Coppelia Question #3: What do we do about Frantz?
Posted 16 May 2001 - 02:13 PM
Later productions made Franz male (the Danes did this instantly; they had plenty of male dancers and, although they liked breeches parts, too (witness the two little cadets in "Far From Denmark"), there seems to be an instinct there that chemistry is important, and cross-gender roles don't work dramatically. (The Danes call them "Franz" and "Svanilda.")
Even there, though, Frantz's character seems a bit thin, and not just because he literally has to sit out the second act. He's a nice guy, a little foolish (he falls in love with a doll, after all), curious, not especially law-abiding -- it seems as though there could be a lot of scope for imagination in that character, but generally, dancers don't get past the "nice guy" part.
Has anyone seen a Fran(t)z who did more than just be a cute, dumb guy?
Posted 17 May 2001 - 08:34 AM
Anyway, I haven't seen a Franz done any way other than a dumb cluck. It is hard to imagine how it could be done differently.
Posted 17 May 2001 - 09:49 AM
The Danes had one Franz who was a bully (Torben Jeppesen) rather than a sweet young thing, but I didn't see him.
Posted 17 May 2001 - 10:40 AM
Well, just *look* at the guy.....
He was charming, he was goofy, he was callow, he was sort of a rowdy with his friends, he was cheeky, he was a great show-off.......cute as all get-out with the megawatt smile and he was FABULOUS in the role.
Even the not-too-bright aspect wasn't too obvious.....one could get an idea just why Swanhilda was atttracted to him.
Posted 17 May 2001 - 11:28 AM
Originally posted by alexandra:
Frantz is ballet's first transsexual. He was born a girl (either because there were no men around, as the usual version goes, or because the girls-playing-breeches-parts was well-established by the time "Coppelia" rolled around and the audience liked this conceit).
I remember reading that one of the reasons why Franz was danced by a female dancer was that Eugenie Fiocre was a very pretty woman, and that she looked good in male clothes.
>Females continued to dance the role in >France until 1961, I believe, and I think I >read POB was reviving that version -- >perhaps for the School, not the company? >Estelle?
It was revived a few months ago for the POB school by Pierre Lacotte (by the way- it was filmed for the French TV). Lacotte had already staged a version for the POB in 1973, after Aveline's 1936 production (supposedly very close to the original one) but he had added a third act. For the POB school, he just staged the first two parts (with a male variation which had been added in 1983 when it was performed at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees). In 1996, Bart staged his own production for the company (I haven't seen it, but have read that it is quite different from the traditional one). It seems that now, Bart's production has replaced the traditional one.
The POB brochure also says that the last female dancer who danced the role of Frantz was Paulette Dynalix in 1950. The first male dancer who danced that role at the Paris Opera was Jean-Paul Andreani in 1951 (partnering Micheline Bardin).
Posted 17 May 2001 - 12:46 PM
Posted 21 May 2001 - 12:28 PM
Posted 21 May 2001 - 03:02 PM
Posted 21 May 2001 - 03:09 PM
Posted 21 May 2001 - 03:15 PM
Posted 21 May 2001 - 04:00 PM
Balarina, turning a ballet hero into a con or a cad is certainly well within the tradition How was Swanhilda played? Sweet girl, naughty girl, smart girl, or what?
Posted 21 May 2001 - 07:56 PM
The Barbie doll is a kind of popular version of this type of (sometimes obsessive) idealization. Just listen to people who collect Barbie dolls!
Posted 03 June 2001 - 06:28 AM
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