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I'm posting this on behalf of Paul Parish:

A friend who teaches dance history is puzzled by this intriguing picture and wants to know who they are, who did the costumes, even what's the ballet?

To me it looks like the ballerina's legs look modern, but the style of everything else looks like hte Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Coppellius, if it's Coppellius, looks a lot like Balanchine.-- or Eric Bruhn.

What do you all think?

Does anyone know?

Thank you, Paul.


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i have this photocard.

just laid hands on it.

no date, but it's captioned:

Elaine Fifield and David Poole, COPPELIA Act 2

the NYPL has a listing for photo, which seems to be from the era, with the following info.:

Fifield, Elaine / Photograph, no credit given.

In Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet production of Coppélia. Costume designed by Loudan Sainthill.

Coppélia (Choreographic work : Sergeev, N after Cecchetti, Ivanov and Petipa, M)

further info from NYPL on the production:


Chor: Ninette de Valois and Nikolai Sergeev after Cecchetti, Ivanov and Petipa; mus: Léo Delibes; lib: Charles Truinet and Arthur Saint-Léon; scen: Osbert Lancaster. First perf: London, Covent Garden, March 2, 1954, Sadler's Wells Ballet (Company).//First U.S. perf: New York, Metropolitan Opera House, Sept 21, 1955, Sadler's Wells Ballet (Company).//Revived: England: Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Jan 16, 1956, Sadler's Wells Ballet (Company); scen and cos: Robert Medley.//First perf. by Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet (Company): Southend-on-Sea, Odeon Theatre, Jan 30, 1956; scen and cos: Robert Medley.

hard to say which costume this might be - if it's a performance photo it would likely be Medley's work - unless NYPL knows something in particular about Fifield's costume. Interestingly the NYPL photo doesn't give de Valois among the staging credits.

it seems safe to say, however, that the photocard of Fifield and Poole dates from the 1950s.

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thanks, Jane.

i defer to you in these matters without hesitation.

here then is the NYPL entry on the production you note:

Coppélia: Sergeev's production of Coppélia is known to be taken from his notes on the original choreography by Petipa. Some sources cite Ivanov and Cecchetti reconstructions of Petipa's work as the basis for Sergeev's version. Chor: Nikolai Sergeev after Cecchetti, Ivanov and Petipa; mus: Léo Delibes; lib: Charles Truinet and Arthur Saint-Léon; scen & cos: Edwin Calligan. First perf: London, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Mar 21, 1933, Vic-Wells Ballet; last act was omitted from this production.//First perf: by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo: London, Covent Garden, Sept. 1938; scen and cos: Pierre Roy.//First U.S. perf: New York, Metropolitan Opera House, Oct 17, 1938, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.//Revived: London, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Apr 15, 1940, Sadler's Wells Ballet; scen and cos: William Chappell.//First perf by Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet (Company): London, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Sept 4, 1951; scen: Loudon Sainthill.

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Definitely confirmed as that production - I found the same photo accompanying a review of the first cast - though, oddly, it was printed the other way round.

Interesting that the review (by Clive Barnes) says that David Poole as Dr Coppelius 'has gone back to Hoffman rather than to Helpmann, and decided to cut out the buffoonery and make our flesh creep'.

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