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Birmingham Royal Ballet - Coppelia - Sunderland, April 2018

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Birmingham Royal Ballet gave 4 performances of Coppelia in Sunderland and I was very happy to be there.  I saw 3 of the performances and I have to say that they all sparkled!


SPW's production of Coppelia is just gorgeous with its sumptuous sets and costumes and its attention to detail.


On Thursday evening Miki Mizutani was just sublime as Swanilda with Tzu-Chao Chou as her "cheeky chappy" Franz.  Her dancing was glorious and her depth of characterisation was beautiful to watch.  The role of Franz fits Tzu-Chao like a glove.  The incomparable Michael O'Hare gave a performance full of fun and pathos as Dr Coppelius.


Friday afternoon was a treat with a sparky Maureya Lebowitz as Swanilda and Lachlan Monaghan as her exuberant Franz.  I had a huge grin on my face throughout the whole performance!


On Friday evening Arancha Baselga was a fun-loving Swanilda with Max Maslen hitting just the right note of cheekiness as Franz.  The whole performance was just lovely.


At all 3 performances I saw Celine Gittens was radiant as Dawn and Brooke Ray performed Prayer beautifully.


Yasuo Atsuji and Miles Gilliver shared the honours in leading the Call to Arms.  Yasuo was particularly exuberant.


I suspect that not all of the company was present as most of the corps roles were danced by the same performers at every performance (presumably the rest of the company are preparing for Virginia and Japan) but it mattered not a jot!

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I managed to get to see the Saturday matinee, with Miki, who was charming and danced well, but I'm not sure she's a soubrette with the lively mischief ideal for Swanilda. I particularly wanted to see Shang who was scheduled to dance Dawn, but although she danced it at the rehearsal apparently Brooke Ray did it at all performances; it seems that Shang was the (non-dancing) doll Coppelia at every performance, is she injured?

The standout, for me, was Valentin Olovyannikov, an unusually tall Dr Coppelius, but who gave a powerful performance, very funny without overegging it.

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