part. All her geekiness, those brittle cabrioles, who cares -- it fits the role completely, and she's SO willing to DO THE MIME -- sjhe's really enjoying it, trying to get Coppellia to come down from that balcony and dance with her, come play with us!! and then her parody of old Coppellius's walk, it's so juicy, so funny, and so accomplished, it stands up to the comic-elder walks that you see in the great Indonesian dance-theater epics, where tehy've really made a great art out of spavined gaits.

What puts it over the top for me, however, is Balanchine's character dances -- nothing tops his mazurka. The new stuff he added to the last act, esp Swanhilda's variation, with its flying assembles to pointe, is wonderful, but nothing tops his mazurka. I've showed it to a class of children who immediately made me stop the tape and started doing pas de bourrees on their heels and -- we had to study it and just turn them loose for a while, we're talking about 12 year-olds. And I was totally with them -- it is an enormously satisfying dance, to ENORMOUSLY satisfying music. It probably helped that the kids had already heard and danced to this music MANY times -- but hey, that's true of many ballet chestnuts, and they don't stop the show.

His czardas is pretty great, too.....

Choura, you've REALLY made me want to see Heidi Ryom at the center of that production... What I love about the Balanchinee/Danilova verion (which I guess is St Leon's at heart -- that's who's credited in the mason/balanchine stories of hte great ballets, though Merante did hte first version, st leon re-did it for St Petersburg, and Petipa re-did THAT) is that it's a character ballet. Martinez's version for ABT ,which I saw Gregory do, was a vehicle for virtuoso classical dancing, and though she was amazing, it's her hops on pointe while doing a 360 degree promenade and a continuous devellope from front through to arabesque that I recall, not a mythic creature who was like THE life force up against a mad scientist (and Swanilda is WOMAN against the machine, and of course she wins, cuz there's NOTHING stronger than swanilda)

But I sure wish I'd seen hte Danish version.... it sounds like a separate vision, and really wonderful....

#22 esperanto

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Posted 08 January 2005 - 09:30 AM

The whole thing seemed to me dramatically inept and unmusical, and makes me fear for Lacotte's staging of The Pharaoh's Daughter for the Bolshoi.

Dear Ari,

Don't worry. The Pharoh's Daughter was wonderfully done. It's lots of fun and superb dancing. I saw it on Mezzo, a French station devoted to "culture".

#23 Sonora

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 11:37 PM

I performed in Coppelia first as a young student and, although I loved dancing it, even then thought it was an unpleasant story in places and the score programmatic.

Ib Andersen just did a new Coppelia for Ballet Arizona, and I found it thoroughly enjoyable; apparently so did the audience. They seemed charmed by the mime and humor, the corniness of the story, and the pretty sets and costumes. Most impressive to my mind was the choreography for the corps in the first and third acts. Wonderful czardas and mazurka, delightfully musical and fresh. Lots of fine dancing by the men.

#24 Herman Stevens

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:49 AM

I performed in Coppelia first as a young student and, although I loved dancing it, even then thought it was an unpleasant story in places and the score programmatic.


Interesting you should feel this way. I think Coppelia is by far the most brilliant story ballet in that the plot stands up best and in some weird way it's a subversion of Sleeping Beauty before this ballet even existed.

The music, too, is stunning. The woodwind textures are beautiful and when I die I want to be the 1st horn in CoppÚlia.

Oh, and to stick to the topic, a couple months ago I saw the Hungarian State Ballet's version from the fifties, in which the 'mechanical music' was performed by a kind of robot dixieland orchestra and Swanhilda dresses up like the Spanish dancer to "seduce" Franz.

#25 MinkusPugni

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:00 AM

I think the best version of Coppelia I have seen is the Australian Ballet's one. Lisa Pavane is AWESOME at Swanhilda and the mime scene in the Second Act is the best I have seen - much better than the Kirov one :flowers: . It is certainly the best one I've seen. The Waltz of the Hours, Dawn and Prayer are the best bits!

#26 bart

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 08:56 AM

Thanks, MinkusPugni, for reviving this thread.

I saw the original Balanchine/Danilova revival in the mid 70s with Patricia McBride. I admired her enthsusiasm and was interested to see this old classic revived. But I think I was not young enough (not a kid) or old enough (not at that time concerned about re-vivifying the 19th century tradition) to care much for it.

I've seen it several times recently (over two seasons) in Miami City Ballet's performances of the Balanchine version. Beautifully danced by well-coached young dancers who fall into the spirit of the thing perfectly. But it still doesn't charm me. Act III has all the wonderfully dansant Balanchine additions, but I get distracted by all the other stuff going on (including the busy-ness of set and costume). Maybe the modern Balanchine -- with his typically simple staging and costume-less costumes -- spoiled me for it.

Act II goes against my grain, no matter how much I try to go with the flow of it. It's rather the way I feel when NPR gives time to a commentator who's introduced as a "humorist": the dogged effort to be cute and funny pours icy water over the true possibilities of comedy. For me, at least.

But, on the whole, I do agree with much of what Paul says:

But my favorite version is NYCB's (I only know the tape). McBride is simply a riot in the part. All her geekiness, those brittle cabrioles, who cares -- it fits the role completely, and she's SO willing to DO THE MIME -- she's really enjoying it, trying to get Coppellia to come down from that balcony and dance with her, come play with us!!
---
What puts it over the top for me, however, is Balanchine's character dances -- nothing tops his mazurka. The new stuff he added to the last act, esp Swanhilda's variation, with its flying assembles to pointe, is wonderful, but nothing tops his mazurka. I've showed it to a class of children who immediately made me stop the tape and started doing pas de bourrees on their heels and -- we had to study it andá just turn them loose for a while, we're talking about 12 year-olds. And I was totally with them -- it is an enormously satisfying dance, to ENORMOUSLY satisfying music.
---
His czardas is pretty great, too.....



#27 esperanto

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 11:41 AM

Alexandra:
IYou reminded me of just how wonderful the Danish Coppelia was that I saw back in the '60's when they first came to NY. Frantz was Frederik Bjornson Swanhilda was Inge S. (I've forgotten the spellings and the names) but it was really great


I don't remember writing this. but I agree with what's written.
the two best Coppelias I've seen were 1)the Royal Danes when they first came to NY and the ABT version many years later with Erik Bruhn and Carla fracci.

#28 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 04:05 PM

Live and countless times-(just as many as Giselle or SL)- I've only seen the Cuban version, which premiered back in 1957 in LA-(and later on staged for ABT by Enrique Martinez, who danced in that production)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmS2biyypuk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmbEkZi3IDs&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHKurDx_yQg&feature=related

#29 JMcN

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:54 AM

My first production of Coppelia was Ronald Hynd's for London Festival Ballet (now ENB)

Northern Ballet had a charming production set in a caravan by (I think) Robert de Warren

I saw a production at the Edinburgh Festival by an American Company with Rudolf Nureyev as Coppelius

The Royal Ballet's revival of their 1950s production

And ..... Sir Peter Wright's for BRB


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