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Royal Ballet - Coppelia (Dec. 2019 - Jan. 2020)

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Wished I had gone to the cinema last night now, like a few others I didn't think it would be the perfect cast, but I do think Nunez and Muntagirov will be the best couple in Raymonda, seeing them next week!  Hope to see Annette Buvoli dance Prayer too!

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That is very, very lovely from Obratsova, @amelia, but did you see Nunez and, perhaps particularly, Muntagirov?

 

I understand, @HelenLoveAppleJuice, that the primary consideration here was sharing out performances equitably. International commitments are normally negotiated by dancers in the light of their 'home' company's schedule. But there are interesting examples where Directors themselves have been approached to provide or lend dancers.

Edited by capybara

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Lovely and charming Obraztsova - I was so disappointed that she wasn’t in London this summer.

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54 minutes ago, Beryl H said:

Wished I had gone to the cinema last night now

 

There may well be Encore or Recorded showings in the next week or so, if anyone missed it.

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A very enjoyable evening. I echo the delight and admiration for the dancing of Nunez and Muntagirov . I don’t love this production - my preference is for the BRB one. But you can’t doubt the enthusiasm and joy that radiates from the dancers at all levels. I particularly enjoyed the interval features. I would have liked Barry Wordsworth to have had the opportunity to elaborate about conducting for different dancers, but Darcey seemed to answer the question for him! 

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@capybara thank you for the link to the interview with Christopher Carr.  Wow, Hayward did well coping with her debut after so little opportunity to practice!  But I loved this more than anything: 'Vadim is a fantastic technician, a beautiful dancer, and he has the most incredible jump. Also, he is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. When I did The Two Pigeons, which was the very first time I worked with him, we were about two weeks into the rehearsals when I said to him, Vadim, are you really as nice a person as you seem? Nobody is as nice as that. And you know what? He is! There’s not a bit of venom or malice or anything in his body at all. He is goodness beyond belief and a fantastic dancer.'

I've never met Muntagirov but I had a strong feeling that he was a really lovely chap.  It's funny how you can gauge a certain amount about dancers' personalities just from the way they present themselves and relate to others on stage.  We are so lucky to have him dancing here.

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

That is very, very lovely from Obratsova, @amelia, but did you see Nunez and, perhaps particularly, Muntagirov?

 

Yes, Capybara, I saw that cast on 29 November and I generally admire Muntagirov for his almost faultless technique.

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I attended last night performance and it must be one of the best moment I have enjoyed in RB this year.

 

Coppelia is one of my favourites but RB production is not my like. I understand the company probably is willing to "keep" some old traditions but this is not for me.

 

- The lacking of space on the stage. Result in limitation of corp dancing space. Several occasions you can see corps trying to squeeze though others during the dance. Also it limits the number of corps to dance the Mazurka. I really afraid Vadim will run out of stage when he danced the solo. Yep many other companies dance on an even smaller stage. But considering the raising prince, audience have some sort of expectation for something "grand" enough when stepping inside Royal Opera House.

 

- Some costumes seems not blend in, re, the yellow blouses for the school girls. And the white wedding costumes for Act III for the leading couple. The big round sleeve prevents me to see more of Marienela's beautiful arms and shoulders. And as other said, hardly to see the male's leg if you are watching from screen or sitting on the ground level. From higher levels it works well as the floor is in bright color.

 

- Old choreography for Swanilda variations. Unlike the popular version, the Swanilda variation in Act I has half mime and half dancing. The Spanish dancing in Act II and the Swanilda variation in wedding PDD in Act 3 both focus on feet work and could add more of arms or other things into it. Especially for the Act III Swandilda variation, it makes me feel that suddenly the outgoing sunny Swandilda becomes a shy bride while Frank is over his top... lol Even though Nela danced perfectly and beautifully. Still not my cup of tea.

 

- I don't think that every history details should be kept just as it is. For example Sir Peter Wright added the new version Chinese dance into his Nutcracker with new technic and more opportunities for male dancers. And Makarova's great temple act into the Bayadere. Let alone, the recent success of the new Swan Lake final act PDD by Royal Ballet. Although I don't like Royal Ballet's new approach of Don Q. But I think that Royal Ballet should keep on the creative mode and invest on bring the old classic into a new level. 

 

Last night is about Nela and Vadim. Like many of pervious comment, I also quite hesitated to see she was chosen for Swandilda. It is not about her age. She is great as the 16 year old princess in Sleeping Beauty. But I never like her in non-princessy, non-goddness, peasant style or childlike style roles, even in her younger years. Sometimes I feel she has too much "knowning" or too smart and mature. I know many like her Giselle but I don't like her acting in Act I. It gives me a feel that a very smart women is over acting to be a peasant girl. And same goes her Juliet. Don't mistake me, I am a great fan of her! Thus I was quite concern. But last night, it is a success. The whole product is a jolly comedy, thus her a bit of over---acting, just suit the atmosphere and makes everything right. Perfection and wonderful acting. The only thing I regret is that they don't bring back Coppelia back earlier and film her several years ago. I see her slightly tired sign towards the end of that great wedding PDD. Talking about the en point jump in the Coda, if comparing to the similar part in 2018 Swan Lake or every earlier her Sleeping Beauty, it is not as that amazingly strong as before. Dear Royal Ballet could we make sure to film more and even not put it into live cinema,. there are plenty of other options like YouTube and Now TV, to display your great dancers and bring more fame to your brand, please! 

 

Vadim is beyond word. I will buy the DVD as soon as it comes out. His dancing and acting even exceeds his usual self. Oh how good can you go? And Franz is the perfect role, a nice and young guy, for him. He danced the Russian version of Franz variation in Prix de Lausanne. Surely it is his role!

 

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I saw the cinema relay of the Coppelia. I really enjoy the Royal Ballet production. I thought Nunez was caught maybe a few years past her best in this role. She now has a mature glow to her dancing. Can;t explain it but it's like she seems like a wise, knowing woman now rather than a feisty girl. I also thought Vadim Muntagirov seems too sensible as the foolish Franz. Still happy to see this production. 

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I found this TV recording of the BRB production from 1995. . More dancing for Franz in act one and the set design allows more space for the traditional dances.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Odyssey said:

I found this TV recording of the BRB production from 1995. . More dancing for Franz in act one and the set design allows more space for the traditional dances.

 

 

 

Gosh, that's bringing back some happy memories!!

 

Of course this production (which still looks as fresh as a daisy) was designed for touring and, indeed, touring to theatres with stages somewhat smaller than the ROH so I would expect more space for dancing.  It has even fitted into the Sunderland Empire which I would guess is about a 1/3 of the ROH stage!

 

It will be interesting to see how Carlos Acosta's Don Q is adapted for the Birmingham stage - the current set wouldn't fit on it!

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3 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

Gosh, that's bringing back some happy memories!!

 

Of course this production (which still looks as fresh as a daisy) was designed for touring and, indeed, touring to theatres with stages somewhat smaller than the ROH so I would expect more space for dancing.  It has even fitted into the Sunderland Empire which I would guess is about a 1/3 of the ROH stage!

 

It will be interesting to see how Carlos Acosta's Don Q is adapted for the Birmingham stage - the current set wouldn't fit on it!

If you want to get a fix of some BRB stalwarts from the 90’. Here is  the lovely final act

 

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Stop it Odyssey - I'm supposed to be taking Chipdog for a walk!!!

 

Seriously, millions of thanks for this!!

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2 hours ago, Odyssey said:

If you want to get a fix of some BRB stalwarts from the 90’. Here is  the lovely final act

 

Awww. thank you Odyssey!  That's my dear little Sandra Madgwick.  We saw that very cast. It doesn't seem so very long ago....

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Just a couple of thoughts about Coppelia.

It is said that drill lyrics encourage street crime. Well in this ballet the local toughs (what we might have called Teddy boys in my youth) rough up an old geezer on his way to the pub. Franz climbs a ladder to break into his workshop.  Swanilda and the ladettes enter the workshop using Dr Coppelius's key. When they are discovered they set off the robots and Swanilda tears out pages from one of his text books to me. At the very least it is elder abuse if not assault and battery or even ABH, burglary, criminal damage .............. What's the difference between that and drill?


Also, whenever I watch Franz flirting with Coppelia I think of the Turing test and human robotic intervention.

This is really a ballet for our times in more senses than one don't you think..

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45 minutes ago, Terpsichore said:

Just a couple of thoughts about Coppelia.

It is said that drill lyrics encourage street crime. Well in this ballet the local toughs (what we might have called Teddy boys in my youth) rough up an old geezer on his way to the pub. Franz climbs a ladder to break into his workshop.  Swanilda and the ladettes enter the workshop using Dr Coppelius's key. When they are discovered they set off the robots and Swanilda tears out pages from one of his text books to me. At the very least it is elder abuse if not assault and battery or even ABH, burglary, criminal damage .............. What's the difference between that and drill?


Also, whenever I watch Franz flirting with Coppelia I think of the Turing test and human robotic intervention.

This is really a ballet for our times in more senses than one don't you think..

 

Yes, it is; in that it is about the growth of love, trust, maturity, humility, understanding, acceptance, joy, social cohesion, reconciliation, etc etc. And all done with a joyous sense of fun and humour. Qualities which often seem to be in short supply currently.

Edited by bridiem
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26 minutes ago, Terpsichore said:

Just a couple of thoughts about Coppelia.

It is said that drill lyrics encourage street crime. Well in this ballet the local toughs (what we might have called Teddy boys in my youth) rough up an old geezer on his way to the pub. Franz climbs a ladder to break into his workshop.  Swanilda and the ladettes enter the workshop using Dr Coppelius's key. When they are discovered they set off the robots and Swanilda tears out pages from one of his text books to me. At the very least it is elder abuse if not assault and battery or even ABH, burglary, criminal damage .............. What's the difference between that and drill?


Also, whenever I watch Franz flirting with Coppelia I think of the Turing test and human robotic intervention.

This is really a ballet for our times in more senses than one don't you think..

And muggings, robbery, assault is only a modern invention and never happened in the past which was idyllic and crime free? ;)

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

 

Yes, it is; in that it is about the growth of love, trust, maturity, humility, understanding, acceptance, joy, social cohesion, reconciliation, etc etc.

 

Something which I'm finding somewhat lacking, narratively, in this production.  I initially thought it was down to the first cast's interpretation, until I got exactly the same feeling with the second, so I guess it's a failing of the production.  It seems to me that we have a simple linear narrative: we see Franz behaving immaturely (for someone who's supposed to be about to get married), Swanilda getting sulky and upset about it - then we get the (non-)breaking and entering scene where Swanilda dresses up as the doll, causes chaos and rescues Franz - then suddenly we're onto the bell and wedding celebrations.  Nowhere have I had the feeling that Franz' experiences have actually changed and matured him from a foolish lad into the responsible and devoted husband-to-be suggested by Act III (or that Swanilda has changed for the better, for that matter), and I think that in most other productions I've seen you do get some sense of this transformation which has been wrought.  I'm not asking for MacMillan-esque acting or anything, but something would be nice.

 

Which brings me on to my niggles - again sort of narrative - with Act II.  Swanilda thus far must either be a mindreader, or have eyes in the back of her head, because she keeps eyes front and doesn't turn her head, so how can she see what Dr. Coppelius is doing, and work out how to rescue Franz?  Unless the camerawork on Tuesday was concealing things that I missed, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of logic as to what she does when and why.  And the great piece of "transformation" music seems to be rather wasted: there's no time to realise Coppelius' despondency that his magic doesn't appear to have worked, and then the miraculous apparent transformation goes for very little, too.

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It's a light-hearted comedy, and the themes are implicit, not explicit. Personally I find it quite a relief that for once one doesn't have to engage with the characters' inner depths. At the beginning, Franz is a cheeky chappy who flirts with flirtation; at the end, he knows what's what. I don't always need to see 'the journey'; I'm just glad it's been made.

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Sorry to be pernickety but I’m sure at least the original name of the main female role in this ballet was Swanhilda ... with an ‘h’ and of course makes sense as a bit of a job description maybe! 
Anyway has this just morphed into Swanilda in recent years or have  there always been two versions 🤔

I cant write it without the ‘h’ myself as an old habit but if HAS now officially changed will probably reluctantly be able to acknowledge by the next production 😩

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It's always been Swanilda (no h) for me. I checked a couple of books and Chujoy's Dance Encyclopedia (1949) not only gives the name as Swanilda but gives the cast of the original production which refers to Swanilda also.

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A quick forum search gives 72 hits for the version with "h" - including those on this thread.  Most seem to be from different productions, though, so perhaps it varies according to production?  I know I checked my cast sheet before I typed it without an "h".

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Thanks for the info but I still see it spelled both ways and the one with the ‘h’ is the first one I came across back in early 70’s. 
I suppose as the original story ... and the ballet.. were set in Poland I imagine the original name would have been a Germanic or Polish version of the name delineating her job....looking after the Swans ( or in reality more likely to be geese) 

If I can find the original story presumably written in German there may be a way of finding if the ‘h’ existed in German and has become silent in English and then omitted altogether!! 
on one ballet website it’s spelt both ways on the same info page....very confusing. 

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Thoughts on the cinema relay:

About the production, I think I liked it better now than the other version I’ve seen from 10+ years ago. I agree 100% about what was said regarding the lighting and the buildings occupying too much space on stage. I hope the RB plan on a future revamp on this ballet cause I think there is space for that to happen ( both in narrative/story, as in dance and production design). I do like all the costumes for the show, I think they changed Franz last costume in act 3 which I liked, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them change a bit. Overall I find this staging a wonderful opportunity for the women of the company, and the decision to put for this cinema relay new faces in all kinds of roles was a great one. 

 

As Swanilda, Marianela Nunez was captivating and funny! I thought her mime and acting was fabulous just as her interaction with Vadim’s Franz.

Was surprised with how much I loved Vadim in this role, not for the dancing ( I knew he would be spectacular) but for his acting. Bravo for both. Avis is also a treasure! So lucky to have him still with the company and hopefully for many more years to come.

In act one the dancers that caught my attention were Teo Dubreil and Romany Padjak.

As some have said before, Mayara Magri does make the most of the roles given to her, as soon as she entered the stage as Peasant Girl it was like she was a ray of sunshine and she completely dominated the place with her personality. Definitely elevated the ending of act 1.  Can not wait to hear about her Swanilda debut here on the forum!!

 

In act 3 we had more ”new” faces. The dancers who caught my attention here were Leticia Dias, Yu Hang, Sae Maeda, Sumina Sasaki, Nadia Mullova-Barley, Amelia Townsend and Charlotte Tonkinson.

 

I loved Claire Calvert as Dawn. Beautiful feet and lines. She looks much better in this than she ever felt ( to me) as the lilac fairy, where it looks like she is doing more of a series of steps - where you “feel” the difficulty of the steps when you shouldn’t.

 

About Annette Buvoli, She is a lovely dancer and I hope we get to see more of her in the future, was very happy she got this chance to dance Prayer. She had the loveliest hands through out the performance and such a serene look to her eyes. Brava.

 

 

Great pas de deux to close act 3 by Vadim and Nunez. Showing great technique and security in all the steps. Agree with everyone that pointed it out Vadim’s black leggings and how that wasn’t favoured by the camera. 
 

If I remember anything else I will add it later.

 

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4 hours ago, LinMM said:

If I can find the original story presumably written in German there may be a way of finding if the ‘h’ existed in German

 

The original ballet of 1870 was premiered in Paris and the Bibliothèque nationale has put some helpful documents of the period online. For example:

 

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8454648k/f14.item.r=coppélia 1870

 

The spelling on that contemporary document is clearly (see the top right) Swanilda. For those who want to check further, full details of this source are here:

 

Title : [ Coppélia ou la fille aux yeux d'émail : vingt-deux maquettes de costumes / par Alfred Albert et Paul Lormier]

Author Albert, Alfred (1814?-1879). Dessinateur

Author : Lormier, Paul (1813-1895). Dessinateur

Publication date : 1869-1870

Identifier ark:/12148/btv1b8454648k 

Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Bibliothèque-musée de l'opéra, D216-23 (43-64) 

Relationship : http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb409159018 

 
 
 

 

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14 hours ago, LinMM said:

Haa another version Swanhilde!! 

 

I seem to remember this, also Myrthe in Giselle :)

 

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Thank you Sebastian haven’t had time to look into your links yet but will do ....election took over 😢

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Have now looked further into this and what I find amazing is how on earth the ballet Coppelia was ever adapted from the original tale “Der Sandmann” by Hoffman ....an altogether far darker and to be frank definitely weird story!

The original characters names are completely different and basically the character of Swanhilda is called Clara and Coppelia is called Olimpia the only similar name is Coppelius which is the same in both and they are into the same kind of thing...well sort of!! 
So there is no original German text with the name Swanhilda in it 😢

However in the info I was reading when went on to adaptation of the ballet it switched to Wikipedia and there shows a picture of the first ballerina to perform role: Guiseppina Bozzacchi and spells Swanhilda with the ‘h’ 

I don’t really mind how it’s spelled but it’s interesting that there isn’t really an overall consensus on it so will just respect the Company showing it and for the Royal that’s Swanilda without the ‘h’ 
 

 

Edited by LinMM

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44 minutes ago, LinMM said:

The original characters names are completely different and basically the character of Swanhilda is called Clara and Coppelia is called Olimpia the only similar name is Coppelius which is the same in both and they are into the same kind of thing...well sort of!!

 

Olympia and Coppelius also make it into Offenbach's opera Tales of Hoffmann...

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