Jump to content

Stanislavsky Ballet - Roland Petit's Coppelia at the London Coliseum


Recommended Posts

My daughter and I saw this this evening. I'm not sure what I feel about it. It's very different from the versions which I have seen before (ENB's and BRB's); there's no village setting, no peasants, no corn dance and no dolls in Dr Coppelius' house. Sergei's solo dancing was immaculate and he was convincing in the role of the jack-the-lad Franz. Kristina Shapran was charming as Swanhilda. Anton Domashev was good as Dr Coppelius, the role which Petit created for himself when he must have been over 50 years old.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it was delightfully bonkers and I loved the little gaggle of pink-tutu'ed ballerinas nearly as much as Polunin's star-turn. I saw him for the first time today, and now understand what all the fuss is about.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Curiouser and curiouser!

 

It was pantomime farce and music hall frolics and even some ballet with the twist thrown in at the end!! Not my cup of tea, but,judging by the applause at the end, many people did enjoy it.

 

Certainly Sergei danced well, but I felt the principals could have done so much more.

 

Having seen this Coppélia I now understand Sergei's comments on the ballet in the Metro this week - "He’s also pretty dismissive of what he calls ‘happy ballets’ – which Coppélia is. ‘It’s just to show off, that’s all you do – you play stupid and playful.’ "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arky, I was trying to think of how to describe the flavour of this Coppelia. I think that 'music hall' is a good term. I felt that it had a touch of French cabaret (if that's what the Can Can is) about it: ballerinas shaking their 'tail feathers' at various times and strutting about flirtatiously. Of course, Franz's 'prop' at the very beginning of the opening scene told you clearly that the piece had been made by a French choreographer. Was the additional music at the beginning of each scene played on a barrel organ? That gave the piece a touch of the fairground.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sergei has made so many disparaging comments about his art and, by extension, his audiences that I'm actually beginning to wonder whether he has some sort of development disorder. I know that young men can be very immature but he is not that young any more and he has been working for some years now. The constant negative comments over so many months show an incredible lack of understanding of how he comes across or of how insulting he is being to the RB, his female partners, the paying public etc. I imagine that many dancers have strong preferences about roles and ballets but they accept the reality of the ballet world ie that they need to be 'collegiate' if a company is to be harmonious, that certain ballets sell much better than others and ballet companies have to balance the books and that sometimes they need to dance romantic or light-hearted roles because that is what the audience LIKES and the appetite for edgy or dark ballets is quite limited. Last night, I thought that he was almost in tears at the start of curtain call and I wondered what was going through his mind. He received the largest applause.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aileen, it certainly sounded like a barrel organ, but from where I was I couldn't see the orchestra pit.

 

I could see the whole of the orchestra pit apart from the extreme left.  A friend could see the whole of it apart from the extreme right.  Neither of us could see any instrument being played so I can only assume it was a recording (or could it have being played off stage?).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ismene Brown's review in The Arts Desk gives a good account of the ballet, emphasising the French 'ooh-la-la' flavour of the choreography. I agree with her about Sergei's partnering and Kristina's height (I wonder how tall she is). Luke Jennings (on Twitter) seems to have hated it. I suspect that it is a bit of a 'marmite ballet'. To those of you who have yet to go: put the ENB, BRB and, presumably, the RB versions out of your mind and judge it on its own merits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could see the whole of the orchestra pit apart from the extreme left.  A friend could see the whole of it apart from the extreme right.  Neither of us could see any instrument being played so I can only assume it was a recording (or could it have being played off stage?).

 

It sounded as though it was coming from the loudspeakers to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I don't think Coppelia is one of Roland Petit's best ballets, Sergei Polunin's effortless brilliant dancing (he does those gravity defying horizontal leaps seen in Le Jeunne Homme et la Mort) and Anton Domashev's flair and artistry as Coppelius (it could have been Petit dancing) made this an exciting evening, these two men rather overshadowed Kristina Shapran's Swanilda, although the choreography was partly to blame, I did miss the traditional version.  No cast lists were available but the 3 main names were posted up in the theatre, there were no soloists, just the corps de ballet.

 

Good to see something different, hope it's a success for them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.  No cast lists were available but the 3 main names were posted up in the theatre, there were no soloists, just the corps de ballet.

 

 

 

This afternoon, Franz and Swanilda were not danced by the dancers named on the posters (Sobolevsky and Somova) .  If it hadn't been for a friend who'd checked the photos in her programme, I would never have known that the cast scheduled to dance this evening (Velichko and Mikirticheva),had actually danced this afternoon. 

Edited by Bluebird
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, as we're unlikely to see this again in London again any time soon I decided to go and see this afternoon's performance. I'm glad that I did because I enjoyed the choreography much more today (lots of fun little touches) and was really able to appreciate Domashev's performance in what is essentially a non-dancing role. There was both comedy and pathos in his character and the ending was really rather touching. Today, sitting in the dress circle, I was able to see the top of the building which considerably added to the set as there were little scenes in the upper windows which I had not been able to see yesterday. I felt that the corps was sharper today and there was more convincing interaction between the three leads, particularly between Swanhilda and Dr Coppelius. I liked both Swanhilda and Franz today. She acted really well and, whilst he did not have as much stage charisma as Polunin, he was still very good. Overall, I enjoyed today's performance more. Polunin's solo work was marvellous but his partnering was distinctly average and I do wonder whether his bad attitude had affected the mood of the company yesterday. It can't be much fun being around (or partnered with) someone who is so dismissive about the art form and the ballet which the company has come all the way to London to perform.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both male leads (not too sure who danced after reading the info up thread) seemed to slip on the same bit of stage this evening. I assume they didn't grease the floor, but it seemed a bit unusual to see two rather sure-footed people slip that way.

 

Swanhilda was rather good tonight, Franz seemed to be dancing two different halves. He seemed somewhat nervous in the first half, and then returned with a lot of confidence for the second and upped his game significantly - his 'lift with twirl' of Swanhilda in the last scene was veeeery nice.

 

I think the comparison to French cabaret mentioned earlier on hits the nail on the head

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(not too sure who danced after reading the info up thread) 

 

Yesterday's advertised casts were, indeed, switched round.  The evening performance was danced by Dmitry Sobolevsky and Natalia Somova. There was no announcement and I could find no indication, anywhere in the theatre, that the cast was other than advertised.

 

I found the performance delightful and liked it more than either of the previous two. I had enjoyed Sergei's performance the previous evening but found that the Sobolevsky/Somova partnership worked far better than Sergei's partnership with Kristina Shapran.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I'll be returning to Coppelia in a hurry, unless the other versions have a lot more to offer.  I found the group country dance scenes very tedious after a while - the choreography seemed very pedestrian and they didn't do anything to advance the story.

 

A good performance by the Stanislavsky however, with strong performances from Polunin and (I think) Mikirticheva.  It's a shame they weren't appearing in a better production - the Stanislavsky showed they could deliver strong dancing, sets and costumes, so lets hope they return next year with a more sophisticated ballet.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I'll be returning to Coppelia in a hurry, unless the other versions have a lot more to offer.  I found the group country dance scenes very tedious after a while - the choreography seemed very pedestrian and they didn't do anything to advance the story.

 

Don't worry, helpop, most of them do :) - in terms of both narrative and emotional hook.  And I agree with you about the choreography at that point.  It was a very strange production: seemed almost to be a "riff" on what Coppelia normally is.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having read the reviews, I see that Jann Parry describes the ballet as "heartless" for DanceTabs, and Judith Mackrell in the Guardian says it lacks choreographic depth and dramatic heart.  I totally agree with both.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it was delightfully bonkers and I loved the little gaggle of pink-tutu'ed ballerinas nearly as much as Polunin's star-turn. I saw him for the first time today, and now understand what all the fuss is about.

 

Saw the Saturday matinee yesterday and agree with Coated's view above. I'm glad I got to see Polunin dance and I'm pretty sure his Swanhilda was Erika Mikirticheva (not Shapran as previously advertised) - great performances from them both. Dr Coppelius was I believe danced by Kirillov, judging from the photos on the company's website - he was excellent in the role.

 

Sergei is clearly exceptionally gifted as a dancer - his jumps come out of nowhere and he does have fabulous stage charisma. So I was very happy to be able to see him dance in anything.....

 

So yes, words like 'pleasant' spring to mind for this performance and I love the music score, wonderfully played yesterday by the ENB orchestra. However, I tend to prefer ballets that involve me emotionally and this was not one of those. I feel my only strong emotion was utter relief at Sergei appearing as scheduled (having travelled from Nottingham on a very hot day!!) - there was an almost audible collective sigh of relief yesterday in the audience at curtain up and there he was......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alison, Coppelia is a bit of a 'heartless' ballet anyway in the sense that there's not really much beyond a frothy rom-com and what is essentially the quite unpleasant deception of an old, rather eccentric man (which I've always felt makes quite uncomfortable viewing). I found Dr Coppelius quite touching in this production. He's certainly the most developed character, which is perhaps not surprising as Petit created this (essentially non-dancing) role for himself. One of the reviewers suggested that the grey building represented a dolls house and that the corps dressed as soldiers and ballerinas was a nod to the toys found in a child's bedroom/nursery and to the dolls which appear in most traditional productions of Coppelia. Personally, the production grew on me and the second time I noticed lots of little things which I hadn't noticed the first time when I was rather overwhelmed by how different it was from traditional productions. I probably would have gone to see it again if I had not had other commitments. Anyway, everyone has his or her own tastes and views and I seem to be in a minority here in rather liking this production.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to confirm that Swanilda was performed by Erika Mikirtecheva at the Saturday matinee, in my view the most assured and suited of the three castings to the role and choreography. Coppelius was Nikita Kirillov - enjoyed his performance, although not sure he hit all the comic notes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

aileen, I wouldn't say Polunin was emotional at the curtain call on Saturday. It was possibly the smallest audience I've seen for ballet at the Coliseum, certainly smaller than the evening performance when Velichko was impressive and possibly (almost) as well received as Sergei.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, so there was another dancer dancing the Dr Coppelius role. Only Domashev was listed on the posters in the Coliseum. He danced at both of the performances which I saw (Thursday evening and Friday matinee).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the casting information was frustrating to say the least, but they posted a revision to the original casting on the walls in the Coliseum. Quite by chance I managed to see all three Swanildas. Kirillov is listed as corp de ballet in the outrageously expensive and fairly uninformative programme!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...